Hi Guy! Thank you for generously sharing your wisdom and being courageous to offer new trauma therapists like me a helpful tool! What you’ve put together is exactly what I need to understand the trauma community and counseling profession, and the many resources available to equip me to help others heal. — Newsletter subscriber
I am really enjoying these Newsletters, Guy. I never know which section is going to resonate most with me each month. The timing of the article on dissociation was perfect for me this month. Thanks for your work; I love your podcasts too. — Newsletter subscriber
My name is Guy Macpherson, PhD. I'm host of The Trauma Therapist | Podcast, and I created The Trauma Therapist Newsletter as part of my mission to raise the awareness of trauma and to help educate and inspire new therapists on their trauma-informed journey.
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Welcome to Issue #3!
This month I'm thrilled to have Sarah Peyton on our cover. Sarah does incredible work. She's been a three-time guest on the podcast, and has also provided one of the Master Class Videos within the Trauma Therapist | 2.0 community. Gold! Gold! Gold.
In addition, this month we bring you, as always--upcoming conferences, new books, schools offering trauma courses and a little behind-the-scenes here at The Trauma Therapist | Podcast!
If you have any thoughts or suggestions about what we should include in upcoming issues please reach out. I'd love to hear from you.
I appreciate you being here.
Each month, in this section, we'll highlight certain individuals in the trauma field, both seasoned professionals as well as those just starting out, who are doing inspiring work.
Sarah Peyton has definitely been one of my favorite guests on the podcasts. It's all in her voice and tone. Every time I talk with her I feel myself calming down and the stress magically floating away. Not surprising, I guess, as this is her speciality. Hear her in her own words:
Nonviolent Communication (NVC) is a mindfulness practice of employing togetherness (resonance) in how we speak, how we listen, and the meaning we make of what people say, especially when they express pain.
A central tenet of NVC is that humans all share the same basic universal needs, and that when those needs are unmet we experience distress.
What we might call "needs consciousness" is a potent way of inviting our clients to honor and acknowledge the 'ofcourseness' of their emotional experience, instead of analyzing, reframing, dismissing, shaming, blaming, defending, deflecting responsibility, or trying to change what is true for our emotional selves in any moment. As we become familiar with hearing universal needs and longings in our clients, we start to understand the relationship between body sensations, emotions (feelings) and needs.
When we begin to then give words to the hidden or unexpressed emotional and physical body's experience, we move into what I call Somatic Empathy or Resonance, an approach to the practice of NVC that lets us integrate emotional and physical relaxation and self-compassion. Neurobiologically, our bodies relax when our emotional experience, and the longings underneath them, are named with precision and warmth.
In this section each month we'll highlight different trauma treatment modalities and hear from individual practitioners.
This month--Somatic Experiencing (SE).
SE in my opinion seems to be one of the most popular body-based psychotherapies used to treat trauma. (Last month we featured another, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.) I've interviewed several guests who practice it, Abi Blakeslee among them, and you can listen to her awesome interview here.
The Somatic Experiencing® (SE™) method is a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders. The method was developed by Dr. Peter A. Levine (bestselling author of Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma), resulting from his study of stress physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices, and medical biophysics, with decades of successful clinical application.
The SE™ method releases traumatic shock, which is key to transforming PTSD and the wounds of emotional and early developmental attachment trauma. This approach offers a framework to assess where a person is “stuck” in the fight, flight or freeze responses and provides clinical tools to resolve these fixated physiological states. It provides effective skills appropriate to a variety of healing professions including mental health, medicine, physical and occupational therapies, bodywork, addiction treatment, first response, education, and others. The SE™ approach works by facilitating the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body, thus addressing the root cause of trauma symptoms. This is approached by gently guiding clients to develop increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotions.
Somatic Experiencing® involves accessing the body memory of the event, titration (slowly releasing energy), bottom up processing (a body-first approach, looking at the sensations that lie underneath our feelings), and pendulation (the oscillation between opposing forces of contraction and expansion, used to help a client experience a sense of flow).
Learn more about Dr. Levine’s Somatic Experiencing® projects and programs at the Ergos Institute website, and about certification in the Somatic Experiencing® method at the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute (SETI) website.
Each month in this section we'll bring to you books and articles we're reading or recommend, as well as workshops that have caught our eye, all to keep you up to date.
