Principles of Trauma Therapy: A Guide to Symptoms, Evaluation, and Treatment

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"This is a phenomenal compilation of clinical, biological, neuropsychiatric, and psychotherapeutic information on the subject of trauma. The authors move from the very basic subject of 'what trauma is' to the most complicated subjects of etiology and intervention. The usefulness of the book is greatly enhanced by the many case examples. This is a major contribution, both for those who treat and for theoreticians.... a must for every clinician!"
--Marcia Goin, MD, PhD, Psychoanalyst; Past-president, American Psychiatric Association; Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

Principles of Trauma Therapy provides a creative synthesis of cognitive-behavioral, relational/psychodynamic, and psychopharmacologic approaches to the "real world" treatment of acute and chronic posttraumatic states. Grounded in empirically-supported trauma treatment techniques, and adapted to the complexities of actual clinical practice, it is a hands-on resource for both front-line clinicians in public mental health and those in private practice. Trauma-related disturbance can be complex, requiring careful assessment and multimodal, symptom-focused treatment. This book describes assessment approaches and specific interventions not only for the cognitive and emotional processing of trauma memories, but also for the treatment of problems related to affect dysregulation, identity/self-disturbance, cognitive distortions, negative relational schema, and avoidance responses such as substance abuse, dissociation, and tension-reduction behavior. A special chapter on trauma psychopharmacology, accessible to both prescribing and nonprescribing clinicians, outlines the indications and limitations of psychoactive medication in the treatment of trauma survivors.

Written by trauma researcher and clinician John Briere, Ph.D., and medical director of the USC Psychological Trauma Clinic, Catherine Scott, M.D., this book articulates a nonpathologizing, phenomenological perspective on trauma and recovery - one that emphasizes both specific therapeutic techniques and the general, but critical, role of the therapeutic relationship.

Intended Audience: This is an essential resource for practicing clinicians interested in the area of trauma. It also serves as an ideal supplemental text for graduate students studying psychotherapy, clinical psychology, and traumatic stress in the fields of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Social Work.

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Editorial Reviews

Constance Dalenberg
"This groundbreaking book takes trauma therapy to a new stage of development, brilliantly integrating the diverse findings of cognitive behaviorists, relational and attachment theorists, and neurobiologists. The authors understand that therapy is an intimate relationship between two people — the (often distrusting and fearful) patient who wishes relief from pain and the (often frustrated but empathic) therapist who would like to provide that relief. The authors generate in the reader a respect for the biological underpinnings of trauma and the power of early attachment dynamics, showing us how to accept these realities while building the structures that will help the patient achieve symptom relief. The clarity of the text, particularly given the complexity of the material, combines with the wisdom and warmth of the authors to produce a "must read" for any therapist working with trauma patients."
Christine A. Courtois
"The authors have provided a definitive resource on the treatment of all types of trauma, especially important as society faces more and more traumatic events. This book admirably meets its goal as a hands-on, practical guide for clinicians working with adult and older adolescent trauma survivors. The material is cutting edge, encompassing a wide range of interventions, including a very comprehensive chapter on psychopharmacology. It includes discussion of techniques and principles for which an evidence base has developed, as well as other techniques developed from clinical experience. This book will serve as an essential reference for all clinicians treating the traumatized, as well as a textbook for courses on the treatment of trauma."
Marcia Goin
"This is a phenomenal compilation of clinical, biological, neuropsychiatric, and psychotherapeutic information on the subject of trauma. The authors move from the very basic subject of "what trauma is" to the most complicated subjects of etiology and intervention. The usefulness of the book is greatly enhanced by the many case examples. This is a major contribution, both for those who treat and for theoreticians.... a must for every clinician!"
Lucy Berliner
"This book bridges the divide between CBT oriented, evidence based practitioners and those who endorse a more relationship based approach to chronic traumas. The authors offer a components based model for the delivery of trauma therapy that clearly illustrates how these two approaches can be compatible. As Briere and Scott demonstrate, the science and the art of therapy are both honored when there is systematic application of treatment components in the context of specific client needs. This book is just what is needed to advance our field. "
James High
"The chapter on psychopharmacology stands out in two ways. First, the integrative discussion of the psychology and biology of post-trauma outcome provides essential understanding for all who work with survivors, regardless of discipline. Second, the clarity and scope of this work provides both an accessible primer for practitioners new to trauma and a comprehensive pharmacology update for more experienced clinicians."
"This book is an excellent teaching tool —almost what one would expect from a course with details printed in different fonts and useful checklists for clinical work. I appreciate the choice of either reading individual chapters one at a time, each one with recommended reading sections at the end, or the benefits of reading the book as a whole...Of special value in this book is the chapter dedicated to the psychopharmacology of trauma, as special attention is given to the most up-to-date research in the field of psychobiology " —CONTEMPORARY PSYCHOLOGY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761929208
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John N. Briere, Ph D, is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, where he consults and teaches in the ER, burn unit, and inpatient psychiatry, and Center Director of the USC Adolescent Trauma Training Center’s National Child Traumatic Stress Network. A past president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, he is recipient of the Robert S. Laufer Memorial Award for Scientific Achievement from ISTSS, and the Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Science of Trauma Psychology from the American Psychological Association’s Division 56, and has been designated Highly Cited Researcher (Behavioral Sciences) by the Institute for Scientific Information. He is author of a number of books, articles, and psychological tests in the areas of trauma and interpersonal violence, and has a long-standing interest in the clinical applications of meditation, mindfulness, and compassion. His website is

Catherine Scott, MD, is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. Her educational background includes Harvard College, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and psychiatric residency training at Cornell and USC. She was formerly Medical Director of the Psychological Trauma Program at Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center, and the Associate Medical Director of the Psychiatric Emergency Service at Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center, where she taught and supervised resident physicians and medical students in the assessment and treatment of trauma-related disorders arising from sexual and physical violence, torture, child abuse, and other forms of interpersonal violence. Although continuing to teach, Dr. Scott stepped down from administrative duties in order to pursue writing and research projects. Her clinical and research interests include human rights, women’s issues, and the remediation of sexual violence and its effects.

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Table of Contents

Part I: Trauma, Effects, and Assessment
Chapter 1: What Is Trauma?
Chapter 2: The Effects of Trauma
Chapter 3: Assessing Trauma and Posttraumatic Outcomes
Part II: Clinical Interventions
Chapter 4: Central Issues in Trauma Treatment
Chapter 5: Psychoeducation
Chapter 6: Distress Reduction and Affect Regulation Training
Chapter 7: Cognitive Interventions
Chapter 8: Emotional Processing
Chapter 9: Increasing Identity and Relational Functioning
Chapter 10: Mindfulness in Trauma Treatment
Chapter 11: Treating the Effects of Acute Trauma
Chapter 12: Psychobiology and Psychopharmacology of Trauma
Chapter 13: Conclusions

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