Trauma Therapy Approach:
I work from a relationally based Trauma Treatment approach integrating aspects of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with Trauma theory and Cognitive Behavioural Therapies. Psychodynamic psychotherapy highlights the role of psychological defences/coping mechanisms, attachment, and the reparative potential of a safe, holding and containing therapeutic relationship, while Cognitive Behavioral Therapies provide strategies such as working with negative thoughts, and Distress tolerance, self-soothing and emotional regulation skills. I find that all of these can be effectively synthesised into the Herman-Briere Model (e.g., Herman, 1997; Briere, 2002; Briere & Scott, 2006).
Judith Herman (1997) describes trauma recovery in a three-stage process.
1) Establishing a client’s safety and stabilization.
2) Remembering, exploring, and mourning past traumas.
3) Reconnection. Expanding and revitalizing the relational world of the client.
John Briere’s Self Trauma model is a blend of Humanistic, Psychodynamic/Self Psychology, and Cognitive-Behavioral theories. Important principles include respect, positive regard, and the assumption of growth. Key therapy concepts are safety, support, facilitating self-awareness, therapeutic feedback, and working through the trauma.
The process of effective psychotherapy may be conceptualised as taking place in the context of a therapeutic window (Briere, 1996) so that therapy interventions maintain an effective range of intensity to challenge and motivate psychological growth while not overwhelming the patient or re-traumatising them.