[Skip to Content]

Trauma-Based Disorders Therapy

Trauma-Based Disorders Therapy

The Trauma Recovery and Crisis Stabilization Programs provide individual, group, and expressive therapies to facilitate the expression of strong emotion and other symptoms of trauma-based mental disorders. Psychoeducational modules address primary recovery skills to safely decrease crisis-generation and dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors. Finally, trauma group allows clients to share their individualized treatment gains and struggles with peer and therapist support.

Many clients experience strong, impulsive, out-of-control, or over-controlled emotions. Typically, the individual has difficulty dealing with interpersonal relationships and daily stressors, resulting in suicidal feelings, self-harm, and/or other dangerous uncontrolled behavior.

The initial goals of symptom relief are to:

  • Regulate intense emotions and establish a feeling of self-control
  • Develop the ability to tolerate distress without entering crisis or self-destructive cycles
  • Provide relief from debilitating depression, anxiety, hostility, and self-destructive behavior
  • Control of dissociation and numbness
  • Increase feelings of effectiveness in relationships, work, and parenting
  • Provide 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 and staying powerful and in control
  • Become effective in dealing with problems, crises, and people
  • Containment of trauma-based thinking and behavior that results in active distress and/or 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, and non-victimizing steps in a trusting environment
  • Combine 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 was 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, and 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

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.

The most common symptoms that cause the individual or family distress are uncontrollable recollections, images, or spontaneous reliving of aspects of trauma. Sometimes the impact of trauma surfaces in the form of extreme anxiety, cycles of depression, pervasive fear, self-blame, and an inability to trust. The patient may feel fragmented, separated, or different from others. Frequently, there is a feeling of unfillable 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
  • Cybersex

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

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.

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 processing techniques are utilized to restructure their sense of self in relation to their trauma.