Understanding the Paradox of Surviving Childhood Trauma
Techniques and Tools for Working with Suicidality and Dissociation
Understanding the Paradox of Surviving Childhood Trauma offers clinicians a new framework for understanding the symptoms and coping mechanisms displayed by survivors of childhood abuse. This approach considers how characteristics such as suicidality, self-harm, persistent depression, and anxiety can have roots in behaviors and beliefs that helped patients survive their trauma. This book provides practitioners with case examples, practical tips, and techniques for applying this mindset directly to their most complex cases. By depathologizing patients’ experiences and behaviors, and moving beyond simply managing them, therapists can reduce their clients’ shame and work collaboratively to understand the underlying message that these behaviors conceal.
Table of Contents
1. A Non-Pathologizing Approach to Trauma Treatment 2. Understanding Posttraumatic Symptoms Through the Eyes of a Child 3. The Legacy of Abuse: Exploring How Rules and Beliefs are Formed in Attachment Relationships 4. A Shift in Perspective: Exploring Suicidality 5. A Shift in Perspective: Exploring Dissociation 6. A Shift in Perspective: Exploring Issues of Identity 7. Bringing Ourselves into the Therapy Room
Joanne Zucchetto, MSW, maintains a private practice for individual and group therapy clients in Washington, D.C. She has previously worked in the trauma treatment programs at Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, and the Psychiatric Institute of Washington.
Simone Jacobs, MSW, is a therapist in private practice in Takoma Park, Maryland, focusing on survivors of trauma and women of color. She previously worked in the trauma treatment program at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington.
Ly Vick Johnson, MSW, is a writer living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She previously worked in the trauma treatment program at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington.
"This is the book I wish I’d had thirty years ago. It would have saved me from being dragged through the clinical cactus patch numerous times as I learned the hard way about the nuanced meanings of self-harm and suicidal behaviors. Experienced and newly minted clinicians all stand to gain a tremendous understanding of life on the edge of living and a whole clinical panorama of potential meanings in the generation of desperate behaviors. Accessible, wise, and filled with uncommon sense that opens new vistas of understanding, this book explores how understanding the logic behind the importance of suicidality saves lives. Bravo to Zucchetto, Jacobs, and Vick Johnson!"—Richard A. Chefetz, MD, author of Intensive Psychotherapy for Persistent Dissociative Processes and past president of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation
"This book is a brilliant and exceptional fount of therapeutic wisdom for trauma therapists both new and experienced. It takes a fresh, non-pathologizing look at the here and now life of the trauma survivor and the actual experience in the therapy room. The chapters are punctuated by powerful clinical vignettes that spark thoughtful reflection on the skilled interventions, far beyond what any of us learned in our training and now wish we had. The book is a bright new star on the horizon and is a great pleasure to read and reread. It gives new, creative energy to our work!"—Joan A. Turkus, MD, clinical and consulting psychiatrist, medical director, TraumaSci, Dominion Hospital, and past president of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation
"This book reads like a master class in clinical supervision. Therapists are encouraged to go toward the frightening matter of suicide armed with empathy and an investigative approach. Zucchetto, Jacobs, and Vick Johnson provide an invaluable window into the world of people who live with suicidality, allowing clinicians to reassess its meaning, address clients’ needs, and understand that finally, suicidality is about wanting to live."—Elizabeth G. Vermilyea, PhD, Author of Growing Beyond Survival