Treating Complex PTSD
"While the therapeutic relationship is very important, and an important substrate to the patient doing his or her work, in some ways we may have to be more like plumbers than like priests. And the task of the plumber is to unplug the toilet, not to have a warm relationship with the person whose toilet is plugged. And so maybe the task of the therapist is to provide the patient the skills that allow them to manage their lives." Bessel van der Kolk
This video series describes a range of PTSD treatment approaches that the presenters have found useful in working with patients suffering from the effects of repeated victimization. Many of the skills survivors need mostlearning how to tolerate touch, learning how to fightmay involve adjunctive therapies outside the traditional mental health field. Released 2000.
Treating Complex PTSD I: Clinical Issues
(#258, 40 min.)
Areas of Competence in PTSD Treatment
Cycle of Victimization
Role of the Therapist in PTSD Treatment
Personal Skills Training
Putting Feelings Into Words
Treating Complex PTSD II:
Stabilization Techniques; Therapeutic Modalities
(#259, 42 min.)
Importance of Stabilization Work
Adjunctive Therapies in PTSD Treatment
EMDR as Resource Development
Body-Oriented Group Work
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About the Presenters
Bessel van der Kolk, MD is Medical Director of The Trauma Center, which specializes in the study and treatment of survivors of severe psychological trauma, and Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University. He is past president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and co-author of Traumatic Stress: The Effect of Overwhelming Experiences on Mind, Body and Society.
Deirdre Fay, LiCSW is a body-oriented psychotherapist with a private practice in Cambridge, MA, and is a supervisor at the Trauma Center.
Janina Fisher, PhD is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of trauma and dissociation, and is a teacher and supervisor at The Trauma Center.
Cheryl Hunt, PsyD is a psychologist at The Trauma Center, specializing in group psychotherapy.
Deborah Korn, PsyD specializes in the assessment and treatment of PTSD and other trauma-related syndromes, and is an EMDR facilitator and specialty instructor with the EMDR Institute.
Anne Pratt, PhD (drannepratt.com) is a clinical and forensic psychologist, formerly at the Traumatic Stress Institute/Center for Adult and Adolescent Psychotherapy (TSI/CAAP) in South Windsor, CT.
Karen Saakvitne, PhD is the Clinical Director of TSI/CAAP, and has co-authored three books on trauma treatment.
The Trainer’s Guide
The 44-page trainer’s guide includes objectives, reproducible outlines for note-taking, review and discussion questions, a resource list, and a summary article, described below.
Bessel van der Kolk’s article, "The Assessment and Treatment of Complex PTSD," discusses historical background, PTSD as a diagnostic construct, childhood trauma and complex PTSD, trauma and personality development, disorders of extreme stress (DESNOS), why we need DESNOS, treatment approaches to chronically traumatized individuals, phase oriented treatment, trauma and the body, symptom management, resource identification and installation, use of language and the creation of narratives, trauma processing, and conclusions.