Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders (Adults)
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Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders (Adults) : Scientific Foundations and Therapeutic Models

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Chronic childhood trauma, such as prolonged abuse or family violence, can severely disrupt a person's development, basic sense of self, and later relationships. Adults with this type of history often come to therapy with complex symptoms that go beyond existing criteria for PTSD. This important book brings together prominent authorities to present the latest thinking on complex traumatic stress disorders and provide practical guidelines for conceptualization and treatment. Evidence-based assessment procedures are detailed, and innovative individual, couple, family, and group therapies are described and illustrated with case vignettes and session transcripts.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 488 pages
  • 154.94 x 226.06 x 27.94mm | 725.74g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1462513395
  • 9781462513390
  • 136,730

Table of contents

Foreword, Judith L. Herman

Introduction, Christine A. Courtois and Julian D. Ford

I. Overview

1. Defining and Understanding Complex Trauma and Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders, Julian D. Ford and Christine A. Courtois

2. Neurobiological and Developmental Research: Clinical Implications, Julian D. Ford

3. Best Practices in Psychotherapy for Children and Adolescents, Julian D. Ford and Marylene Cloitre

4. Best Practices in Psychotherapy for Adults, Christine A. Courtois, Julian D. Ford, and Marylene Cloitre

5. Assessment of the Sequelae of Complex Trauma: Evidence-Based Measures, John Briere and Joseph Spinazzola

6. Assessment of Attachment and Abuse History, and Adult Attachment Style, Daniel Brown

7. Treating Dissociation, Kathy Steele and Onno van der Hart

8. Cultural Competence, Laura S. Brown

9. Therapeutic Alliance and Risk Management, Philip J. Kinsler, Christine A. Courtois, and A. Steven Frankel

10. Living and Working Self-Reflectively to Address Vicarious Trauma, Laurie Anne Pearlman and James Caringi

II. Individual Treatment Approaches and Strategies

11. Contextual Therapy, Steven N. Gold

12. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Christie Jackson, Kore Nissenson, and Marylene Cloitre

13. Contextual Behavior Trauma Therapy, Victoria M. Follette, Katherine M. Iverson, and Julian D. Ford

14. Experiential and Emotion-Focused Therapy, Diana Fosha, Sandra Paivio, Kari Gleiser, and Julian D. Ford

15. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Janina Fisher and Pat Ogden

16. Pharmacotherapy, Lewis A. Opler, Michelle S. Grennan, and Julian D. Ford

III. Systemic Treatment Approaches and Strategies

17. Internal Family Systems Therapy, Richard C. Schwartz, Mark F. Schwartz, and Lori Galperin

18. Couple Therapy, Susan M. Johnson and Christine A. Courtois

19. Family Systems Therapy, Julian D. Ford and William Saltzman

20. Group Therapy, Julian D. Ford, Roger D. Fallot, and Maxine Harris

Conclusion: The Clinical Utility of a Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders Framework, Julian D. Ford and Christine A. Courtois

Afterword, Bessel A. van der Kolk
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Review quote

"Courtois and Ford present an essential, comprehensive work for clinicians and researchers. Evidence-based practice recommendations for psychotherapeutic and pharmacological treatment are presented--carefully adapted for those suffering from complex traumatic stress disorders--and a range of treatment models are clearly described. Rich clinical material, and attention to management of the therapeutic alliance, therapist self-care, and other key challenges in working with these clients, make this a most useful and innovative resource."--Josef I. Ruzek, PhD, Director, Dissemination and Training Division, National Center for PTSD

"This is the single best source for clinical expertise in complex traumatic stress disorders. Leading clinicians and researchers share a rich array of individual, couple, family, and group therapy models that illustrate basic treatment principles and best practices. Informed by recent research, the contributors cover the developmental and neurobiological background against which to frame essential assessment and treatment issues. Chapters on such pragmatic topics as vicarious traumatization and risk management offer advice on reducing stress for therapists working with these challenging cases."--Frank W. Putnam, MD, Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

"Treatments based on a traditional conceptualization of PTSD are frequently insufficient to address the diverse, long-lasting, and pervasive effects of complex trauma. This book offers a comprehensive review of treatment considerations, assessment measures, best practices, and evidence-based treatment approaches specifically tailored for psychotherapy with people who have experienced prolonged abuse and neglect by caregivers. An indispensable guide for any mental health professional who works with trauma survivors."--Pamela C. Alexander, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, Wellesley Centers for Women


