Trauma informed care is an approach that aims to engage people with histories of trauma, recognize the presence of trauma symptoms, and acknowledge the role that trauma has played in their lives.Trauma informed care is grounded in and directed by a thorough understanding of the neurological, biological, psychological, and social effects of trauma and the prevalence of these experiences in persons who seek and receive mental health services. Trauma informed care also recognizes that traditional service approaches can re-traumatize consumers and family members. Additionally, trauma informed care is a person-centered response focused on improving an individual’s all around wellness rather than simply treating symptoms of mental illness (source).
Originally named the Feminist Perspective, this theory suggests that relationship is at the core of healthy growth and development. It has a strong connection to Interpersonal Neurobiology. Therapists using this model understand that all healing takes place in relation and consider the client in context of the family and the layers of cultural identifiers unique to that individual. This model addresses power-dynamics and encourages empowerment rather than power over.
This type of therapy uses a non-authoritative approach that allows clients to take more of a lead in discussions so that, in the process, they will discover their own solutions. The therapist acts as a compassionate facilitator, listening without judgment and acknowledging the client’s experience without moving the conversation in another direction. The therapist is there to encourage and support the client and to guide the therapeutic process without interrupting or interfering with the client’s process of self-discovery (source).
When we use the term mindfulness, we refer to “an openhearted, moment to moment, non-judgmental awareness” (Kabat-Zinn, 2005, p. 24).
Mindfulness in a nutshell, can be described as choosing and learning to control the focus of our attention. When we use mindfulness in counselling/psychotherapy, we focus on becoming aware of our internal experience. Helping clients to observe and notice their thoughts, feelings, and sensations with acceptance and without dwelling or ruminating on the story of their negative thoughts. This sounds simple but is not easy. The mind can be conditioned and developed into unhelpful thinking, which can become destructive to our well-being.
Studies have revealed that the average person spends a lot of their time thinking about something other than what they are doing in the here and now. By learning to notice your thoughts and feelings you will be able to make better choices and decisions (source).
The goal of Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy is to achieve balance and harmony within the internal system by differentiating and elevating the Self so that it can be an effective leader of the individual’s system. The IFS practitioner will guide you to identify and nurture the undamaged Core- Self, while bringing compassion to parts of the system that have engaged in unhealthy roles for well-intended purposes.
In Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), clients learn mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness skills to help them achieve a meaningful life (Linehan, 1993). As these skills are developed improvements in coping, life skills, and feelings of overall well-being are often seen (Linehan, 1993 & Sharf, 2012).
Based on the empirically supported premise that the body, mind and spirit are interconnected, the American Dance Therapy Association defines DMT as “the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration of the individual.” Patients need not have formal training in dance or movement to experience the benefits of this therapy method.
One of the most highly researched evidenced based forms of therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps the client to identify how thoughts affect behavior. The therapist using this modality will assist the client to shift unhealthy beliefs that negatively impact the individual leading to undesirable behavior. By shifting the thinking, behavioral change will be more successful.
This term describes therapeutic approaches that integrate a client’s physical body into the therapy process. At the foundation of the mind-body connection, basic skills are explored to assist the client to use the body as a resource to decrease anxiety and increase sense of grounding and calm.
Also referred to as Somatic Psychotherapy, this process highlights the intimate relationship between the human body and the psychological well-being of a person. Body-Centered Psychotherapists view the body as a resource for self-discovery and healing.
Attachment theory states that a strong emotional and physical attachment to at least one primary caregiver is critical to personal development. John Bowlby first coined the term as a result of his studies involving the developmental psychology of children from various backgrounds. Further research was conducted by Mary Ainsworth who discovered various attachment styles. More recently these styles have been associated with trauma responses and their long term impact on healthy functioning. The clinician that is informed by attachment theory will understand how attachment styles impact relationships and work with the client to unwind from early childhood trauma related to attachment.