The Connections Paradigm. Dr. David Rosmarin. “A leading voice in the psychology of religion and its application to mental health problems, Dr. Rosmarin has given faith-based providers an entirely new language for how to intertwine spiritual, interpersonal, and mental health domains in the interests of clinical care. This innovative volume shows how ancient Jewish teachings on the relation of body and soul can be combined with a broad array of modern evidence-based approaches to psychological care, from exposure to experiential acceptance, from nutrition to interpersonal compassion. There is a significant body of science showing that embedding evidence-based intervention into a spiritual journey is a powerful combination for people of faith, but providers need a more general approach that stands one step above the details of particular religious commitments. Filled with clinical examples, this book radiates kindness and empathic concern, and its use of ‘body and soul’ could be effective with a wide range of people of faith.” —Steven C. Hayes, PhD, Originator of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, author of A Liberated Mind, and Foundation Professor of Psychology, University of Nevada, Reno
Thriving After Trauma. Stories of Living and Healing. Shari Botwin. Shari Botwin, LCSW, (you can hear her on the podcast here) has been counseling survivors of all types of trauma in her Cherry Hill, NJ private practice for over twenty-two years. Shari has conducted Keynote presentations for Universities and professional conferences throughout the country. She has given expert testimony on breaking stories related to trauma on a variety of international media outlets; including, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, CTV News, CP-24 News, CNN and Radio Europe. Shari has also published feature articles in several online trade magazines including, Thrive Global, Huffington Post, The Associated Press, The Toronto Star, The Authority Magazine, Medium and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
As a survivor of childhood abuse, Shari Botwin brings a deep understanding and empathy to traumatized folks lucky enough to have crossed paths with her - either in her writings, her workshops, her talks, or her individual therapy sessions. I was a domestic abuse victim until Shari guided me as I worked to become first a domestic abuse survivor and now a domestic abuse thriver. Readers of this book will learn that they are not alone as they meet some of Shari’s patients who have experienced trauma and worked to overcome it. Moreover, each chapter ends with ideas readers can use on their own journey to living a full life unencumbered by the residue of the trauma that has followed them like a shadow through their lives. No matter how long ago the trauma occurred, you can begin today to reclaim your right to happiness and fulfillment. -- Suzanne Dobkin, PhD, Domestic Abuse Warrior
Transformed by Trauma: Stories of Posttraumatic Growth. Tedeschi, R.G. Moore, B.A., Falke, K., Goldberg, J., &Andrew, B. (2020). Boulder Crest.
Recognizing that most recent writings focus on PTSD, the authors wanted to create a compendium of stories focused on post-traumatic growth. Written by Tedeschi, one of the first to coin the term, “post-traumatic growth” the book outlines five growth processes, starting with learning from the trauma, moving through managing the distress, discussing disclosure, putting the story together, and creating a mission. These five processes are illustrated through the life experiences primarily of combat veterans and their families. The authors believe this is a population that offers a “unique look into a culture rife with struggle yet abundant with growth.” (p. 67). Five domains of post-traumatic growth are discussed: new possibilities, relationships with others, personal strength, appreciation for life, and existential and/or spiritual change. Available in paperback and Kindle.
Essential Art Therapy Exercises: Effective Techniques to Manage Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD. Guzman, L. (2020). Rockridge Press.
This colorful workbook shows how creating art can help ease depression, anxiety, and PTSD. From drawing a representation of a favorite song, to writing affirmations and taking photos to match, these therapeutic exercises will help clients overcome the mindsets that are holding them back and lead them toward inner peace. Some take only five minutes, others up to an hour, but all of them explore a range of artistic mediums. The chapters are divided by the specific art materials needed and include goals, materials, directions, and questions for discussion. This will be a valuable resource for art therapists as well as any therapists wishing to add art as a therapeutic intervention. Available in paperback and Kindle.
Trauma-Informed Social-Emotional Toolbox for Children & Adolescents: 116 Worksheets & Skill-Building Exercises to Support Safety, Connection & Empowerment. Phifer, L.W. & Sibbald, L. (2020). PESI Publishing & Media
Written by expert clinicians, the solution-focused activities in this workbook support a foundation of social-emotional language, an increase in consistency and routine, regulation of tough emotions, and the formation of connections with others. It includes such activities as “Building a sense of safety in your environment,” “Fostering trust and positive regard,” “Establishing healthy coping skills,” “Promoting problem-solving pathways,” and “Developing personal empowerment, confidence, and wellness.” Available in paperback and Kindle.
April 2nd, 2021. Trauma Awareness and Embodiment. Leslie Bullock, LCSW. Through Power Point guided lecture and brief experiential embodiment practices, this workshop will provide therapists and other mental health practitioners with a comprehensive understanding of both individual and societal / systemic trauma, with greater emphasis on individual trauma. Participants will learn about the neurobiology of individual trauma, the critical role of the nervous system in trauma responses and trauma healing, the difference between Complex trauma and PTSD, and the importance of embodiment in trauma recovery and integration. Participants will also learn essential aspects of being a trauma-informed mental health practitioner.
