chapter  1
A Non-Pathologizing Approach to Trauma Treatment
WithJoanne Zucchetto, Simone Jacobs, Ly Vick Johnson
Pages 18

In this chapter, we explore looking at the symptoms clients present in our offices as a language they developed in their childhood to survive emotional, sexual, and physical abuse and neglect. This perspective shifts the focus of the therapy from primarily symptom reduction to having the client begin to understand that the self-harm, the drug use, the eating disorders, the mood swings, the traumatic memories, the forgetting memories, the nightmares, and the relationship chaos are the result of their having been a small child who was hurt, afraid, betrayed, and alone. And that these behaviors (now diagnosed as PTSD, Dissociative Disorders, Substance Abuse, Anxiety Disorders, Depressive Disorders, etc.) were instrumental in distracting them from the reality of their childhood treatment. We talk about attachment theory – which forms the basis for attachment trauma, psychoanalytic theory – which proposed how defenses are necessary to maintain ego stability as well as cognitive behavioral and dialectic behavioral which underlie containment strategies. The stage-oriented treatment model is discussed, and a case made for giving context/meaning to the symptoms in Stage One in order to normalize and de-pathologize current behaviors.