"This text is of great value in graduate social work education and training. Courtois and Ford have organized a single volume that allows students to sample the breadth of concepts and interventions offered by the complex traumatic stress conceptual lens. The research on neurobiology, human development, and attachment provides a strong foundation for the intervention chapters that follow. Students are introduced to a range of contemporary treatment strategies for individuals, rounded out by a very useful presentation of systemic approaches. This book is a terrific resource for graduate social work students that should prove useful to them long after they have completed their degrees."--Mark Horwitz, PhD, MSW, JD, Department of Social Work, Westfield State University


"A valuable addition to the libraries of both novice and experienced clinicians who treat patients with disorders as varied as reactive attachment disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, dissociative disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder....An unparalleled contribution to the existing literature on assessment and intervention with survivors of complex trauma. There are few existing compilations that have collected such a wide variety of treatment approaches from such prominent authors, and it is probable that this is the most comprehensive and current review to date. While multiple evidence-based treatment strategies are given attention in this book, it is detailed enough so that the reader is able to make an informed decision about whether to pursue an approach. In addition, several chapters describe essential understanding required for working with any survivor of complex trauma regardless of the particular intervention style."--Trauma Psychology Newsletter (APA Division 56)


"This book is likely to appeal to clinicians who are eager to learn more about the area of complex traumatic stress and novel approaches to treating associated problems. The text is well-written and organized, making it easy to follow."--Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy


"Will surely become a classic textbook on complex traumatic stress. This book is appropriate for students, clinicians, and academics alike. Because the concept of complex trauma is still evolving, this text can educate and inform students in training as well as seasoned clinicians....The authors of the book are leaders in the field of trauma and they artfully illustrate the nuances of the disorder as well as subsequent treatment through rich case examples....In our current mental health climate, there exists a psychiatric debate about formally establishing Complex PTSD as a disorder. In such a climate this book documents the current knowledge and evidence supporting the disorder and will surely help to shift the paradigm of how complex trauma is understood, assessed for, and ultimately healed from."--Clinical Social Work Journal


"Editors Courtois and Ford unite to provide a thorough, stimulating, and current text on treating a very challenging population of individuals with complex trauma....This is an important and highly relevant book, addressing a complex problem, organizing what empirical support there is for the many approaches which are currently utilized and expanded for this population. Even if you do not work with traumatized individuals, there is much to learn from this book. It can be therapeutically profitable. Well-written, it has an impressive list of contributors, and Ford has a hand in many of the chapters. This book is highly recommended and well-worth its asking price."--Child and Family Behavior Therapy
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About Julian Ford

Christine A. Courtois, PhD, ABPP, a board-certified counseling psychologist, is retired from private practice in Washington, DC, and is a consultant/trainer on topics on trauma psychology and treatment. She cofounded and then served for 16 years as Clinical and Training Director of The CENTER: Posttraumatic Disorders Program, in Washington, DC. Dr. Courtois was chair of the Clinical Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Adults for the American Psychological Association (APA), released in 2017, and for guidelines on the treatment of complex trauma for several professional organizations. She has published a number of books (four of them coedited or coauthored with Julian Ford) and numerous book chapters and articles on trauma-related topics. Dr. Courtois is past president of APA Division 56 (Trauma Psychology) and past founding Associate Editor of the Division's journal, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. She served two terms on the Board of Directors of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). She has received the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Independent Practice from the APA, the Sarah Haley Award for Clinical Excellence from ISTSS, and, most recently, the Award for Distinguished Service and Contributions to the Profession of Psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology.

Julian D. Ford, PhD, a clinical psychologist, is Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Law at the University of Connecticut, where he is also Director of the Center for Trauma Recovery and Juvenile Justice. He has served on the Steering Committee of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, as Associate Editor of the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation and the European Journal of Psychotraumatology, as Co-Chair of the Presidential Task Force on Child Trauma for APA Division 56, and as a board member and Vice President of ISTSS, and has published several other books on trauma-related topics. Dr. Ford developed and conducts research on the Trauma Affect Regulation: Guide for Education and Therapy (TARGET) psychosocial intervention for adolescents, adults, and families. Dr. Ford and Dr. Courtois were awarded the Print Media Award from ISSTD for this volume.
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Rating details

114 ratings
4.2 out of 5 stars
5 46% (52)
4 35% (40)
3 15% (17)
2 3% (3)
1 2% (2)
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