March, 12, 2021. Poetry and Play Therapy. Marshall Lyles, MA, LPC-S. Poetry focuses awareness as images and language find rhythm and balance. The play therapist can benefit from increased connection with poetry by noticing the lyricism of words spoken in the play room, by incorporating works of poetry into play therapy sessions, and by creating poetry with play therapy clients. All of these ideas will be explored in this 3-hour webinar.
Symptoms of Trauma and Traumatic Memory Retrieval in Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse. Cheryl Malmo PhD & Toni Suzuki Laidlaw PhD (2010).
To study the consequence of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and the process of retrieving traumatic memories, we developed a survey, “Symptoms of Trauma and the Memory Retrieval Process,” designed for adult survivors in therapy. Given that retrieved traumatic memory has generated controversy in the scientific community, we chose to compare results between two groups: individuals who reported having memories of sexual abuse prior to entering therapy (PM) and those who reported having no memories of abuse prior to therapy (NPM). This article describes our findings.
The effects of CSA in adult survivors are reflected in symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed. [DSM–IV]; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) outlines the criteria for PTSD as follows: (a) a traumatizing event, usually involving bodily injury or threat to life; (b) intrusive reexperiencing of symptoms; (c) generalized numbing of responsiveness; and (d) physiological reactivity. Herman (1992) identified three types of complex PTSD symptoms: hyperarousal (the persistent expectation of danger), constriction (the numbing response of surrender), and intrusion (the indelible imprint of the traumatic moment). She detailed numerous ways in which each type of symptom can manifest in cases resulting from continuous and repeated abuse. Explaining that after a traumatic incident, the physiological arousal system of self-preservation goes into permanent alert, Herman cited Kardiner, who used the term physioneurosis to describe the psychosomatic complaints that, like other hyperarousal behaviors, result from chronic arousal of the autonomic nervous system. When people find themselves completely helpless, the self-preservation system shuts down entirely—constricts. Escape is experienced by a change in consciousness, the most severe aspect of which is dissociation, considered to be a reliable predictor of chronic PTSD (D. Brown, Scheflin, & Hammond, 1998). Intrusion is experienced when constriction fails and aspects of the traumatic memory leak into consciousness.
Each month, in this section, we'll bring to you the trauma-related events that are coming up around the world.
Saturday, March 13th. Beyond Identification 202. Heart-Based Psychotherapy. This year’s Beyond Identification program focuses on the practice of psychotherapy grounded in a heart-centered approach. The heart has been recognized as a center of awareness in many spiritual traditions since ancient times. Recently, the field of psychotherapy has begun to recognize its relevance, from both neurobiological and experiential perspectives.
There is still much to be learned about the role of the heart in promoting human development and healing. The presenters at this event are all experts in their fields and represent a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches and spiritual disciplines. This program offers the opportunity to increase our understanding and awareness of how focus on the heart can remove impediments and increase the possibility of realizing our full human potential.
Trauma. The movie. New techniques and therapies have totally changed the game.The most radical kindness you can show yourself is deep attention, acceptance, and unconditional love. You not only deserve it – it’s a vital ingredient in restoring yourself to a being radiating grace and vitality.
March 11-13, 2021. Collective Grief & Trauma Conference: Cathy Malchiodi | Ruth Lanius | Cornelia Elbrecht.
With respect for the challenges we face in addressing collective grief and trauma, this conference brings together both new and recognized voices in the fields of grief and trauma. Our emphasis is on inclusion of voices not always present in conference programming and on innovative methods of addressing collective grief and trauma. To this end, our intention is to provide an event that includes, but is not limited to the following:
March 3-7. Engaging Embodiment Conference. Somatic applications for health, education and social justice. This gathering is the perfect opportunity for our profession to come together to demonstrate how Somatic Movement is impacting Health, Education and Social Justice during this critical time in history.
April 2, 2021. Trauma Awareness and Embodiment workshop for mental health practitioners. Leslie Bullock, LCSW. Through Powerpoint guided lecture and brief experiential embodiment practices, this workshop will provide therapists and other mental health practitioners with a comprehensive understanding of both individual and societal / systemic trauma, with greater emphasis on individual trauma.
April 5-8, 2021. The Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit. For 4 days, share strategies with decision-makers and allied professionals, embrace innovation, and learn about what is working in prevention, treatment, and law enforcement.
In this section we'll talk about schools and programs that are offering trauma (and trauma-related) tracks and/or certificates.
San Diego State University. The Restorative Justice Practice and Trauma-Informed Care Certificate is a 12-unit online program designed to educate professionals in contemporary mental health practices that focus on mental health recovery, restorative justice practices and trauma-informed care in schools, social service agencies, and community organizations.
