Rethinking Trauma Treatment: Attachment, Memory Reconsolidation, and Resilience

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W. W. Norton & Company, Jun 25, 2019 - Psychology - 288 pages

Creating safety, hope, and secure attachment to transform traumatic memories.

What makes trauma therapy effective? The answers might surprise you. While therapists have been bombarded with brain science, hundreds of new models, and pressure to use evidence-based techniques, research has demonstrated that the therapeutic relationship ultimately predicts therapy outcomes. This is especially true for traumatized clients. But, what kind of therapeutic relationship? Forming a secure therapeutic alliance with traumatized clients is tricky. How do you help clients trust you after they’ve been abused, betrayed, or exploited? How do you instill hope and convince clients who’ve been devastated by loss to believe that a better life is possible?            

In this accessible guide, Courtney Armstrong distills discoveries from attachment theory, brain science, and post-traumatic growth into practical strategies you can use to: 1) build trust and a secure therapeutic relationship; 2) transform traumatic memories into stories of triumph and courage; and 3) help clients cultivate resilience and a positive post-trauma identity. 

Packed with dozens of scripts, step-by-step worksheets, and inspiring client stories, this book gives you tools for each phase of the trauma therapy process and shows you how to:

  • Engage and motivate clients based on their attachment style
  • Manage trauma-related dissociation, anxiety, and anger
  • Transform traumatic memories so they no longer haunt your client
  • Work with different types of trauma, from sexual abuse to traumatic grief
  • Evoke inner resources for healing and positive emotional states
  • Counter compassion fatigue and burnout so youcan thrive as a therapist 

Merely talking about a traumatic event is not enough because the parts of the brain where traumatic, implicit memories are stored don’t understand words. Heartfelt, relational experiences catalyze brain change and buffer the impact of trauma. In this book, Armstrong demonstrates that neuroscience is validating what therapists have suspected all along: the brain changes through the heart. 

 

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Contents

The Brain Changes Through the Heart
Create Safety Hope and Therapeutic Alliance
Trauma and the Brain
Attachment and the Brain
Relationships Change the Brain
How to Engage Insecure Attachment Styles
Tools for Grounding Calming and Soothing
How to Work with Dissociation
Memory Reconsolidation
Sexual Trauma
Childhood Physical Abuse
Relational and Attachment Trauma
Traumatic Grief and Loss
Combat Trauma
PostTraumatic Growth
Healthy Relationship Skills

Instill Hope and Empowerment
Transform Traumatic Memories
Counter Compassion Fatigue
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About the author (2019)

Courtney Armstrong, MEd, a licensed professional counselor, lives in Hixson, Tennessee. She gives national trainings and workshops on a variety of topics for mental health professionals. She also contributes to Psychotherapy Networker and other books and journals and has made several radio and TV appearances for her expertise in grief and trauma.

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