Leading the Way in Trauma Therapy

Sep 9, 2021, 7:49 PM

Everyone remembers where they were.

I was trying to get into the building where I worked, at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in NYC, but it was blocked off. I asked someone why, and got this crazy answer that didn’t make sense. It didn’t make sense.

Later that day I picked up a job providing psychological first aid to employees in a company that had lost some workers in the World Trade Center. ...

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May 17, 2021, 4:39 PM

Did you ever notice how unsatisfying some apologies are? Like, “I’m sorry if you were offended,” or, “Sorry, I was just joking, I didn’t mean anything.” Because those are not actual apologies. Those are just pretend-polite ways of blowing people off.

Which is fine if that’s what you’re going for! On the other hand, if you are hoping that your apology will help to repair a ruptured relation ...

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Apr 9, 2021, 8:48 PM

An essential element of social justice is repair of the harm done, so the injured person can recover from the injury and have their best opportunity to live according to their potential. Since traumatization is so often an element of social injustice, trauma healing is an essential element of the repair. And ideally, this repair should be done in such a way as to preclude further harm.

Mos ...

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Jul 27, 2020, 7:55 PM

A couple of months ago, during the peak of the Black Lives Matters protests, we had a staff meeting. Our staff wanted to make a statement in support of BLM, but we decided to hold off, preferring to do the right thing rather than the quick thing. Then we had to figure out what that right thing might look like.

So we formed a committee to review all of our treatment and training materials, ...

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Mar 18, 2020, 7:56 PM

Welcome to the disrupted, surreal world of pandemic. The mental health community and its stakeholders have been stepping up to enable continuity of services in the wake of social distancing and self-quarantining. Like many leaders in the field, our trainings and conference presentations got cancelled, so we developed webinars. Like many therapy providers, we have moved a lot of our treatment ...

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Feb 25, 2020, 7:04 AM

This is a question I often hear, not only from prospective clients, but also from friends and acquaintances.

So first of all, I’m not one of those people who sees therapy as part of a healthy lifestyle like exercise should be. I see therapy as something you only do when you need to. You do the work, get it over with, and go back to normal life, with the new normal hopefully being better th ...

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Nov 12, 2019, 5:06 AM

“I am such a loser!” “Everyone hates me!” “I will never succeed at this!” Have you ever found yourself thinking these thoughts or something like them? Ever wonder why you have them or what you can do about it?

We learn to believe bad things about ourselves and the world when bad things happen to us. That time you got side-swiped driving on the highway became: “I am unsafe.” When your busy si ...

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May 21, 2019, 2:16 PM

My nonprofit org provides a lot of intensive trauma-focused therapy, which enables most of our clients to recover even from significant trauma within a couple of days to a couple of weeks. Because this is a unique service, we get referrals from a lot of sources. When a given client’s treatment is funded by a Victims Compensation agency, auto insurance company, or similar, it is normal for the ...

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Apr 19, 2019, 2:14 PM

A while ago these two things happened on the same day: 1) I read about a psychiatric patient who had just gunned down his doctor and whoever else was nearby. 2) A prospective client accused one of our intake workers of horrible untrue things, in response to the form e-mail introducing our treatment program.

I do not equate getting insulted with getting shot. Still, I felt stressed out and ...

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Jan 7, 2019, 2:09 PM

Christmas, Passover, Thanksgiving, weddings, funerals, birthdays, graduations, reunions, any special occasion... wonderful in theory, but can be challenging in real life. Here are some of the most common types of challenging family event, along with some ideas I’ve learned from my clients on how to cope. No single strategy is right for every person or situation, but hopefully these examples ...

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Oct 21, 2018, 2:06 PM

EMDR is arguably the leading trauma therapy, but many or most therapists who obtain EMDR training don’t end up using it much. This is largely due to inadequate training. Unfortunately, those who want to learn EMDR may not know how to discern which of the EMDR training programs are most likely to work out. So here is some guidance for shopping for an EMDR training. Note that this advice is bas ...

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Oct 2, 2018, 12:40 PM

Last Thursday I didn’t get much work done because I was watching the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in which Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh testified. And then obsessively reading everything I could find about it. Okay, I lost more than one day of work.

The next day I was interviewed by a team of college students who were doing a trauma therapy project. When they a ...

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Sep 30, 2018, 9:07 PM

They say you can't run away from your problems. That’s certainly true when it comes to post-traumatic stress: although pushing the memories, thoughts, and feelings aside can provide some quick relief, doing so can also lead to persistent and even worsening symptoms. Even so, literally running (or walking, dancing, swimming, etc.) can actually be quite beneficial in the journey toward healing. ...

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Aug 1, 2018, 1:43 PM

You don’t have to be Hindu, or spiritual, to do Yoga, a Hindu spiritual practice that involves prescribed physical activities as well as breathing and mindfulness exercises. Over 20 million Americans practice Yoga – that’s over 8% of the adult population – and nearly half of the remaining adults are thinking about trying it.

Yoga can have a positive impact on a variety of psychological and p ...

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Jul 7, 2018, 8:32 PM

If I could get my trauma therapy done by lying down and receiving massages, I’d definitely do it! Wouldn’t you?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Memory reconsolidation – the neurological process that underlies trauma healing – requires activating the memory and then repeatedly introducing corrective information, such as occurs in trauma healing methods like EMDR and PC. Even so, massag ...

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Jun 5, 2018, 8:58 PM

Did you ever have a mood ring? This type of ring features a clear plastic or glass “stone” with liquid inside that changes color as it changes temperature. Mood rings were generally sold along with a chart purporting to tell you what mood you were in, based on the color of the stone at any given moment. If you had a mood ring, did you ever intentionally try to get it to change color? If so, y ...

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Apr 30, 2018, 11:10 AM

Mindfulness is rightly enjoying considerable popularity lately. Mindfulness is a practice of non-judgmental awareness of thoughts and feelings as they arise in moment-to-moment experience. Mindful awareness is correlated with increased activity in the prefrontal cortex – the thinking, reasoning part of the brain – as well as decreased activity in the amygdyla – the emotional, survival-instinc ...

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Apr 3, 2018, 10:55 AM

No, you’re probably not going to cure your PTSD by hanging out with a horse or a dog. Get your trauma healing done with an efficient, proven-effective method like EMDR, PC, and some others. That being said, sometimes interacting with an animal can help, primarily with attachment and self-regulation, both during treatment and afterwards.

Facilitating Trauma Processing

Secure attachment is known ...

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Mar 5, 2018, 1:10 PM

The recently developed Flash technique enables a therapy client to rapidly and (nearly) painlessly reduce the distress level of an upsetting memory. Pending further research, Flash appears to represent an advance in trauma therapy, in that a) a client who might not otherwise have been able to face a distressing memory will be able to face it and work it through, and b) time to completion of p ...

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Jan 4, 2018, 3:24 PM

One more way that life’s not fair: The people who need it the most get it the least – it being relationship support in the context of therapy. We know that relationship support can help people to tolerate pain, and a good therapy relationship can help the therapy client to tolerate emotional pain within the therapy, such as may occur during trauma work. But those who do not have secure attach ...

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