I'm doing research for my next book, Trauma Treatments, and just finished John Briere and Catherine Scott's Principles of Trauma Therapy: A guide to symptoms, evaluation and treatment. (Sage Press, 2006). It's a good book, full of common sense and practical advice about trauma survivors. Briere and Scott do a good job explaining the effects of trauma and the way it manifests in different kinds of people. They mention temperment, a subject neglected in much of trauma therapy. Since Briere comes from a psychodynamic background, he emphasizes the importance of the relationship as a component of healing (backed up by Alan Schore and Dan Siegel, my heroes.) And he does a good job of explaining the "therapeutic window" in which trauma treatment occurs: between too little and too much activation of traumatic material. He lays out an amalgam of cognitive and relational therapies called the self-trauma model. He mentions Acute Stress Disorder, the precursor to PTSD. And he has a comprehensive chapter on medications and trauma. It's nice. and it's not enough.

Through-out the treatment section, I kept thinking, "You're missing the body! You're missing affect! Get out of your clients' heads and into their experience!" I wanted to drag Briere out of the book, teach him EMDR and movement work, and let him loose with his magnificent skill set and deep understanding. As he talked about trying to keep people from running out of the room during exposure therapy, I wanted to say, "Tap on them!" When he talked about how people are often traumatized by exposure therapy and often leave therapy before they're healed, I had the same feeling. I used to do exposure, I was trained at a rat-running behavioral undergrad school (U of Iowa) and a CBT-oriented MSW program (U of Wash.) And when I learned EMDR, I finally had a tool that made the trauma go away, quickly enough that people didn't need to run out of the room.

If you are just starting out as a therapist, you might read this book to get the broad view of trauma, it's effects, and good common sense ways to begin treatment. Then go get trained in EMDR, body-centered therapies, and Brainspotting. You'll be ready to do good therapy with traumatized people, hitting all the bases.