For many trauma survivors, even beginning to explore a traumatic event with their therapist can be an act of bravery. According to Janina Fisher, co-author of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, in order for clients to take this step, they first need to be empowered.

In this video clip, Fisher explains what 25 years of trauma treatment has taught us about empowering trauma survivors, and how this allows them to take a lead role in their own healing. With new self-awareness, these clients often not only confront their trauma history, but emerge from treatment with a new sense of purpose and a dedication to help others in their position.

As Fisher notes, guiding trauma survivors through the creation of a self-narrative imbued with positivity is key to the healing process. And because it doesn’t necessitate rehashing exactly what happened during the traumatic event, your clients can stay grounded and present with you in the consulting room.

“Listening to and witnessing the clients’ experiences remain central to the treatment process,” Fisher says. “In this new age of trauma treatment, we aim to help our clients find the light—or at least to find their bodies, their resources, and their resilience.”

Rich Simon

Richard Simon, PhD, founded Psychotherapy Networker and served as the editor for more than 40 years. He received every major magazine industry honor, including the National Magazine Award. Rich passed away November 2020, and we honor his memory and contributions to the field every day.

Janina Fisher

Janina Fisher, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and former instructor at The Trauma Center, a research and treatment center founded by Bessel van der Kolk.  Known as an expert on the treatment of trauma, Dr. Fisher has also been treating individuals, couples and families since 1980.

She is past president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation, an EMDR International Association Credit Provider, Assistant Educational Director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and a former Instructor, Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Fisher lectures and teaches nationally and internationally on topics related to the integration of the neurobiological research and newer trauma treatment paradigms into traditional therapeutic modalities.

She is author of the bestselling Transforming the Living Legacy of Trauma: A Workbook for Survivors and Therapists (2021), Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Internal Self-Alienation (2017), and co-author with Pat Ogden of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Attachment and Trauma.(2015).