Experiential Treatment for PTSD: The Therapeutic Spiral Model

Experiential Treatment for PTSD: The Therapeutic Spiral Model

Experiential Treatment for PTSD: The Therapeutic Spiral Model

Experiential Treatment for PTSD: The Therapeutic Spiral Model


"This book introduces something substantially new...original, clinically valid and well-thought out ideas which have been extensively tested in workshops conducted internationally over the last decade...a great book!" Adam Blatner, MD The author presents the Therapeutic Spiral Model (TSM), a systematic modification of Psychodrama, for therapists working with people who are suffering from severe trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder. A step-by-step guide for using experiential methods safely, the author first explains the theoretical foundations of TSM, research and theories on trauma, and experiential psychotherapy as a basis for understanding its development. Throughout, clinical action structures and advanced intervention modules for using experiential methods are presented. Each chapter contains active vignettes and case examples to demonstrate the process and progress of the spiral technique.


Experiencing trauma is an essential part of being human:
History is written in blood, (van der Kolk and McFarlane,
1996, p. 3)

Trauma is inescapable in today’s world. It is heard in the violent sounds of guns that rage, student to student, in U.S. high schools. It’s seen in the sad and frightened eyes of a battered woman. It permeates the news media that surround us all.

On September 11th, 2001, we all experienced trauma in ways we could not believe were possible until that moment. This book, and the method of treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that it teaches, the Therapeutic Spiral Model, was created before “9/11.” As ptsd reaches epidemic numbers among peoples around the world, it is my hope that the words here can make a difference.

For the purposes of this handbook, trauma is defined as the result of any single experience or ongoing experience that felt life-threatening and broke through normal coping mechanisms. Overpowering events overwhelm the ability to defend against pain, loss, and possible death. Cognitive processes are frozen in time as the self tries to cope with intense emotions in the face of a real danger that made no sense. in everyday language, trauma is the feeling that everything is spiraling out of control and there is no way to make it stop.

Posttraumatic stress disorder

In the early 1980s several changes in the way mental health problems were viewed became evident. the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognized that the “war neuroses” of Vietnam veterans were . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.