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The Evolution of Trauma Treatment

Bessel van der Kolk Shares His Hope for the Future of the Field

Bessel van der Kolk

By Bessel van der Kolk - My hope for the field of trauma treatment is that we learn how to help people bring their imaginations more fully to bear on their possibilities. More recently, we’ve been exploring the capacity to rewire brains that are stuck in freeze and terror and develop a sense of self-compassion that enables people to integrate their dissociated self from the past into in a calm state of mind in the present.

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An Interview with Peter Levine

Somatic Experiencing Offers Something That Conventional Talk Therapy Doesn't

Peter Levine

By Peter Levine - To many therapists, Somatic Experiencing (SE) still seems bit mysterious, even mystical. Here, SE pioneer Peter Levine describes what a first session looks like and the skills an SE therapist needs to have.

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Is the PTSD Diagnosis Sending the Wrong Message?

Helping Veterans Move Beyond Victimization

Roy Clymer

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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VIDEO: Janina Fisher on Collaborating with Clients in Trauma Treatment

The Secret to Tapping Into Inner Resources

Janina Fisher

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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VIDEO: Peter Levine Shares a Personal Story About Trauma

What Does It Take to Ward Off Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Peter Levine

Among the first to fully realize that humans have an innate psychophysiological capacity for overcoming trauma, Peter Levine developed Somatic Experiencing, a simple yet profoundly effective mind-body healing technique. In this clip from his 2014 Symposium address, Levine shares a personal story about a traumatizing event in his own life, and explains the remedy that helped him ward off post-traumatic stress.

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Reclaiming Your Life After Unfathomable Trauma

A Therapist Shares Her Ordeal, and the Steps it Took to Reclaim Her Former Self

Janice Starkman Goldfein

By Janice Starkman Goldfein - On January 4, 1994, trauma became a lived reality for me. That evening, I was grabbed from behind and heard a low, menacing voice say, "If you cooperate, I won't hurt you." In the days, weeks, and months that followed, I struggled not to allow the attack to defeat me. I had to learn how to control the fear, stop the flashbacks, and handle the anger, while dealing with an overwhelming range and intensity of feelings.

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What Traumatized Children Need Most

Most Therapeutic Experiences Don't Take Place in Therapy

Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz

By Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz - While working with child survivors during the 1992 Waco siege, I found that we had a group of children that had essentially been marinated in fear. The only way we could get them the help they needed was to apply our understanding of how fear affects the brain and then consequently changes behavior. We quickly learned that people, not programs, change people.

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The Politics of PTSD

How a Diagnosis Battled Its Way into the DSM

Mary Sykes Wylie

During Vietnam, there were proportionately far fewer reported cases of trauma on the actual battlefield than there'd been in previous wars. The primary reason seems to have been that soldiers had one-year rotations and knew that if they could just hold themselves together for 12 months--often with a little help from their friends, marijuana and heroin--they'd be free. But after they returned stateside full of relief and happy to be alive, many of them--up to 50 percent according to the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Survey of 1988--began breaking down, months or even years later. Why?

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What the PTSD Diagnosis Leaves Out

Broadening Our Understanding of Trauma

Mary Sykes Wylie

Back in the late 1970s, a motley crew of Vietnam War vets, sympathetic psychiatrists, antiwar activists, and church groups undertook a crusade to have a hastily assembled new diagnosis almost completely void of scientific research included in the DSM-III.

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The ACE Studies: Calculating the Effects of Child Abuse

How the Effects of Child Abuse Have Become the Biggest Public Health Issue in America

Mary Sykes Wylie

Since the publication of DSM-IV in 1994, a massive body of neurobiological research has accumulated, revealing how protracted childhood abuse and neglect can cause pervasive, devastating, and lasting biological and psychological harm.

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