Compassion without Borders
501 c (3) Non-Profit Organization
270 Loma Entrada, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
Ph: (505) 992-1105 x2
December 20, 2008
Re: Sophia Deborah Erez
To Whom It May Concern:
Our working relationship with Sophia began when she started volunteering as a facilitator for the
Trauma Resource Institute (TRI) in 2007. As a facilitator, Sophia was part of a team responsible
for training clinicians in the skills of the Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM) – a short term
stabilization model that utilizes somatic interventions to help restore resiliency in the central
nervous system. TRI has been contracted to teach these skills to clinicians working for the
Veteran’s Administration and San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health as well
as private practitioners. In June 2008, Sophia accepted the position of training coordinator. In
addition to facilitating the trainings, her responsibilities included coordinating the registrations
and logistics of the training. Sophia continually distinguished herself in all of these endeavors.
Sophia also demonstrated her expertise and knowledge of our field in many incidences that
went beyond her job description. For example:
Sophia is a gifted, highly trained clinician who is experienced in effectively working with
Sophia was facilitating a TRM training in Santa Fe, NM. Before the practice triad began, one of
the participants – a female clinician with a history of disrupted attachments and physical/sexual
abuse as a child, became triggered and had an abreaction that led her to flee to the corner of
the room with her back to the other members of her practice triad in a dissociated state.
Utilizing the TRM skills, Sophia helped to ground and resource this clinician so that she was
able to discharge her high arousal and return to her window of tolerance. Within 45 minutes, this
woman was able to maintain eye contact and touch on her feet and felt safe enough to rejoin the
group. The clinician reported that Sophia’s use of TRM skills allowed her to feel a sense of
safety and containment in her body, which allowed her to connect with her adult self and others.
She expressed to us her decision to continue therapy that uses TRM skills and her profound
gratitude for the work she did with Sophia.
This same training was attended by a young male Spanish-speaking therapist who had recently
immigrated from Mexico. His English skills were still developing, but with effort and the help of
some of his Spanish-speaking colleagues, he was participating in the training. After a practice
session dedicated to the skill of grounding, he felt unable to ground and asked for help. He
December 20, 2008
agreed to work with Sophia knowing that she did not speak Spanish. Sophia and this man
agreed on the meaning of some key phrases and were willing to see what happened. They
learned he was not able to fully “plant his left foot on the ground” because he needed to use it to
defend himself. With Sophia’s help, he was able to complete a thwarted defensive response.
The man had been abused by an aunt as a child and was able to verbalize new boundaries with
her. Knowing the nature of traumatic memories, Sophia asked him to repeat his statements, but
to say them in the language he would have used while speaking to his aunt in Mexico. At first
the client was resistant, saying that it was less frightening for him to speak them in English (he
was using language to titrate his level of arousal). Sophia directed his attention to his ability to
keep himself safe and how he experienced that safety in his body in the present moment. This
led the client to repeat his statements in his native tongue with an integrity he had not
experienced in English. As he did this, his boundaries generalized to other people in his life
who had been abusive to him. He reported to us how significant the work he did with Sophia
had been and how important it was that Sophia had the insight to have him use his mother
Sophia is a dedicated professional who added value to our organization by volunteering
to complete projects that allowed TRI to extend its presence in our professional
When TRI had the opportunity to go to China for research, Sophia volunteered to fulfill TRI’s
scheduled speaking commitments. This required Sophia to attend conferences in San Diego
and Dallas on consecutive days.
At the International Conference on Violence and Trauma (IVAT), Sophia taught a 3-hour CEU
eligible workshop on key concepts of the Trauma Resiliency Model. The next day, Sophia
delivered the keynote speech on the Neurobiology of Trauma at Shared Hoped International’s
National Training Conference on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking.
As a result of Sophia presence and participation, we received positive feedback leading to new
workshop registrants, and professional partnership opportunities. She did this without
compensation from TRI and after giving us a five-week notice of resignation.
We feel comfortable and confident in Sophia’s ability to master the challenges she will face in
taking the next step in her career.
ELAINE MILLER-KARAS, LCSW
ELAINE MILLER-KARAS, L.C.S.W.
Co-Founder and Co-Director
The Trauma Resource Institute