Throwback Thursday: Treating Anorexia

I’m introducing another new series at Treating Trauma: Throwback Thursday. However, I’m going to deviate a bit from the common Throwback Thursday (or #TBT) usage to share older posts of mine.

It is amazing what can accumulate in five years of blogging! Older content is hard to access on this site and I truly believe that part of trauma therapy is revisiting key concepts over and over. Stay tuned  for repeats from the Treating Trauma archives on Thursdays and if you have any special requests for topics let me know and I’ll see what I’ve got.

How appropriate to kick this series off by revisiting one of my first posts, a  throwback of its own. Here is an internet chat-based interview of mine on treating anorexia. As an added bonus, it actually does included a dated picture of me in classic #TBT fashion.

Treating Anorexia: The Recovery Process

The internet is an amazing archive! I stumbled upon this online conference transcript from 5 or so years ago. Though the picture of me and my website information is quite dated, the information remains very relevant.

Read more here



Posted in Anorexia, Eating Disorders, Health, Mental Health, Psychologist, Therapy, Trauma, Tucson | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dissociative Disorders and DSM-5

DSM 5Since I started writing about dissociation with a plan to explain the different forms of dissociative disorders, our way of understanding them has changed. Or at least our way of characterizing them in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) has changed.

Previously, four main categories of dissociative disorders were identified in the DSM-IV-R: Dissociative Amnesia, Dissociative Fugue, Dissociative Identity Disorder, and Depersonalization Disorder. Those who did not meet all the criteria for one of those four could be diagnosed with Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

Changes regarding the diagnosing of dissociative disorders in the  DSM-5 include the following:

  1. Derealization is included in the name and symptom structure of what previously was called depersonalization disorder and is now called depersonalization/derealization disorder.
  2. Dissociative fugue is now a specifier of dissociative amnesia rather than a separate diagnosis.
  3. The criteria for dissociative identity disorder have been changed to indicate that symptoms of disruption of identity may be reported by the client as well as observed by the clinician, and that gaps in the recall of events may occur for everyday and not just traumatic events. Also, experiences of pathological possession in some cultures are included in the description of identity disruption.
  4. Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified is now referred to as Other Specified Dissociative Disorder
  5. A diagnosis of Unspecified Dissociative Disorder has been added.

Are you familiar with these changes? Do they make sense? Further our understanding or improve treatment? Let me know what you think!

Posted in Dissociation, Psychologist, Trauma | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Mindful Monday: Love

Mindful Monday: LoveLove took me surprise one day while hiking up a hill. Someone created this reminder for all who looked down below. Unexpected love in the middle of the (seemingly) empty desert. Definitely a mindful moment!

It also reminded me of this series I wrote on self-love and trauma:

Shame and Self-Blame After Trauma

Overcoming Negative Self-Talk

What’s Love Got To Do With It? Self-Love and Healing

Learning to Love Yourself After Trauma

Learning to Love Myself ~The Beauty in the Broken

Love Yourself with Gentleness and Compassion

Overcoming Shame through Connection

Self-Care and Trauma Survivors

Does Self-Care Mean Others Don’t?

Self-Care of Your Multiple Selves

Self-Care and Child Parts


Posted in Childhood Abuse, Dissociation, Health, Mental Health, Psychologist, Therapy, Trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mindful Monday

I thought I’d try something a little different here, as part of my ongoing desire to blog more frequently. I considered titling this series “Wordless Wednesdays” because I especially want to share evocative images with you. I find at times in trauma therapy that words fail us, or we need to step outside of the traditional form of communicating about and processing therapy. However, knowing me, I just don’t think I could do away with words altogether! So I chose another day to make my alliterative title plan work and named this series “Mindful”.

As Treating Trauma has developed over the years, I’ve come to appreciate what an important role mindfulness can play in trauma therapy and in all our lives. Finding a way, even for a moment, to be present with what is, in this moment, can have transformative, healing power.

So my plan is to share some things with you each Monday: a photo, an image, a quote, a poem. I may say a bit about them, too. Mindful MondayMany people turn to nature to practice mindfulness. Tucson is full of many unique forms of nature which often include vivid sunsets and sunrises. Watching a sunset like this reminds me of the possibility of the spectacular in any moment, and of its fleeting nature. Mindfulness encourages an awareness that everything passes: we can be with what is and gently make room for the next thing to come.

I hope you enjoy this new series and as always I welcome your thoughts!

Posted in Health, Mental Health, Mindfulness, Relaxation, Self-care, Trauma, Tucson | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Breaking Silence: Talking about Trauma

Breaking SIlence: Talking About TraumaHave you heard any of the following: break the silence, stop the silence, speak out? In activist and healing circles, survivors are often encouraged to talk about their traumatic experiences. Why is this the case?  Should you talk about your abuse?

As is so often the case in healing, it is a matter of when, how and to whom.

Some survivors have spent years keeping their abuse secret, or they have disclosed to someone who responded poorly, perhaps expressing disbelief or victim blaming. Not telling anyone about your abuse can be a form of avoidance coping.  Avoidance can worsen post traumatic symptoms in the long run. It can even prevent you from fully understanding your experience.

Some trauma survivors may go to the other extreme and feel compelled to tell their story indiscriminately. This form of talking is often somewhat dissociative in nature, and does not reap the healing benefits that come from processing trauma.  Some survivors are not able to make healthy decisions about who to tell or anticipate what the consequences of telling might be, possibly resulting in retraumatization. I work with clients in therapy on developing the idea of zones of closeness, from your most trusted inner circle to acquaintances or co-workers on the outer edge. This included learning to make decisions about who deserves  inner circle status!  While it might be a very positive experience to share details of your trauma history with your closest friends or support people, can you see how it might be different with a co-worker or a neighbor?

Timing matters too. Do you lead with all your most vulnerable information at the start of a friendship, or do you share a bit over time, assessing the other’s reactions, trust worthiness and ability to be emotionally present with you? Do you notice whether the other shares personally with you as well?

How does disclosure work online? Blogging, survivor forums, and social media can all be powerful ways for survivors to educate themselves, receive validation, and find support. Some survivors choose to disclose specifics of trauma online while others do not. I think what is crucial is that you have an understanding of your intent, the impact of sharing on you (and others). Ask yourself, is this contributing to my healing or not? When sharing sensitive material online it is always important to remember how public it is. Would you feel okay if your anonymous identity was compromised? Could what you are writing pose any kind of safety risk to you?

Early on in your healing journey, perhaps journaling online privately or even on paper might work best.  For many trauma survivors  writing about traumatic material is easier than speaking at some phases of therapy.

For survivors with dissociative disorders internal consensus is also important. Do you know how all parts of you feel about you disclosing traumatic experiences? Can you communicate about that in advance or will there be surprises and retaliation in store?

As with so many things in trauma therapy and life in general, it is all about balance. Either extreme, never telling anyone or telling indiscriminately, could adversely impact your ability to heal. Talking about trauma is part of the recovery process. It can decrease shame, help you challenge irrational beliefs, and reduce post traumatic stress symptoms. Outside of therapy, learning how to share your abuse history and with whom is one aspect of  developing healthy, authentic relationships. When we share that which feels vulnerable, we form deeper connections.

Posted in Abuse, Childhood Abuse, Dissociation, Health, Mental Health, Psychologist, Sexual Abuse, Therapy, Trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments