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Helping Traumatized Communities Become Their Own Healers

After Decades, a 77-Year-Old Therapist and His Global Program Show No Signs of Slowing Down

Marian Sandmaier • No Comments

By Marian Sandmaier - For almost 25 years, Jim Gordon and his team at the Center for Mind-Body Medicine has worked in war zones, refugee camps, and communities struck by natural disasters and mass shootings, both in the United States and internationally. And still doing this work at 77, he has no plans to slow down.

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Understanding Straight Men Who Have Sex with Men

Understanding the Difference Between Sexual Identity, Preference, and Fantasy

Joe Kort • 6 Comments

By Joe Kort - The truth is that many men who have sex with men aren't gay or bisexual. While we may believe we've accurately assessed whether a client is gay, it isn't up to us as therapists to make this judgment. To best treat these men, therapists and clients need to be able to differentiate four terms that are often confused, and ask a series of questions.

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How Neuroscience Can Change the Way You Practice

Knowing about the Brain Can Actually Change It

Bonnie Badenoch • No Comments

By Bonnie Badenoch - Initially, it can seem like a huge leap to link abstruse and complicated brain science to the relational world of therapy. But, some day, it may seem absurd that we didn't study the processes we're expected to treat. Once my clients understand where their brain wiring is underdeveloped, they become eager to do whatever it takes to build better neural connections.

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VIDEO: Combining Trauma Treatment with Family Therapy

Making Sure Treatment Sticks Outside the Therapy Room

Mary Jo Barrett • 1 Comment

Far too often, trauma survivors appear to progress in therapy and then go home and fall right back into the same old patterns of negative emotion and dysfunctional relationships. According to Mary Jo Barrett, author of Treating Complex Trauma, a client’s family can be the therapist’s biggest ally in making sure progress is sustained outside the consulting room. Still, she says, many clinicians overlook how family therapy can support recovery.

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The Power of Community in Healing Trauma

Therapy in the Aftermath of the Paris Terrorist Attacks

Chris Lyford • No Comments

By Chris Lyford - In the aftermath of terrorist attacks, such as the one in Paris, clinicians are increasingly aware that the most effective way of preventing or minimizing post-terror trauma isn’t some set of therapeutic techniques, but the power of community to help people feel connection and support.

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Strengthening Trauma Therapy by Bringing in the Family

Mary Jo Barrett on the Healing Potential of Families in Trauma Treatment

Mary Jo Barrett • No Comments

By Mary Jo Barrett - Mostly, I think we avoid family therapy because families can be so exhausting, creating an atmosphere of great emotional volatility, which requires us to be on our toes all the time. But the therapy experience takes on an entirely different dimension when family members learn to be healing agents for each other. Clients, especially those who’ve been traumatized, often feel disconnected from themselves and somehow separate and cut off from other people.

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How Our Everyday Behavior Can Heal Trauma

Simple Therapy Techniques that Create Hope

Yvonne Dolan • 1 Comment

As therapists, we often elicit negative emotions, believing that they must be purged before there'll be room for hope and other positive emotions. We're particularly anxious to assuage trauma survivors, whose desperate, unbearable pain seems to demand immediate relief. But favoring positive emotions and subtly trying to subdue negative ones can backfire. How do we get beyond this impasse? We can begin by looking again at the ways people have found consolation and support in the thousands of years before psychotherapy was developed. Throughout history, human beings have found rough relief and a modicum of comfort in the immediate obligations and habits of ordinary, daily life.

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Bridging Mind and Body in Trauma Treatment

How Bessel van der Kolk Pioneered a New Trauma Therapy

Mary Sykes Wylie • 1 Comment

Bessel Van der Kolk first became aware of the world of trauma in 1978, when he decided to go work for the Veterans Administration, not to study PTSD (it hadn't been recognized yet as a formal diagnosis), but to get the government benefits to pay for his own psychoanalysis. While there, he discovered the reality of PTSD---and the beginnings of a stunning, nationwide phenomenon. Since then, the trauma field has gone from obscurity to become one of the most innovative and supported specialties in mental health. Trauma researchers have set off an explosion of knowledge about psychobiology and the interaction of body and mind. And van der Kolk, as much as anyone else in the field, has defined the current framework for understanding trauma.

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Dealing with Trauma Anxiety on the Spot

The Mechanics of Fight-or-Flight Responses in Trauma Clients

Babette Rothschild • No Comments

My approach to trauma work is rooted in an experience I had in college. A friend asked me to teach her to drive---in a new car my father had just given me. Sitting in the passenger seat next to her as she prepared to turn on the ignition, I suddenly panicked. I quickly realized that before I taught her how to make that powerful machine go, I had to make sure that she knew how to put on the brakes. I apply the same principle to therapy, especially trauma therapy.

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Applying the Brakes

In Trauma Treatment, Safety is Essential

Babette Rothschild • 2 Comments

My approach to trauma work is rooted in an experience I had in college. A friend asked me to teach her to drive--in a new car my father had just given me. Sitting in the passenger seat next to her as she prepared to turn on the ignition, I suddenly panicked. I quickly realized that before I taught her how to make that powerful machine go, I had to make sure that she knew how to put on the brakes. I apply the same principle to therapy, especially trauma therapy. I never help clients call forth traumatic memories unless I and my clients are confident that the flow of their anxiety, emotion, memories, and body sensations can be contained at will.

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