Trauma & PTSD
At Lifeskills South Florida, we treat the full continuum of post-traumatic stress responses, including both simple and complex PTSD. Each client is individually assessed and treatment plans are individualized to address the specific clinical issues. We offer both female and male trauma tracks where clients have a space to safely process issues related to their traumatic experiences. These groups also offer psycho-education regarding trauma and its effects as well as concrete skills to enable clients to cope with the debilitating aftereffects of trauma including flashbacks, nightmares and dissociation.
In addition to the gender specific trauma groups, the treatment team at Lifeskills includes specially trained clinicians who provide targeted trauma treatment such as Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
CPT is evidence-based and has been proven to effectively treat individuals struggling with PTSD. CPT aims to retrain the brain to think differently about the traumatic event. All too often with post-traumatic stress disorder, the witness takes on the blame for the outcome of the traumatic occurrence. Through talk therapy, the therapist will be able to help a client decide if the thoughts are justified or not through reconceptualization. One of the primary goals is to identify which emotions are obstructing recovery. Nearing the end of the final session, the therapist will work with the client to devise a relapse prevention plan which will keep the client in recovery from their PTSD.
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. A client-centered approach that allows the clinician to facilitate the client’s healing mechanism by stimulating the innate information processing system in the brain. The 8-phase approach to treatment seeks to address past disturbances, present triggers, and future anticipatory triggers. Through EMDR, resolution of traumatic and disturbing adverse life experiences is accomplished with a unique standardized set of procedures and clinical protocols which incorporate dual focus of attention and alternating bilateral visual, auditory and/or tactile stimulation. This process activates the components of the memory of disturbing life events and facilitates the resumption of adaptive information processing and integration.
In 1987, Dr. Francine Shapiro, Ph.D. discovered EMDR as she was processing a traumatic event in her life. As she thought of the event, she noticed spontaneous back and forth rapid eye movement. From that, Shapiro’s hypothesis evolved into the Adaptive Information Processing Model that is the construct that explains how EMDR works. This model purposes that old disturbing memories are stored in temporary memory storage, implicit memories in the form of images, emotions, thoughts and body sensations and are linked to each other beyond the client’s awareness. When triggered in the present, the memory is activated, and the isolated disturbing memory continues to present distress in the patient until it is processed or metabolized. Through processing with EMDR, the client processing the event and memory through bilateral stimulation and the material has been metabolized and no longer creates a disturbance. The client has worked through the trauma and reached a new adaptive level of functioning.
In addition to CPT and EMDR, clients are treated with a combination of the following treatments:
- Exposure Therapy to desensitize the fear surrounding the memories
- Antidepressants and Other Medications to improve sleep and reduce anxiety and intrusive recollection of the traumatic event.
- Group Therapy to gain new insight from others who have had similar experiences
- Brief Psychodynamic Psychotherapy to understand how past trauma affects present-day emotions
- Family Therapy to help family members who are affected by the victim’s trauma