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A curated collection of Books, Videos, Articles and more to educate consumers, caregivers and professionals about Complex Trauma.

Complex Trauma Treatments for Adults

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    Treatments for Adults

    Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP)

    man's face on background of smoke

    What sets this intervention apart:

    AEDP is a therapeutic intervention that utilizes the context of a secure, therapeutic relationship to engender a containing environment to undo aloneness and bring to awareness the client’s resources and resilience for growth.

    Fundamental to AEDP is the transformative ability of the client-therapist relationship. With emphasis on emotional engagement and attunement to nonverbal cues, the AEDP therapist helps clients gain access to and process distressing and often heavily-guarded emotional and relational experiences.

    Through this shared client-therapist process of viscerally feeling, reflecting upon, and reframing past experiences, AEDP enables clients to transform overwhelming affect and impulses into:

    • regulated emotions,
    • reorganized awareness,
    • articulated memories, and
    • adaptive behaviors.

    Population served:

    AEDP is offered to adults in individual or couples therapy. Session length is determined on the individual client needs. AEDP is typically offered in outpatient treatment centers or private practice settings. Considered a brief form of psychodynamic psychotherapy, treatment length is longer than that of most manualized trauma-focused intervention models, and typically ranges from six to eighteen months.

    Component Based Psychotherapy (CBP)

    Are you ready to commit to a more intensive, relational therapy that cultivates the person beyond the trauma victim or survivor?

    What sets this intervention apart:

    woman in dark moodCBP is a treatment framework that was specifically designed to address the legacy of complex trauma in adult clients whose overall treatment needs and recovery goals have not been achieved through other trauma treatment models that have been primarily focused on coping skill building and/or memory processing.

    CBP was developed for adults who have experienced all forms of interpersonal trauma, with particular attention given to the complex ways in which a person’s identity, physiology, relationships and overall development can be powerfully influenced and even shaped by more subtle forms of traumatic experiences, including:

    • childhood emotional abuse and neglect,
    • exploitation,
    • ancestral, historical and intergenerational trauma, and

    structural trauma including poverty, racism and other forms of discrimination and social oppression.

    CBP addresses four primary aspects of being, and how these become expressed, interact and evolve in and between both the client and their therapist:

    • relationship,
    • regulation,
    • identity-fragmentation, and
    • narrative.

    Particular attention is given to strategies which address clinical dissociation, based on the premise that treatment of dissociation is core to intervention with adult survivors of childhood complex trauma.

    CBP strives for growth and development beyond trauma a focus on traumatic experiences, and emphasizes the inherent strength and resilience in adult clients, and relies upon the therapist-client relationship as the primary conduit of change, and also the container within which the other aspects of trauma treatment-- including coping skill building, narrative work, and integration of dissociated parts of self-- can safely occur.

    Population served:

    CBP is a form of adult individual therapy, primarily delivered in the context of outpatient treatment. Singular or periodic couples therapy sessions can be incorporated as needed to support the primary client. Treatment tends to be long-term, with treatment duration typically exceeding one year.


    Internal Family Systems (IFS)

    Have you felt as though parts of you at times are at war with each other, or at the very least, refuse to listen, respect or make space for each other?

    What sets this intervention apart:

    IFS is a therapeutic approach which views the internal system as having subparts or subpersonalities, each with distinct systems of being internally organized to best serve the environment a person is in. For a client who experienced complex trauma their subparts are often reorganized into extreme versions to support survival.

    IFS uses the example of the “Exile,” parts which carry the pain of trauma and the “Managers” and “Firefighters” which protect the individual from feeling the Exile parts through behaviors such as perfectionism or reactivity.

    While these subparts are inherently useful, IFS recognizes how the extreme presentation of subparts subdues a person’s true self and enables the self to lead its present life in a healthy manner.

    Core to IFS is the belief each person’s system includes an undamaged self which can mindfully lead and reorganize the internal system. This self includes a person’s strengths and skills which naturally guides a person to a healthy life or healing.

    IFS’ goal is to achieve balance within the internal system by:

    • differentiating the self from other subparts,
    • allowing the self to lead with subparts support, and
    • allowing all subparts to exist with cooperative, non-extreme intention.

    Population served:

    IFS is adaptable for adults, adolescents, couples and some families. Due to its individualized nature, length of treatment is dependent upon the needs of the client(s). IFS is most often facilitated in an outpatient setting.


    Skills Training in Affect and Interpersonal Regulation + Modified Prolonged Exposure (STAIR/MPE)

    Would you benefit from the support of a therapist to safely explore painful childhood memories and assist you in breaking out of unhealthy patterns impacting your present life?

    What sets this intervention apart:

    Acknowledging the specific challenges experienced by adult survivors of complex trauma, STAIR/MPE is a two-phase therapeutic intervention focused on skill building and exposure-based treatment in the context of an empathetic and trustworthy relationship.

    The first phase of treatment focuses on symptom stabilization. Clients are provided with skill training to:

    • improve regulation capacities,
    • improve distress tolerance, and
    • explore new methods of engaging with and relating to others, setting the foundation for the second phase of treatment.

    Phase two supports clients in further processing through stressful situations using a modified version of prolonged exposure. Through, clients are exposed to trauma-related memories to:

    • increase awareness of the client’s affective and emotional experience,
    • practice regulation skills, and
    • process through challenging themes such as rejection, shame, loss, and betrayal.

    The therapist supports the client in stabilizing and refocusing to the present moment. The client is guided in exploring the meaning of the trauma and increase awareness of schemas created in early childhood which relate to the current unhealthy patterns of coping, relating, and interacting experienced by the adult client.

    Population served:

    STAIR/MPE is an individual or group time-limited therapy protocol for adults. STAIR/MPE is most often facilitated in outpatient treatment centers or private practice.

    Please visit the resources section of this website for downloadable articles and other resources on complex trauma, as well as links to booksvideos and webinars. For inquiries about the topics and resources included in this website, or to correspond with its developers, contact: