Comprehensive Assessment: I begin with a comprehensive assessment that includes not only standard DSM diagnosis, but also consider specific brain-based subtypes of trauma and depression/anxiety; relational dynamics that inform choice of treatment; and hormones and other physical factors that may contribute to the symptoms. Beginning with a comprehensive understanding of the psychological, relational, and physiological factors ensures that treatment is focused on the right issues.
Early Treatment: Treatment of trauma should begin by addressing any severe or crisis-inducing symptoms, such as flashbacks, nightmares, and self-harm, as well as symptoms that impede normal activities, such going to work or school. This phase involves increasing coping skills, understanding the nature of trauma, and psycho-education. I draw from several well-established evidence-based treatments for trauma, including trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy, emotionally focused therapy, dialectic behavioral therapy. mindfulness, and brain-informed approaches.
Trauma Resolution: Once a client is stable, I work with them to resolve trauma by developing a coherent trauma narrative that integrates the memories that were scattered during the overwhelming event. This enables the brain to properly process the event, thus addressing issue such as flashbacks, nightmares, and panic triggers. During this phase, any lingering issues related to guilt or self-blame are also addressed and resolved.
Later Treatment: Once the trauma is resolved, therapy focuses on on-going emotional and relational wellness and resilience, along with integrating the trauma experience into a person's larger identity and sense of purpose. For many, once resolved, trauma opens a door to a richer and more meaningful life.