Empathy in the Treatment of Trauma and PTSD: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Empathy in the Treatment of Trauma and PTSD

1st Edition

By John P. Wilson, Ph.D., Rhiannon Brywnn Thomas, Ph.D.


304 pages | 22 B/W Illus.

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Empathy in the Treatment of Trauma and PTSD examines how professionals are psychologically impacted by their work with trauma clients. A national research study provides empirical evidence, documenting the struggle for professionals to maintain therapeutic equilibrium and empathic attunement with their trauma clients. Among the many important findings of this study, all participants reported being emotionally and psychologically affected by the work, often quite profoundly leading to changes in worldview, beliefs about the nature of humankind and the meaning of life.

John P. Wilson and Rhiannon Thomas set out to understand how to heal those who experience empathic strain in the course of their professional specialization. The data included in the book allows for the development of conceptual dynamic models of effective management of empathic strain, which may cause vicarious traumatization, burnout and serious countertransference processes.

Table of Contents

Foreword. Acknowledgments. The Transmitting Unconscious of Traumatization. The Matrix of Empathy. Structure and Dynamics of Interpersonal Processes in Treatment of PTSD. A Model of Empathy in Trauma Work. The Balance Beam: Modes of Empathic Attunement and Empathic Strain in Post-Traumatic Therapy. Empathic Rupture and Affect Dysregulation: Countertransference in the Treatment of PTSD. Anxiety and Defensiveness in the Trauma Therapist. Empathy and Traumatoid States. Therapist Reactions in Post-Traumatic Therapy: A Study of Empathic Strain in Trauma Work. Understanding the Nature of Traumatoid States. The Positive Therapeutic Effects of Empathic Attunement and the Transformation of Trauma. Appendix. Clinicians Trauma Reaction Survey Questionnaire. Index.

About the Authors

John P. Wilson, Ph.D. is professor of Psychology at Cleveland State University in Ohio. He is a founding member and past president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, a fellow of the American Institute of Stress and Executive Director of the Centre for Post Traumatic Stress and PTSD. He is the author of over eleven books and twenty monographs and journal articles on traumatic stress syndromes.

Rhiannon Brywnn Thomas, Ph.D. in private practice, Miami, USA

About the Series

Psychosocial Stress Series

The Psychosocial Stress Series includes books that make important contributions to theory, research, assessment, treatment, and policy on the causes and consquences of stress and trauma.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Counseling