Trauma Practice-Tools for Stabilization and Recovery (Second and Expanded Edition)

By Tsang, Angel | East Asian Archives of Psychiatry, December 2011 | Go to article overview

Trauma Practice-Tools for Stabilization and Recovery (Second and Expanded Edition)


Tsang, Angel, East Asian Archives of Psychiatry


Trauma Practice--Tools for Stabilization and Recovery (Second and Expanded Edition)

Authors: Anna B Baranowsky, J. Eric Gentry, D. Franklin Schultz

Hogrefe Publishing

USD49.00; pp188; 978-0-88937-380-8

In our clinical practices, most of our patients / clients experience numerous traumatic events in their lives. These include interpersonal, physical, sexual, and emotional violence, as well as accidents and disasters. The impact of trauma can be disabling and trauma-related disorders are not rare. Concerning the treatment of post-traumatic stress and similar disorders, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most well-researched and effective interventions. This book emphasises much on the cognitive behavioural approach and applies the principles of reciprocal inhibition, pairing of exposures to traumatic memories, and relaxation. It contains a structured manual with many tools and protocols readily usable in clinical settings, and provides therapists and clinicians with excellent resources and guidance for working with subjects with trauma-related disorders.

The book is well structured. It begins with an introduction to the theories of CBT and psychophysiology of trauma, and its contents is arranged in 3 sections according to Judith Herman's (1992) Tri-phasic Model for the treatment of trauma. The 3 sections are: Safety and Stabilisation, Remembrance and Mourning, and Reconnection. Each section is further divided into interventions related to (i) 'body'; (ii) 'cognition'; and (iii) 'behavioural' and 'emotion / relation'.

The first section, Safety and Stabilisation, mainly focuses on helping subjects to develop skills to self-sooth and self-rescue, to establish a 'safe' environment for further trauma work. It describes in detail various techniques to achieve safety and stabilisation. These include: progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic relaxation, sensory grounding and containment, uses of imagery of a safe place, and utilisation of emotional support systems.

The second section, termed 'trauma memory processing', corresponds to Remembrance and Mourning in Herman's Model. It aims to create a space to allow subjects to safely process and work through unresolved traumatic memories, and then begin to make sense of the devastating experience. These techniques mainly involve cognitive restructuring and various exposure interventions (systemic desensitisation and narrative interventions). Although newer approaches, like eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), are not covered in the book, the authors believed that the latter approaches certainly fit the CBT trauma framework, as both EMDR and CBT aim to help individuals process the trauma.

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