Many clients rely on spiritual beliefs and religious faith as a source of strength, and trauma can challenge such resources just when they are most required. Therefore, it is important that therapists know how to facilitate restoration of a client's faith system while incorporating it into the therapy to treat the trauma effectively.
The approach demonstrated in this video is integrative, combining elements of traditional trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy with spiritually oriented psychotherapy.
Spiritually oriented trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy has underlying treatment components that initially teach affect regulation before helping participants to identify links between non-trauma related cognitions, feelings, and behaviors. Trauma processing occurs by identifying and correcting trauma related cognitive distortions in a client narratives about trauma. It is important to initially assess the client's spirituality and religious beliefs at the outset of therapy and to, when appropriate, incorporate aspects of their faith during treatment.
In this video, Dr. Donald F. Walker demonstrates this approach with a young woman who was sexually assaulted and is now struggling with restoring her faith.
This video features a client portrayed by an actor on the basis of actual case material.
Donald F. Walker is a clinical psychologist specializing in treating trauma and in work with children and adolescents. He is the author of Spiritually Oriented Psychotherapy for Trauma and Spiritual Interventions in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy, both published by APA. He was a professor for nine years prior to recently entering private practice in the Virginia Beach, Virginia area.