Amber is a longtime practitioner of body centered arts and sciences (Somatic Psychology, Life Impressions Bodywork, energy medicine, cranio-sacral therapy, yoga, and shiatsu), a board-licensed mental health professional, and an advocate of human rights. She is an award winning dance movement therapist and an authorized Continuum Movement Teacher.
Amber has worked for almost 20 years with people who have survived human rights abuses, war, natural disaster, as well as with humanitarian response teams. She is currently Director of Restorative Resources Training and Consulting, and its non-profit counterpart, Trauma Resources International, and is a clinical adviser with The Center for Victims of Torture.
She has pioneered the use of somatic, movement, and creative arts psychotherapies in cross cultural contexts, such as complex humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters.
Every human being has a right to inhabit his or her body in the way that he or she chooses.
Amber Elizabeth Gray
What Led to the Specialization of Trauma?
Amber shares a harrowing story of trekking in Nepal and being witness to a violent act which then ignited her work helping individuals who have suffered social injustice.
A Crucial Early Mistake
Amber talks about an early clinical experience as an intern and working with one of her first clients. During one of their sessions, Amber asked this woman to move her body in a specific way. Because this woman wanted so much to please Amber and wanted her approval, she complied. The woman however ended up moving her body too much, which in turn triggered an asthmatic attack and caused the woman not to return to Amber’s office for a month.
I love this world. And even though I have times of being frustrated there’s such a beauty in whatever’s created this planet… I get to go out in the world and in my encountering with individuals who’ve suffered, I get to meet and interact with people who are resilient.
- The first thing to do is to know what you love and what you fear. Make an outline of what matters to you and how that changes over the course of your work.
- Diversity: Understand that everything we do and know matters because we’re touching into humanity. This is as important as our clinical knowledge.
Amber’s go-to books
- The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology), Stephen W. Porges
- Life on Land: The Story of Continuum, the World-Renowned Self-Discovery and Movement Method, Emilie Conrad