Trauma-Based Disorders Therapy
The Trauma Recovery and Crisis Stabilization Programs provide individual, group, and expressive therapies as a means of facilitating the focused expression of strong emotion. Psychoeducational modules address primary recovery skills, creating safety while decreasing crisis-generation and maladaptive thinking and behaviors. Finally, trauma group allows clients to share their individualized treatment gains and struggles with peer and therapist support.
Trauma-Based Disorders: Crisis Stabilization
Many clients experience strong, impulsive, out-of-control or over-controlled emotions. Anger is externalized or self-directed in a harmful manner. Typically, the individual has difficulty dealing with interpersonal relationships and daily stressors. The result is often suicidal feelings, self-harm and/or other dangerous uncontrolled behavior. The initial goals of symptom relief include:
- Regulation of intense affect (emotions) and establishing a feeling of self-control
- The ability to tolerate distress without entering crisis or self-destructive cycles
- Relief from debilitating depression, anxiety, hostility and self-destructive behavior
- Control of dissociation and numbness
- Increasing feelings of effectiveness in relationships, work and parenting
- Relapse prevention for addictive behaviors
Trauma stabilization is achieved by utilizing cognitive-behavioral principles in teaching clients to:
- Identify therapy-interfering, life-interfering or relationship-interfering behaviors
- Develop skills for safely modulating and expressing strong emotions, staying powerful and in control
- Become effective in dealing with problems, crises and people
Trauma-Based Disorders: Treatment Goals
- Containment of trauma-based thinking and behavior that results in active distress and destructive, self-sabotaging actions
- Focus on the impact of the original trauma and its influence on current functioning
- Understand that distressing symptoms of dissociation, flashbacks, sexual dysfunction, compulsivity, depression, anxiety, relational difficulties and self-injury can be a direct result of specific trauma(s) and/or the environment
- Allow the individual to process past trauma while challenging distortions; undertaken in small, manageable, non-revictimizing steps in a trusting environment
- Combine the wise mind’s present reasoning capacities with the victimized perceptions at the time of trauma to permit an integrative experience of re-examination and the revision of attributions of self-blame
- Examine the “trauma-related” core beliefs, which were established on the basis of the traumatic events, and restructure them on the basis of the revised perception now possible in the non-abusive environment
- Express emotions that are appropriate and congruent to the degree of trauma, which were never expressed when victimized
- Understand that post abuse symptoms of trauma, while logical adaptive responses to victimization, are revictimizing in the present
- Establish and redefine adult relationships so that present relationships no longer resemble early, unequal, destructive ones
- Learn healthy boundaries with others from non-victim stance based on mutual respect, compassion and egalitarianism
- Establish or re-establish healthy expression of intimacy, sensuality and sexuality
Trauma-Based Disorders: Full Involvement
Referring therapists are encouraged to participate in treatment planning during the admissions process. The New Orleans Institute therapists then offer recommendations to mental health professionals to aid them in continued outpatient therapy with their clients post discharge.
Trauma-Based Disorders: Common Mental Issues
Uncontrollable recollections, images or spontaneous reliving of aspects of trauma (e.g., overwhelming thoughts or feelings, nightmares, outbreaks of anger, rapid mood swings, helplessness or irrational feelings) are the most common symptoms that cause the individual or family distress. Sometimes the impact of trauma surfaces in the form of extreme anxiety, cycles of depression, pervasive fear, self-blame and an inability to trust (self and others). The client may feel fragmented, separated or different from others. Frequently, there is a feeling of un-fillable emptiness inside, as if one is an impostor. Over time, individuals may find themselves participating in increasingly destructive behaviors to provide a connection and to break the numbness.
Maladaptive coping behaviors include:
- Alcohol/drug misuse or abuse
- Self-cutting or intentional infliction of pain on the body
- Involvement in abusive relationships
- Compulsive, self-degrading sexual behavior, or inhibition of sexual responses
- Disordered eating
- Compulsive gambling
- Compulsive shopping/spending
Trauma-Based Disorders: Our Special Mental Health Programs
- Specialize in the treatment of self-injury and focus on stabilization of emotions and out-of-control behaviors.
- Focus on both addictive and compulsive processes along with the primary issues surrounding family dynamics and abuse.
- Provide psychotherapy by clinicians trained and experienced in our philosophy of treatment, which is provided within the context of a multidisciplinary and highly collaborative treatment team.
- Include medical and pharmacological management.
- Offer a nurturing and safe “sanctuary” milieu that is non-threatening.
- Assess and treat dissociative processes as part of a treatment plan designed to bridge fragmentation, thus reducing the risk of relapse.
- Attempt to integrate and resolve past memories of abuse so the individual feels freedom to control emotions, solve problems, and relate to others.
- Utilize expressive therapies to safely encourage affect modulation.
- Work on relationships to promote healing at a variety of levels including intimacy oriented sex.
- Work closely with referring professionals to develop treatment goals, as well as for continued outpatient care in the patient’s home community.
- Have EMDR trained therapists available.
Trauma-Based Disorders: Mental Health Recovery
Our program focuses on enabling the client to break the trauma bond, which has controlled the client’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors. They process and face fears that can eventually result in relief of trauma-related symptoms, as well as integration of dissociated aspects of the experience and of self. For trauma victims, dissociation often results in memory disturbance. While dissociation is adaptive at the time of the trauma, it can later become maladaptive by causing an inability to recognize the underlying causes of current distress.
The individual becomes numb, stops thinking and feeling, and feels like an object. Bonding to others is disrupted, as are object relations, self-esteem and trust. Often the individual experiences chronic depression, repetitive self-destructive behaviors, and even apparent hallucinations. Many individuals are erroneously diagnosed as psychotic and typically they do not respond to treatment.
The program addresses the dissociative state by utilizing the grief model called “Reliving, Revising and Revisiting.” After forming a trusting, safe relationship with the primary therapist, the individual addresses core trauma issues. As they begin to feel the trauma, reassociating the cognition and the affect, information reprocessing techniques are utilized to restructure their sense of self in relation to “what was done to them.”