UC Berkeley Extension. Professional Program in Trauma-Informed Interventions.
Researchers have documented the prevalence of trauma in the lives of the vast majority of public sector clients. Programs and systems that are seeking to integrate trauma-informed interventions include mental health, substance abuse, criminal justice, victim assistance and child welfare.
Post-traumatic stress disorders and other trauma-related disorders and symptoms are increasing in the population of war veterans and those who have been exposed to other forms of violence in urban and domestic settings. With the innovative Professional Program in Trauma-Informed Interventions, you can learn to serve your clients better-and improve your practice-through evidence-based assessment and treatment models developed for trauma victims.
Each month in this section we'll share with you inspiring therapists and coaches and advocates who are doing amazing things in the field of trauma.
This month we bring you these incredible people:
Joseph Bobrow, PhD.
Joseph Bobrow, another one of my favorite and inspiring guests on the podcast (listen to his interview here) is a psychoanalyst, author, activist, and the founding teacher of Deep Streams Zen Institute. He has long been integrating east and west to create environments that transform individual and collective anguish. Among these, a rural cooperative school for young children, an educational and support program for divorcing families, mentoring and meditation groups for incarcerated teenagers, and acclaimed reintegration retreats that mobilize the power of community to help veterans, their families, and their caregivers transform the traumas of war and find peace. Joseph tells the story of his integrative work and its applications to building peace in Waking Up from War: A Better Way Home for Veterans and Nations, with a foreword by the Dalai Lama. Christopher Bollas calls Joseph’s first book, Zen and Psychotherapy: Partners in Liberation "Brilliant, moving, and unforgettable." After Midnight: Poems of Love and War, his first collection of poems, was published in 2017. Joseph's reportage, 'The Beating Heart of Standing Rock,' is at LeapingClear.org, which also features his new poetry. His podcast, The Lotus in the Fire, has links at DeepStreams.org and his website and blog are at JosephBobrow.com. He practices psychotherapy and psychoanalysis in Studio City and teaches widely.
Fran Waters, DCSW, LMSW, LMFT
Fran is one of those therapists you should know about. Again, one of those people who continually inspire me when I have them on the podcast. (Listen to the interview she did on the podcast for my Managing in The Midst of The Pandemic series)
Fran is an internationally recognized trainer, consultant, and clinician in the area of childhood trauma, abuse, and dissociation, and has presented extensively, including training programs in America, Europe, Africa, & South American, and Australia. She has specialized in the field of childhood trauma and abuse for over 40 years. Ms. Waters is the past President of The International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD) and has served on many committees with ISSD, including currently co-chair of ISSTD’s Child & Adolescent Committee, and Faculty Director of the Child Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Programs. She also serves on Editorial Board of the Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, as a contributing guest editor for the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, and on the national Advisory Board of the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence. Ms. Waters is author of Healing the Fracture Child: Diagnosing and Treating Dissociative Youth (2016) and has published many chapters and articles on childhood trauma and dissociation.
Ms. Waters is the executive producer of two training videos, The Traumatized Child: Understanding and Parenting the Traumatized Child, and Trauma & Dissociation in Children specifically geared toward child forensic evaluators and prosecutors. Ms. Waters received the 2008 Media Award from American Professional Society on Abuse of Children for her production of Trauma and Dissociation in Children, the 2012 ISSTD’s Presidential Award for her faculty directorship of ISSTD’s Psychotherapy Training Course on Child & Adolescent Trauma and Dissociation, the ISSTD’s 2019 Cornelia B. Wilbur Award for her research, training and clinical work in the field of trauma and dissociation, and the 2019 William Friedrich Memorial Child Sexual Abuse Research, Assessment and/or Treatment Award from Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma.
Alisa Zipursky she/her is the founder of HealingHonestly.com where she writes about being a young person healing from childhood sexual abuse with a community of 100,000 other survivors (It's funnier than you'd think). Her work focuses less on the question of What happened? and more on Well, what now? with conversations around healing as it relates to survivors' day-to-day lives, including their relationships, families, and sexuality.
In addition to writing, Alisa also has a coaching program for adult childhood sexual abuse survivors who've had questions around memory with their trauma to support them in their healing, and she is developing a program specifically for CSA survivors who are also therapists and counselors. To learn more about Healing Honestly and how to work with Alisa, visit HealingHonestly.com. Also listen to the interview Alisa did on the podcast here.
In this section I'll share with you via video some of what's going on each month behind the scenes to keep the podcast, the courses and the newsletter up and running!
A giant thank-you to the individuals who assist with this newsletter!
Guy Macpherson, PhD
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