• TRE (Tension Release Exercises) As a Part of Education on Trauma

    Ontwikkelplein, Police Academy, Zaandam

     We are all vulnerable to the cumulative effect of stress on the body, but police officers are more often in situations of shock and threat than most of us. Sometimes there is a single trigger-event that causes symptoms of trauma (1), but often they appear simply as a result of exposure to stressful situations on a regular basis and over a prolonged period of time.

     As a result of a wider recognition of the possible negatieve effects of stress on body and mind in the police force, police academy students currently receive education on how to recognise trauma, how to prevent it and what you can do to heal it. As a part of a day dedicated to this effort I got the chance to give 2 groups of students at the academy TRE classes.

     The police academy students were surprised at the effect of such simple exercises. For many of them it was the first time they experienced shaking of the body beyond their own personal control. At first it took a little time getting used to it, but after that most of the participants experienced the tremors as pleasant and could feel the relaxation taking place.

     I was happy to hear from one of the other teachers that TRE is now regularly used as part of the treatment of PTSD in the Dutch army. 

     (1) Symptoms of trauma can be: 

    • Nightmares
    • Sleeping problems
    • Irritability
    • Outbursts of anger and mood swings
    • Extreme alertness 
    • Difficulties to concentrate
    • Easily startled
    • Avoidance behaviour
    • Fatigue and exhaustion
    • Vague complaints of pain and tension in the body
    • Depression
    • Compulsive behaviour 

    For more information about TRE (Tension Release Exercises):