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Fisher, J. (2017). Twenty-five Years of Trauma Treatment: What Have We Learned?. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 11(3):273-289.

(2017). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 11(3):273-289

Twenty-five Years of Trauma Treatment: What Have We Learned?

Janina Fisher, Ph.D.

The concept that traumatic events and subsequent traumatic stress are central to many types of psychological symptoms and difficulties is a relatively new idea in the mental health field. Post-traumatic stress disorder was not included as a condition in any diagnostic system until the DSM-III was published in 1980 (APA, 1980). Over the years, the development of treatment models that could address the consequences of trauma and traumatic attachment, rather than simply the events, has been steadily growing. The advent of brain scan technology and its effect on neuroscience research finally allowed researchers to explain the puzzling and long-lasting effects of traumatic experience. The field of traumatology has grown beyond the early focus on narration of traumatic events to treatment methods informed by an understanding of how overwhelming events and frightened or frightening caregiving leave a legacy of animal defence survival responses that often persist for decades. Incorporating the newer body-oriented and mindfulness-based approaches into the treatment can increase the effectiveness of relational models of psychotherapy with traumatised patients.

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