Simple Versus Complex Trauma: A Clinician’s Guide to Indications, Treatment Plans, and Therapeutic Methods

doi 10.9769/EPJ.2014.11.2.YF

Yves Wauthier-Freymann, Training Institute for Psychotherapy, Brussels, Belgium

Abstract:This clinical report is intended to guide practitioners in the identification and treatment of simple and complex trauma. It addresses the questions: How can the clinician distinguish between a simple trauma and a complex trauma? How can attachment disorders be managed, and what impact do they have on the processing of traumatic memories? What type of treatment plan is indicated once the nature of the trauma has been identified? When these questions are answered, treatment can proceed efficiently. A structured approach for assessing trauma is presented, beginning with the defining characteristics of simple and complex trauma. A three-stage treatment plan is presented for each of the two types of trauma. This structure enables the identification of interventions that are safe and appropriate for the client, operating within a therapeutic range that avoids the extremes of abreaction (overwhelming emotional release) and dissociation from emotional and physical sensation. Intervention includes elements drawn from energy psychology, heart coherence, Internal Family Systems, and Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). This approach remediates successfully most psychological trauma.

Keywords:simple trauma, complex trauma, energy psychology, treatment plan, client safety

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