HaRT uses and builds evidence
to enhance our impact

THE SCIENCE BEHIND HaRT

How it Works

What is Trauma?

Trauma is anything that overwhelms us and undermines our ability to cope, leaving us feeling powerless, hopeless and out of control.

Trauma is deeply embedded in the human experience and affects all of us to a certain extent. Most of the time, with support, we can move through trauma safely. However trauma can also result in long-term consequences, requiring more dedicated attention and care to overcome.

THE POWER OF THE BODY

Recent advances in neuroscience and trauma theory reveal how traumatic experiences are stored in the body.

This ‘embodied trauma’ can wreak havoc on our physiology, dysregulating the nervous system and potentially triggering a range of symptoms such as anxiety, chronic pain, dissociation, digestive issues, insomnia, social isolation and more. However the body also holds promise for healing. Scientific evidence is increasingly demonstrating how body-based (also called ‘somatic’) practices can be therapeutic, addressing many psychological, physiological, and social issues resulting from trauma. 

Pathways to healing

We believe that Move with HaRT catalyzes several important pathways to healing:

  • Rebalancing the nervous system through intentional breath practices and physical poses that activate the parasympathetic system (our ‘rest and digest’ response)
  • Promoting agency and self-acceptance by encouraging participants to tune into their emotional and physical states and to make individual choices throughout the sessions
  • Creating supportive community through synchronous movement and facilitated group discussions
OUR IMPACT

Our approach embeds
learning at every step

Uganda, 2020

Proof of Concept

In 2020, we partnered with the University of Alabama and EverFree to conduct a quasi-experimental study of Move with HaRT with survivors of human trafficking in Kampala, Uganda. Study results demonstrated ‘proof of concept’–highlighting several potential program outcomes.

HaRT participants reported improvements in:

  • Psychological wellbeing: Statistically significant reductions in PTSD, depression, and anxiety symptoms.
  • Physical wellbeing: Less pain, increased energy, and better sleep.
  • Social wellbeing: Improved sense of trust, compassion for self and others, and social support from co-participants.
Philippines, 2022-23

Cultural Adaptation

Encouraged by positive research findings from Uganda, we partnered with Eleison Foundation to adapt and pilot Move with HaRT for survivors in the Philippines. After the initial adaptation process to ensure cultural and contextual alignment, we created ‘HaRT Cebu’ and evaluated potential impacts with across three cohorts. Again research findings were positive, suggesting good adaptability for the Filipina community. Similar to findings from Uganda, HaRT Cebu participants experienced large reductions in their symptoms of PTSD, depression, and anxiety. During qualitative interviews, participants shared compelling stories of how they integrated skills learned during the sessions to better cope with difficult life circumstances, as well as to manage anger, ease pain, and overcome sleeplessness.

Uganda, 2023-24

Impact Evaluation

In 2023, we embarked on an impact evaluation of Move with HaRT in Uganda.  With this initiative, called SHiNE, we are taking a big step towards building an evidence base for Move with HaRT. Over the next two years we will carry out a randomized-controlled trial to rigorously test whether the program improves mental health and overall well-being for survivors. SHiNE is a multi-partner collaboration with the University of Alabama, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) Uganda, a Survivor Advisory Group and six program partners: Dwelling Place, EverFree, Hope for Justice, Rahab Uganda, Set Her Free, the Remnant Generation, and UYDEL.

JOIN US

If you would like to explore a partnership with HaRT, please send us a message!

Let’s co-create an approach tailored for your community!

TESTIMONIALS

What people are saying
about HaRT:

“To me, I think HaRT is a therapy. It takes your body through an adventure and discovery . . . so in the long run you find that it may lead to healing of heart, body and soul.”

— PARTICIPANT FROM UGANDA

“My perspective changed [with HaRT]. Now I always think about self-care . . . my thinking is that I should be gentle with myself . . . I mean, you start with yourself, from your brain. And it manifests in your body and then to other people.”

— PARTICIPANT FROM THE PHILIPPINES

“HaRT has given me the power, strength and bravery to stand and take up any situation.”

— PARTICIPANT FROM UGANDA

“It’s like, HaRT is something that would give you calm, Miss . . . Despite how busy you are, or what problem you are facing, you can release it . . . It’s like saying, ‘Let’s just pause for now, this is your time.’ It’s like that.”

— PARTICIPANT FROM THE PHILIPPINES