Apryl Pooley is the Director of Training and Technical Assistance for the Michigan Victim Advocacy Network, a statewide project that supports advocates working with crime victims by offering trauma-informed training and other tools for working with victims. MiVAN is guided by a vision of social justice—creating a world in which all individuals, families, and communities share equitably in society’s knowledge and resources and are able to achieve their full potential for healing and growth.
Dr. Pooley is a trauma-informed scientist, author, artist, and yoga instructor. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from Michigan State University researching the effects of trauma on the brain and body and published research using neurofeedback therapy with survivors of domestic violence during her postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience. Dr. Pooley is a qualified expert witness in Michigan, serving to offer expert testimony on the neurobiology of trauma.
Dr. Pooley is passionate about educational outreach and institutional policymaking as it pertains to building a community that invests in the holistic healing of those who have survived trauma. She believes in the healing properties of yoga, art, music, and writing as therapeutic modalities for trauma recovery. Dr. Pooley serves on the Board of Directors of the Firecracker Foundation, a local nonprofit honoring the bravery of children who have survived sexual trauma by building a community invested in the healing of their whole being. The Firecracker Foundation offers therapy for children, support groups for caregivers and teen peers, yoga, advocacy, trauma-informed midwifery and doula care, and community education on child sexual abuse. Dr. Pooley has been a featured TEDxMSU speaker, a published author (Fortitude: A PTSD Memoir), and a featured artist in the National Alliance on Mental Illness Healing Through Art exhibit. Dr. Pooley has completed 200 hours of yoga teacher certification training and collaborated with trauma-informed yoga instructor, Kintla Striker, to publish research on the therapeutic efficacy of yoga in trauma survivors.
Dr. Pooley’s work is driven by her belief that healing from trauma happens at both an individual and a community-level. The effects of trauma are not only contained within individuals but ripple throughout time and space, and as such, the solutions to responding to trauma must also include a trauma-informed community.
In conjunction with her scientific knowledge of the effects of trauma, she relentlessly shares her own story of rape, abuse, and addiction to ensure that all victims of trauma receive the treatment and respect they deserve and to provide hope to anyone hiding in a closet. Apryl lives in Michigan with her two rambunctious dogs, where you might find her rollerblading, climbing trees, and practicing yoga.