Goals and Phases of Treatment for Complex Trauma
Psychological Injury Consultants offer a comprehensive, phased Complex Trauma Program. The expected timeframe for most cases of complex and chronic PTSD is two years of active treatment. Clients in this program may participate in both individual and group treatments.
Phase 1: Stabilization of Symptoms and Engagement in Safe Environments
The first phase of treatment of complex trauma is to establish increased safety in relation to oneself and others. This includes reducing conflict, risk-taking, risk of harm to self or others, and addictions. This stage is critical for trust and engagement with the consultant in order for the client to be able to progress in subsequent stages of treatment. Education about complex PTSD and the strategies used to target symptoms are part of this phase. This can be a lengthy stage of treatment, lasting six months or more.
Phase 2: Resolution of Distress Related to Traumatic Memories
Once safety and stabilization have been achieved, evidence-based treatments for reducing PTSD symptoms can be initiated. Given the repetitive nature of exposure to trauma in complex cases, combined and tailored PTSD treatments are almost always necessary. The process of reducing distress related to multiple traumatic events is much lengthier when compared to PTSD treatment for those who have experienced a single traumatic event.
Phase 3: Reintegration and Establishing Greater Function and Sense of Identity
A poor sense of identity and alienation from others can maintain and worsen symptoms of PTSD. For these reasons, the final phase of treatment focuses on repair to one’s sense of self and improvement in function in multiple life areas as a necessary component in order to make a good recovery.