Transforming the Legacy: Couple Therapy with Survivors of Childhood Trauma

Transforming the Legacy: Couple Therapy with Survivors of Childhood Trauma

by Kathryn Karusaitis Basham, Dennis Miehls
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Columbia University Press


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Transforming the Legacy: Couple Therapy with Survivors of Childhood Trauma

To serve the increasing numbers of individuals who have survived interpersonal and domestic violence, or as refugees, have sought asylum from political violence, armed conflict, or torture, Transforming the Legacy presents an innovative relationship-based and culturally informed couple therapy practice model that is grounded in a synthesis of psychological and social theories. This unique couple therapy model encompasses three phases of clinical practice: Phase I entails a process of establishing safety, stabilization, and a context for changing legacies of emotional, sexual, and/or physical abuse. Phase II guides reflection on the trauma narrative. The goal of phase III is to consolidate new perspectives, attitudes, and behaviors.

Within these phases, the model—illustrated with rich case studies—focuses on specific issues, including: intersubjectivity between the client and clinician (such as transference and countertransference, vicarious traumatization, and racial identity development); intrapersonal, interactional, and institutional factors; the role of the "victim-victimizer-bystander" dynamic in the couple and therapeutic relationships; preserving a locus of control with clients; flexibility in decisionmaking regarding clinical processes; and specific practice themes, such as the composition of a couple, the role of violence, parenting, sexuality, affairs, dual diagnoses, and dissociation.

A dramatic departure from formulaic therapeutic approaches, this biopsychosocial model emphasizes the crafting of specific treatment plans and specific clinical interventions to show how couple therapy can transform the legacies of childhood traumatic events for a wide range of populations, including military couples and families, gay lesbian/bisexual/transgendered couples and families, and immigrant and refugee couples and families. This thorough attention to issues of cultural diversity distinguish Transforming the Legacy from the current literature and make it an invaluable resource for clinicians in a wide range of professional disciplines.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231123426
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 10/20/2004
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Kathryn Karusaitis Basham and Dennis Miehls are both associate professors of clinical social work at Smith College School for Social Work. Each maintains a private practice in clinical social work in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Section I - Context
Historical Review
Section II - Theoretical Foundations
Social Theory
Family Theory
Trauma Theory
Object Relations Theory
Attachment Theory
Section III - Couple Therapy Practice
Biopsychosocial Assessment
Phase-Oriented Couple Therapy Model
Clinician Responses
Clinical Case Illustration
Section IV - Specific Clinical Issues
Military Couples and Families
Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered Couples and Families
Immigrant and Refugee Couples and Families

What People are Saying About This

Christine A. Courtois

[This book] is a very sophisticated contribution to the developing literature on couple therapy for childhood trauma survivors and their partners. Its integration of various literatures and approaches along with its emphasis on diversity/cultural issues make it a must-have text. I highly recommend it to the practitioner seeking concrete information on couple treatment where one or both partners have a legacy of childhood trauma.

Jon G. Allen

Given that unwitting reenactments keep past trauma alive in the present, ameliorating current relationship conflicts lies at the heart of treating childhood trauma. Basham and Miehls offer a wealth of clinical experience to therapists grappling with this challenge. The authors'personal openness, sound clinical judgment, and mastery of the scholarly literature positioned them to make this major contribution to the field of trauma treatment.

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