College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Benefits of a Contextual Approach to Understanding and Treating Complex Trauma

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-11-2008

Keywords

Child Abuse, Trauma, Psychotherapy, Contextual Therapy, Family Environment

Publication Title

Journal of Trauma and Dissociation

ISSN

1529-9732

Volume

9

Issue/No.

2

Abstract

The conceptual framework and treatment rationale of contextual therapy are described. Contextual therapy was specifically fashioned for survivors of prolonged child abuse (PCA). It is grounded in the observation that contexts beyond abuse trauma, especially restrictions in psychological development stemming from growing up in an ineffective family environment, appreciably impact the adjustment of many PCA survivors. Contextual therapy proposes that remediation of developmental gaps commonly manifested by PCA survivors is essential to equip them to (a) benefit from rather than be debilitated by trauma processing and (b) move beyond symptom reduction to the attainment of adequate social and occupational functioning

DOI

10.1080/15299730802048819

Peer Reviewed

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