How to choose a trauma therapist?
If you’ve had one significant traumatic event, or several traumatic events occur in your life, finding a skilled trauma therapist is essential. This past week I have had the privilege of working with first-responder/military couples, in group format, where one partner has a PTSD diagnosis. The goal of the program is for the couple to turn towards one another and regain connection through their relationship. My colleague, Dr.Stu Hoover, R.Psych. outlined key questions (based on the work of Tal Croitoru) for clients to ask a potential trauma therapist:
1. Do you have any formal trauma training? What is it called? Do you have any literature to support this approach? A skilled trauma therapist will have a model of therapy they adhere to and will be able to provide you with information on their approach. Some leaders in the field of trauma research and treatment are (Peter Levine, PhD, Bessel van der Kolk, MD, Stephen Porges, PhD, Pat Ogden, PhD, Daniel Siegel, MD).
2. Do you practice this as a psychotherapy or is it simply a technique? Look for someone who uses an integrated psychotherapy (EMDR, somatic experiencing, sensorimotor psychotherapy).
3. How many hours/moth do you practice trauma therapy? Look for someone who responds in the double digits.
4. What are the key steps in your practice? You want to look for someone who uses a triphasic model of trauma therapy and has safety and stabilization as a key step.
5. Do you receive regular consultation/supervision/ongoing training? This should be monthly at the very least.
Asking these questions can help you to find a therapist who knows how to support your recovery.
If you have any questions, we offer a complimentary in-office consultation (about 20 minutes) so you can get a sense of us and see if we might be the right fit for you.
~Carolynn Turner, MA, RCC