Treating Traumatic Stress in Adults : The Practitioner’s Expressive Writing Workbook book cover
1st Edition

Treating Traumatic Stress in Adults
The Practitioner’s Expressive Writing Workbook

ISBN 9781138890763
Published October 23, 2015 by Routledge
160 Pages

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Book Description

Treating Traumatic Stress in Adults is a resource for therapists of all disciplines for use in the treatment of adults suffering from post-traumatic stress. By reading this unique synthesization of information on the most current trauma treatments and expressive writing exercises, practitioners will gain an integrative and practical set of tools for treating post-traumatic stress. Also included are numerous diverse case vignettes, exercises for building trust in the patient/client relationship, and sections dedicated to exploring the client’s thought patterns and emotions to provide an opportunity for exposure, healing, and restructuring maladaptive beliefs.

Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction: Integrating Expressive Writing Into Trauma-Related Treatment Approaches. Trauma and Its Effects. Implications for Treatment. Part II: Current Treatments for Trauma. Discussion of a Multidimensional Model. Future Treatment: The Case for Including Expressive Writing. Expressive Writing as a Therapy Technique. Conclusion. Part III: Expressive Writing Workbook. General Writing Guidelines. Structuring Client Writing Activities During Session. Beginning Exercises. Part III-I: Beginning Exercises. Section 1: Lists and Clusters. Section 2: Sentence Stems. Section 3: Acrostics and Poems. Section 4: Five-Minute "Sprints". Part III-II: Intermediate Exercises. Section 1: Letters. Section 2: Obituaries and Eulogies. Section 3: Character Sketches. Section 4: Dialogues. Part III-III: Advanced Exercises. Section 1: Narratives. Section 2: Essays and Compositions. Part III-IV: Free-Writing Exercises. Exercise 1: Semiautomatic Writing. Exercise 2: Into the Stream. Part III-V: Activity-Based Exercises. Section 1: Relaxation Exercises. Section 2: Guided Imagery. Section 3: Multimedia Activities. Part IV: Outcome Measures. Rationale. Screen for Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms. The Revised Helping Alliance Questionnaire. Alternate Measures for the Assessment of Trauma Symptoms. Process. Notes. References. Appendices.

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Stephanie Field, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Counseling and Psychological Services department at the University of Hartford and sits on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Psychological Association. She has worked primarily with adults and young adults, specializing in substance use disorders, traumatic stress, and expressive writing therapy.

Kathy McCloskey, PhD, PsyD, ABPP-CL, is a research psychologist, a licensed clinical psychologist, a Diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology, and a professor at the University of Hartford Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology in Hartford, CT. She is the co-author of two books (Backs Against the Wall: Battered Women’s Resistance Strategies and A Sexuality and Gender Diversity Training Program), and has published over 70 peer-reviewed scholarly papers over her 30-plus year professional career. Her specialties include feminist psychology, multicultural and diversity issues, intimate partner violence, trauma, forensic populations, and the training of doctoral-level clinical psychologists.


Over the last thirty years, hundreds of studies have been conducted on expressive writing and ways it can be used to reduce stress and improve health. Treating Traumatic Stress in Adults provides a helpful perspective for people dealing with upsetting experiences in their lives. Particularly impressive are guidelines and exercises to help in getting through a stressful time.—James W. Pennebaker is a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressive Writing.