Treating Complex Psychological Trauma
PTSD, Borderline Personality and Beyond
John Briere, Ph.D.
Earn 12 CE/CME Hours
Until recently, post-traumatic stress was considered a relatively straightforward response to a single traumatic event. However, recent research indicates that trauma-related disturbance can be quite complex symptomatically involving a variety of symptoms and difficulties beyond PTSD. When trauma exposure involves early, repetitive, interpersonal maltreatment (e.g. sustained child abuse and neglect), or when there have been multiple and prolonged traumas in adulthood (e.g. torture, war, or ongoing domestic violence), the outcome may involve not only classic post-traumatic stress, but also dysfunctional attachment styles, affect dysfunctional attachment styles, affect dysregulation, overdeveloped avoidance responses (including dissociation and substance abuse), easily activated nonverbal schema and sensory memories, conditioned cognitive-emotional responses, and a variety of other affective and behavioral outcomes.
These responses are often viewed as symptoms of borderline personality disorder and related `Axis II pathology`. In fact, they are relatively common among complex trauma survivors, and are often best treated as trauma responses rather than personality defects or dysfunctions.
Drawing on the latest trauma research and theory, Dr. Briere presents a nonpathologizing, developmentally informed therapy for these complex post-traumatic presentations that integrates cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic perspectives.
Participants completing this home study will be better able to:
· Discuss ways in which complex trauma differs from `simple` trauma
· Identify the traumatic base for borderline personality disorders
· Describe the use and function of the therapeutic window
· Explore the central components of any effective trauma treatment
· List ways in which treatment for complex trauma is different from treating PTSD
· Explain why a good therapeutic relationship is technically necessary for the resolution of
complex post-traumatic disturbance