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Is the PTSD Diagnosis Sending the Wrong Message?

Helping Veterans Move Beyond Victimization

Roy Clymer • 7 Comments

By Roy Clymer - My main objection to the way we understand and use PTSD is that it tempts all of us—providers, society, and veterans—to view the veteran as a victim. We owe it to veterans to give them a form of help that fully acknowledges their experience of unimaginable terror and horror. More than this, however, we must convey to them that they're affected, but not damaged, and they're capable of responsible, rather than simply reflexive, behavior.

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Creating Neighborhoods of Healing

A Trauma Therapist’s Passage with Chicago Gang Members

Mary Jo Barrett • No Comments

By Mary Jo Barrett - I'm on a five-day camping trip with 20 gang members as part of a program called Pride ROC. Most of these guys have suffered repeated abuse and severe poverty, seen friends and family members shot, stabbed, or fatally overdosed on drugs. Not surprisingly, every one of them suffers from complex trauma—which is why I’m here as a therapist, trying to apply what I know and use in my office in a place far away from the comfortable world I usually inhabit.

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VIDEO: Janina Fisher on Collaborating with Clients in Trauma Treatment

The Secret to Tapping Into Inner Resources

Janina Fisher • 1 Comment

For many traumatized clients, even beginning to explore a traumatic event can be an act of bravery. According to therapist and trauma expert Janina Fisher, in order for clients to take this first step, they first need to be empowered. In the following video clip, she explains how to make this happen.

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A Look Inside MDMA-Assisted Therapy

A Trauma Specialist Straddles Two Worlds

Marcela Ot’alora G. • 1 Comment

By Marcela Ot’alora G. - As every trauma therapist knows, getting free of the debilitating symptoms of PTSD, if it happens at all, can take years. In my work on an MDMA-research project, I’ve observed close-up the profound effect psychedelic drugs can have in facilitating—and sometimes transforming—the often lengthy and difficult process of healing from PTSD.

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Four Strategies for Working with Vets

...And the One Question You Should Never Ask Them

Alison Lighthall • No Comments

By Alison Lighthall - Despite good intentions, therapists working with combat veterans face several challenges. To start with, engaging combat veterans in counseling of any kind. The first session may afford your only opportunity to ease the suffering of the veterans you encounter. You have to make every interaction with them count. Here's a blueprint for making it happen.

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When Victims Victimize Others

Using Empathy to Help Abusers Make Amends

Noel Larson • 4 Comments

By Noel Larson - Throughout my career, countless people have asked me how I can work with clients who’ve committed sexual abuse, murdered their wives, or broken their children’s bones and spirits. My answer has always been the same: all I have to do is remember and feel in my heart the traumatized children my clients once were.

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VIDEO: Peter Levine on the Art of Noticing

See Somatic Experiencing in Motion with This Clip from an Actual Session

Peter Levine • No Comments

Among the first to fully realize that humans have an innate psychophysiological capacity for overcoming trauma and recovering physical and emotional wholeness, Peter Levine developed Somatic Experiencing, a simple yet profoundly effective mind-body healing technique. In this video clip, he shows how simply noticing a client's body sensations can lead to therapeutic breakthroughs.

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Working with Abusers and Their Families

Can Good and Evil Can Exist in the Same Person?

Mary Jo Barrett • No Comments

By Mary Jo Barrett - Families suffering from trauma, abuse, and neglect can begin to make the crucial distinction between a chronic state of overarousal and vigilance and "reality" only once a sense of physical and psychological safety has been established. Only after this first stage is it even possible to focus on changing dysfunctional mindsets, counterproductive behavior, and destructive family patterns.

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My Greatest Clinical Learning Experience

Finding the "Genuine Hero" in Even Your Most Troubled Clients

Lisa Ferentz • 1 Comment

By Lisa Ferentz - In the early days of the trauma field, clients were seen as one-dimensional bundles of dysfunction and pain, who needed to relive their trauma before progress could be made. But an increased interest in post-traumatic growth has allowed many therapists to see that insight and healing can occur not only in the midst of devastating experiences, but even because of them.

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The Healing Power of Play

Helping Traumatized Kids Feel Safe and Happy Again

David Crenshaw • 2 Comments

By David Crenshaw - When children are too anxious, afraid, or traumatized to play, they can't utilize this natural resource of childhood to relieve a painful emotional state. Instead, they must use their energy to compartmentalize the trauma, keeping it out of direct awareness. Child therapists can help children reclaim this vital feature of emotional self-regulation by teaching, modeling, and setting the stage for the child to play.

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