SAMPLE COURSE MATERIAL
The first and most critical task for psychotherapists is to establish a nonjudgmental, respectful, sensitively attuned, trusting relationship with the traumatized client, and with significant others, where indicated. This relationship has to be culturally, developmentally and gender sensitive. For example, when treating returning service members, there is a need to understand and appreciate military culture. Therapist also must be able to “stand close” to the suffering of the client—fully empathize with his or her feelings—without being overwhelmed. The treatment goal should be to empower the client and place him or her “in charge”, by conveying that he or she can disclose as much, or as little, as he or she wishes.
The most valuable clinical tool that the therapist has is the “art of questioning”, especially using discovery-oriented Socratic questions of a “What” and “How” variety, rather than “Why” questions. I often say something like the following to clients, speaking in a slow deliberate pace, pausing between questions:
- “Let me explain what I do for a living. I work with clients, like you, and try to find out how things are going right now and how you would like them to be?
- How can I best help you identify and work on your treatment goals?
- What have you tried in the past? What worked (as evident by)? What did not work? What did you have difficulty following through with? What, if anything were you satisfied with that you think we can build upon?
1) Following any form of what DSM characterizes as life-threatening criterion A traumatic events, % of exposed individuals will be affected, but they go onto exhibit resilience, and in some instances post-traumatic growth.
2) Traumatized individuals who develop PTSD tend to have an overgeneralized recall style with jumbled traumatic memories, lacking a coherent time-line which intensifies hopelessness, and impairs problem-solving.
3) In requesting that Vici’s mother bring in a family picture album, Dr. Meichenbaum’s strategy was:
- To embed the tragic events into a larger biographical narrative
- Help her become “unstuck” from her habitual way of ruminating
- To help her retrieve positive memories to balance the horrific traumatic memories of Vicki
- All of the above
This 3 CE online course highlights constructive treatment approaches for clients with PTSD and strategies to bolster resilience in traumatized clients. The course explains various elements of resiliency and how integrating narrative stories can help individuals navigate the negative emotional of painful memories and embed the tragic events into a larger more empowered biographical narrative. The course provides examples of how to use the “art of questioning” and reflective listening in the therapy process to help survivors move past complicated grief and facilitate the recovery process. The material provides samples of illustrative questions that helped victims get “unstuck” and undertake meaningful activities. This course discusses the implication of therapists and clinical tools that empower the client and place him or her “in charge” using discovery-oriented Socratic questions of a “What” and “How” rather than “Why” questions.
- Discuss the use the importance of narrative stories and the “art of questioning.”
- Describe the importance of helping traumatized clients foster more coherent, resilient-building autobiographical stories
- Discuss the importance of clients developing a “tool kit” of coping behaviors.
A portion of the proceeds from this workshop benefits the Melissa Institute For Violence Prevention and Treatment, a non-profit organization dedicated to the study and prevention of violence through education, community service, research support and consultation. https://melissainstitute.org