Proposed therapy algorithm for trauma sufferers (Mervin Smucker 2015)
August 7, 2015
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Contending that no empirically-supported CBT treatment is appropriate for all types of traumas and trauma characteristics, Smucker and colleagues (2003) advanced an individualized trauma algorithm treatment model that offers therapists empirically-based guidelines for determining which specific interventions are best suited for a particular individual’s trauma characteristics and symptoms. As part of their model, an initial assessment is conducted of the individual’s specific trauma characteristics, from which a determination is made whether therapy should begin with stabilization or trauma-processing interventions. A further component of their trauma assessment focuses on identifying an individual’s predominant trauma-related emotion(s), which, in turn, influences which specific trauma-processing interventions are implemented. The authors propose that when fear is the predominant emotion and avoidance the primary coping strategy, exposure (imaginal and/or in vivo exposure) may be indicated, whereas when non-fear emotions are predominant, therapy may begin with cognitive restructuring interventions.