02.10.2012 Posted In: NETWORKER EXCHANGE By Jordan Magaziner
I just have to say “wow.” What an incredible session. I always love hearing Mary Jo present because she’s such an incredibly clear speaker and seems so down-to-earth. I have this overriding feeling of trust in her—she knows what she’s doing, based on both her experience and research, and although she’s confident in her work, she’s organized and meticulous about staying in the moment and being deliberate.
It pervades every stage of her model and permeates every session with clients. Mary Jo emphasizes creating a collaborative relationship with clients, but particularly with trauma clients, to ensure that therapy itself isn’t a traumatic experience. She uses psychoeducation as a tool to help clients identify and utilize internal and external resources.
The part of her session that really struck a chord with me was when she spoke about integrating treatments for trauma clients. She says a lot of specific models are already commonly part of trauma work—like Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which largely focuses on mindfulness practices—and that no matter which model therapists use, other approaches need to be integrated, depending on the specific client’s needs and resources. Mary Jo says that with any one client, she may do an EMDR session, a neurofeedback session, some biofeedback, some CBT, or recommend yoga. She says that, as the trauma therapist, even though she’s not an expert on all of these specific interventions, she needs to be informed about them and help the client find the right interventions. She also said that therapists should call on each other’s strengths to help clients.
“Even if you don’t work in a place like [The Center for Contextual Change], you live in a community. We’re not going to lose money if we refer to each other,” she says. “There’s no way anybody should say they’ve been in trauma treatment if their partners or families or kids haven’t been involved. We need to work together in a healthy way.”
Personally, I thought the way in which her theme of collaboration reached the therapist-client relationship, the structure of the treatment, and even how therapists should and can work together was really inspiring. What stood out to you most about this session?
As an overview of her session, I’ll provide a quick outline of her 5 ingredients to effective trauma treatment here: