top of page

A Trauma-Informed Approach to Witness Evidence

A Trauma-Informed Approach to Witness Evidence




Cost: $

CE's Available:


Suvidha Kalra, JD, CHT

Course Overview

This is a weekend workshop: Friday, September 20 through Sunday, September 22. Each day will consist of 6 hours of programming with an hour break. Times: 8am - 3pm PT / 9am - 4pm MT / 10am - 5pm CT / 11am - 6pm ET (US & Canada) Trauma impacts an individual’s ability to form and recount a coherent narrative. The dysregulation which is the result of the traumatic injury interferes with the ability of a witness to recollect, organize, and report the details of the traumatic event. Additionally, the repeated recounting of a traumatic event, as is required in trials and discoveries, often results in re-traumatization of the witness. The challenges associated with traumatic injury make the adversarial trial process a challenging one for both victim and counsel. The intersection of the difficulties associated with traumatic injury and the adversarial trial process all too often leads to a sad and predictable result: the traumatized witness becomes dysregulated, begins to sob uncontrollably, panics, or shuts down completely. The ability of the witness to provide the details required to support the allegation becomes impaired or completely absent. The very trauma that resulted from the criminal or illegal act makes it difficult, if not impossible, to recount the events in a way that fulfills the legal burden required. The experience is frustrating for trial counsel and re-traumatizing for the witness. To address this challenge, it is imperative that counsel use a trauma-informed approach when conducting legal matters. The Kalra method, as developed by PVI Course Partner Suvidha Kalra, JD, is an approach to witness management and examination that integrates the principles of Stephen Porges’ Polyvagal Theory, techniques adapted from Hakomi Therapy and evidential admissibility requirements of court. This method will allow counsel to elicit nuanced and detail-rich evidence in examinations while minimizing the re-traumatization suffered by the witness. In this course participants will learn about the impact of trauma on victims and witnesses and will be provided with practical tools for use in office and courtroom settings. The four-step Kalra Method will teach participants to interact with victims and witnesses in a sensitive and compassionate manner, and to examine traumatized witnesses more effectively by conducting an embodied examination. Topic areas will include: the neurobiology of trauma, interpersonal safety, relational interaction, managing panic and dissociation, and somatically informed questioning. Students will have access to the course for 180 days from the date of registration.


7 modules, including case examples and experiential exercises: 1. Brief overview of the neurobiology of trauma and its relevance in the legal context 2. Introduction and background on the four step Kalra method 3. Step One: Mindfulness 4. Step Two: Creating a relationship container 5. Step Three: Regulating autonomic arousal 6. Step Four: An embodied examination 7. Conclusion: Moving forward



Recommended Audience

prosecutors, attorneys, police officers, civil litigators, family lawyers, child protection workers, mediators, victim advocates, victim support workers.

CE's and/or Certificate of Completion Available

CLEs pending
  • What is the attendance policy for a course?
    Live/Hybrid courses: While specific course policies may vary, we typically allow one absence for a live or hybrid course and require watching the recording and sometimes submitting a reflection for the missed session. If a participant is absent for more than the permissible number of live sessions, they may not be eligible for a certificate. Self-paced courses: In short, not applicable. Attendance does not apply to self-paced as they are designed to be consumed when the student is willing and able to take the course. All material is pre-recorded content, reading, or individual assignments.
  • How are live sessions held?
    Live sessions are held via Zoom. Zoom links are available inside the course content and in email reminders sent to enrollees.
  • What if I am unable to attend a live session?
    We upload recordings of our live sessions within 72 hours. (Please see the attendance policy above.)
  • How can I tell what time the live session will be in my local time zone?
    We typically provide live session start times in the four time zones of the continental United States. To convert live session times to your local timezone, please visit
  • Where can I find the course material?
    Thinkific is our learning management system. Upon enrolling in a course, you will receive an invite email to the course in Thinkific, where you can find all of the course materials and links.
  • Is this course accredited?
    The course page will list any continuing education credits (CEs) or other professional benefits that might be available for the course (and any applicable restrictions). If none are listed, then none are available.
  • How do I reset my password to Thinkific?
    You can reset your password by going to and clicking “Forgot Password?” link below the password field. You will then enter the email address you used when creating your account to receive a one-time password reset link. Use the instructions in that email to complete your password reset. If you have any other technical questions, feel free to reach out to us at
  • Is there closed captioning?
    Yes. Most pre-recorded content is hosted in Vimeo, which has closed captioning. If you come across a video that does not have closed captioning, please send us a message at
  • In which currency are your prices listed in?
    Our prices are listed in USD (United States Dollars). Your credit card or bank statement will likely reflect the price in your local currency.
  • Will I be charged sales tax?
    If you are located in the US or Canada, you will be charged sales tax on the cost of your course.
  • Are there scholarships available?
    Yes, PVI offers scholarships for all of our courses on a rolling basis. You can apply for a scholarship at
  • Are there group discounts?
    Yes. For groups of five or more participants, a 15% discount is available for each participant.
  • What is your refund policy?
    30 day money back guarantee for all of our courses (from date of purchase for self-paced courses and from date of first live session for live courses). Please reach out to us at if you'd like to inquire about a refund.
  • Can I purchase a gift certificate for PVI courses?
    Give the gift of learning! Yes, Polyvagal Institute offers digital gift certificates that arrive by email, and can be used towards any of our courses. Gift certificates are a simple way to share polyvagal insight and knowledge that stems from a better understanding of the human experience. Purchase a gift certificate now!


Suvidha Kalra, JD, CHT

Suvidha has been a criminal prosecutor for over 15 years. As a senior prosecutor she has prosecuted a wide variety of offenses including: domestic violence, aggravated assault, robbery, sexual assault, and homicide. Suvidha specialized in the prosecution of internet child exploitation for a period of 7 years. During this time, she acquired specialized training in working with vulnerable and traumatized victims. In addition to being a lawyer, Suvidha is a Certified Hakomi Therapist. She has trained prosecutors, lawyers, police officers, and victim advocates in both Canada and the United States in trauma informed practice.

Suvidha Kalra, JD, CHT


Upcoming Events

Check out live and virtual upcoming events featuring PVT, Dr. Stephen Porges, and other leaders in the field.

Join Our PVI Community

Get access to curated content, ask questions, and make connections by becoming a member of the free app.

Stay Informed

Subscribe to our bi-monthly e-newsletter to receive links to fresh articles, videos, podcasts, and events.

bottom of page