Transforming Touch - Overview

Stephen J. Terrell, PsyD, SEP

TTerrell is a leading expert in the field of Developmental Trauma and Adoption and is recognized around the world for his work in Developmental Trauma and Healing.  He understands Developmental Trauma from the inside out and the outside in.  Terrell has performed more than 25,000 individual Transforming Touch® sessions and taught thousands of students from around the world in the art of Transforming Touch® as it relates to healing Developmental Trauma.

He is experience as a clinician and single parent of two adopted sons, along with his understanding of the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) study- a highly recognized study on Developmental Trauma, that Terrell came to the realization that there needed to be a way to reach non-verbal, or early developmental  trauma, without spoken language.  Out of this realization he developed Transforming Touch® and a training program designed for understanding and healing developmental trauma: “Transforming the Experience-Based Brain:  A Regulation-Based Approach to Working Developmental Trauma”.  

“Transforming the Experience-Based Brain” training program is offered across the US and internationally.  Students come from all walks of life to learn about Developmental Trauma through a new lens.  This new lens includes working with primitive reflexes, learning the language of early trauma, working with physiological regulation, understanding the neuro sequential development of the brain, working with survival parts, understanding attachment in the somatic relationship, and more.

Terrell is also the co-developer of another Developmental Trauma training program with Kathy Kain: “Somatic Resilience and Regulation”.  This training program is a combination of both of their years of experience as clinicians in the field of Developmental Trauma.  Like Transforming the Experienced-Based Brain, it is targeted at those working with Developmental Trauma, but for clinicians seeking both a deepening and broadening of their developmental trauma understanding beyond Touch Skills for Trauma (Kathy Kain) and Transforming the Experienced-Based Brain.  The program, which has been highly successful with ongoing wait lists, led to the writing of their book: “Nurturing Resilience: Helping Clients Move Forward from Developmental Trauma”.

Terrell’s background and training began with a Rogerian Approach which involves active listening skills.  He continues to incorporate this approach in his work in addition to his training in Somatic Experiencing®, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Touch Training for Therapists, Didactic Developmental Psychotherapy, and EMDR for Adopted Children.  Terrell combines all his training experiences to see the client holistically (Mind, Body, Psychologically, and Spiritually).

In addition, to being a Healer, Teacher, and Author, Terrell sees clients at Austin Attachment and Counseling Center in Austin, Texas.  He founded this center over 20 years ago for the treatment of Developmental Trauma and Adoption related issues. Terrell sees clients under his license as a professional counselor in Texas.  This license was granted after receiving his Master’s Degree in Counseling from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and meeting all requirements by the State of Texas.  In 2002, Terrell attended California Coast University and completed his Doctorate in Psychology, further deepening his knowledge and understanding of developmental trauma.

Regulation Focused Therapy


Regulation Focused Modality for adults and children is Trauma Informed treatment modality for those who have experienced Developmental Trauma.    Our primary intervention is Transforming Touch®.  Transforming Touch is a method of working that involves touch to support somatic trust. 

Somatic Trust opens the nervous system to a different kind of healing whereas the practitioner uses a light touch protocol to enrich the Somatic Trust.  This involves early ruture repair, Attachment, and Primitve Reflex interventions. By developing Somatic Trust, we are looking for increased regulation instead of targeting the symptoms or the pathology.  

The basis for Transforming Touch® is that all behavior has meaning and that for those who have experienced Developmental Trauma, the meaning is unknown.  Instead of using words, children and adults sometimes engage in negative emotions, disruptive behaviors as a way to avoid experiencing painful or threatening emotions such as guilt, shame, and sadness.  Often times we see isolation and addictions as ways to stay safe.  The fear of abandonment is sometimes a motivator and protector for the client.

The goals of sessions are to create the following:

Safe Haven, a place ideally, where the client can rely on their practitioner for comfort at times whenever they feel threatened, frightened or in danger. Here, the practitioner gives a good and reliable foundation to the client as they move forward in learning and sorting out things for themselves. This eliminates the practitioner using a guessing game of pathology to identify the client's situation.  With the addition of Proximity Maintenance the client aims to try new things and behaviors but still tries to stay close to the practitioner and excited to report their quests.  The practitioner uses techniques of waiting and presence with the client to help prevent Separation Distress where the client may become hyper focused on the practitioner being present throughout the session and show anger at times they perceive the practitioner is not fully present.

Provide psycho-education to assist the client in understanding that all behavior, even disruptive behavior, has meaning in the service of emotional and behavioral regulation. This insight leads to a decreased need to act on the distressing emotions (i.e. less need for disruptive behaviors) and an increased ability to tolerate, work through, and talk about the feelings that previously needed to be warded off.

Issues We Treat

Helping clients receive treatment for a wide range of issues from an industry expert.


We offer pre and post counseling services for families and children.

Attachment Disorder

We treat children with an attachment disorder.

Developmental Trauma

Helping individuals experiencing developmental trauma.

Medical Trauma

Helping children and families cope with medical trauma symptoms.

Post Traumatic Stress

Helping individuals relieve their post traumatic stress symptoms.

Primitive Reflexes

Helping the youth integrate their primitive reflexes for proper growth.

Reactive Attachment

Reactive attachment disorder is a condition in which young children don't establish healthy bonds of attachment with parents or caregivers.


Helping clients find constructive ways of managing their emotions and moving on from trauma.

Grief & Depression

Helping clients find ways to manage and overcome their grief and depression.

How Can We Help?

It's our goal to provide the best care available

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy (also known as “counseling”) is a process through which clients work with Stephen Terrell in a safe, caring, and confidential environment to overcome their trauma.

Trauma Informed Care

Trauma Informed Care is about understanding the impact of developmental trauma. This is a relationship approach, knowing that through relationship, healing can and will happen.

Treatment Modalities

Trauma Informed Care is about understanding the impact of developmental trauma. This is a relationship approach, knowing that through relationship, healing can and will happen.

Adverse Childhood Experience Study

Childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity. Read about the Adverse Childhood Experience Study to learn more.

Talk To Us

Our team is here to help. Get in touch and an experienced member will be happy to discuss your available options.


Fill out the adult intake form and view related documents.


Fill out the child intake form and view related documents.