Member Spotlight: Cibele Sousa, MFTi

Cibele Sousa, MFTi

TRE For You & Me!!

My name is Cibele Sousa. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern working with Pacific MFT Network. I’m happy to announce that I am close to completing my clinical hour requirements and will soon sit for the exam to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. As many of you know, this is quite a journey! My personal path includes two master’s degrees, one in Psychology and one in Marriage Family Therapy; as well as a brief hiatus to focus on my personal needs and responsibilities in life. As an MFT Intern, I have experience providing in-home counseling to families experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, child maltreatment, and substance abuse. I am also close to completing a certification program in the TRE (Trauma Release Exercises) program. My work with Pacific MFT Network involves seeing individual clients and I will be soon running weekly TRE groups. Bilingual in English and Portuguese, my services are available to a wide multi-cultural community.

Focusing on the person as a whole, I have always been interested in the connection between the body and mind, focusing on the present and in the strengths each person has. Questioning how one’s theoretical approach may assist one person when individuals have so many different layers of self, my journey as a therapist, has been focusing on different approaches such as psychoanalytic, psychodynamic, CBT, solution-focused, family systems, mindfulness based stress reduction, Reichian, Inner Alignment, and non-violent communication. All these theoretical approaches have their uniqueness and strengths that are part of building who I am as a professional.

With a special interest in the body and how its physiological system affects who we are, in the Fall of 2016, Los Angeles Chapter of the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists (LA-CAMFT) offered an experiential workshop on TRE — Trauma Release Exercises which I attended. The workshop was conducted by Nkem Ndefo, a Registered Nurse/Certified Nurse Midwife, and founder of TRE Los Angeles, LLC and TRE Training Institute. Ms. Ndefo explained the holistic experience of trauma from a neuro-psycho-biological perspective with a focus on clinician-client and parent-child dynamic. Her clear and easy presentation of the evolution of the stress response is based on the Polyvagal Theory. This theory explains the different evolutionary stress responses in mammals and the emotional and social behaviors and implications of stress such as freeze, fight or flight and dissociation responses. (TRE) is an “evidence-informed integrated somatic mindfulness and movement practice.” I have embraced and will be implementing this practice in my work at Pacific MFT Network, with people who have experienced trauma or chronic stress.

During the experiential part of the TRE workshop participants experienced the effectiveness of TRE first hand, as a tool to reduce stress and heal trauma through the release of deep tension and trauma related patterns. TRE activates the body’s natural mechanism to down-regulate by self-inducing therapeutic tremor. Being a little skeptical at first with the fact that simple movements could be so powerful, I chose to follow the instructions provided by the instructor. To my surprise, at the end of the experiential period, I realized how much more relaxed my body was compared to when the workshop began. This experience was a “taste” of an amazingly, powerful, and kind “tool,” that can be used in a therapeutic manner and/or as self-care.

I am looking forward to my certification as a TRE provider in the near future and working with individual clients as well as groups, having weekly TRE groups in the West Los Angeles and Manhattan Beach areas. I am personally practicing the TRE movements, and finding benefits from it, on a daily basis. TRE has increased my self-awareness of my body, allowing me to release tension, and sleep more soundly. If you have not experienced TRE at least once, I highly encourage you to do so.

I wish to offer a sincere thanks to LA-CAMFT for facilitating this opportunity for TRE learning, as well as all of the other specializations and disciplines offered by the association. LA-CAMFT is a great starting point for enhancing one’s professional therapeutic skills. Special thanks to Pacific Marriage & Family Therapy Network and Tracy Bevington for extending the opportunity for me to enroll and receive certification in the Tension/Trauma Release Exercise program.

Cibele Sousa, MFT Intern, is bi-lingual and fully proficient in reading and writing in both English and Portuguese. Cibele is completing her licensing hours before taking the Board Exam. You may reach her by email at or by phone at 310.612.2998.