The 8 Session Model for Trauma Resolution & Connection to a New Life
Larry Beall, Ph.D.,
Trauma Awareness & Treatment Center
Session 1 - Intake assessment & psycho-education
The intake assessment instrument was written to identify the problems and symptoms commonly encountered with trauma clients. Problems such as sources of stress and medical problems, and symptoms that frequently form symptom clusters often associated with traumatic incidents are identified. It is important to identify symptoms of dissociation and administer the Dissociative Experience Scale if dissociative symptoms are present. Clients are reassured that their experiences and symptoms were common enough to go into an assessment used with trauma survivors like them. It is also helpful for the trauma survivor in the first session to receive a brochure that explains some of the basics of trauma. This brochure tends to inspire the reader with hope. Also included in Session 1, if there is sufficient time, is information about the psycho-biology of trauma and how to establish personal safety and grounding.
Session 2 - Client learns to develop and utilize inner resources and strengths.
When the power of the principle “The same strengths required to survive traumatic experiences can be used to overcome their effects,” was discovered, it became necessary to create a tool to help the client tap into those strengths usually acquired in childhood through early adulthood. The instrument “Discovering Personal Strengths,” was developed for that purpose. Another inner resource was discovered with the emergence of neuroplasticity in the 1990’s. These principles of neuro-plasticity (the brain is moldable and can change) have usefulness in the trauma field and can be incorporated into the psycho-education piece in the early stages of treatment. Clients enjoy learning about their brain. Additional material for Session 2 includes the Trauma Center’s Trauma Brochure (if not given in session 1), “Natural Serotonin,” “Self-assertiveness,” and chapters from the “Life Skills for Trauma Survivors Manual.”
Session 3 - “The Healing Journey” or Rapid Pain Release Session
This is the core or heart of the Eight Session Model. We have found it generally more effective to remove trauma pain rapidly early in treatment and then use other approaches like Bilateral Stimulation and Emotional Freedom Techniques afterwards. Clients usually report feeling lighter, freer, more hopeful, and more empowered after the completion of the Rapid Paid Release experience. Clients are also pleased to learn that they usually don’t have to go into the details of their trauma memories, nor re-experience the traumatic pain. Pain is removed indirectly and is less painful to deal with using this approach on a sub-personality level. Another aspect of the Rapid Pain Release is fostering client independence. The client is given a MP3 with the deep relaxation induction and the background sounds of a mountain meadow stream or the beach. This allows the client to practice on their own using the Rapid Pain Release system. The MP3 also helps them go to sleep, another common problem for the trauma survivor. It is at this stage we explore with the client if they have any reasons for not removing their pain. The handout “Reasons People Don’t Let Go of their Pain” is a useful tool for this purpose.
Sessions 4 - Review of the Rapid Pain Release Session or Healing Journey
Review with the client the specifics of her experience with Rapid Pain Release, going over each step of this experience: Child at the Tree, Packages of Pain, Rocks of Burden and Pain Transfer, Cabin with Parts (Sub-personalities), the Higher Self, and the Theater with Movie of the Future. There may be parts of this Healing Journey that need emphasis and a repeat or expanded experience. The client is taught how to do each step of the journey herself using the MP3 she was provided in the previous session. A method is given the client that allows her to explore how her history up to this point relates to the Healing Journey. It is recommended that two parts of the Healing Journey be emphasized so the client can do more of her own personal work more effectively. The first is Sub Personalities and the second the Higher Self. Papers are provided that go into detail about these two subjects, so the provider of services can have the necessary knowledge to help the client.
Session 5 - Removing the Remaining Trauma after the Rapid Pain Release. Acquiring Self-Maintenance & Life Skills (include EFT, Bilateral Stimulation, Breathing/Movement Exercises) In addition to the Rapid Pain Release, the client can resolve significant, specific traumatic events, such as an assault or violent acts that require focused treatment beyond what was accomplished with the Rapid Pain Release session. These individual events are resolved using EFT, Bilateral Stimulation, and visualization. Skills are taught that the client can use on her own after treatment is completed. These skills could be termed “Psychological First Aid,” or “Action Centered Coping.” Interpersonal issues continue to be emphasized using supplemental materials from Life Skills for Trauma Survivors. Expanded independent self-care skills are also provided in “A Treatment Approach that Fits Many Problems” (L. Beall, 2011)
Session 6 - Developing Stress Management, Pain Management, and Addiction Cessation Skills.
This session addresses the common problems of stress, chronic pain, and addictions. Principles of stress management are given. Failure to manage stress (internally and externally) is at the core of many of the problems that derail our efforts to change. This is especially the case when there is chronic pain or an addiction. If stress management skills are not learned, one problem is often exchanged for another, such as in one addiction for another, or what could be termed an addiction transfer. Self-relaxation, EFT and visualization are taught as basic tools for stress and pain management, and addiction reduction. A power-point presentation handout is provided regarding trauma and addiction. It should be noted that an important part of Session 6 is Increasing the Space between a stimulus and a response. The better able the client is to exert more of her choice in her responses the more she can control the outcomes in her life and improve her quality of living.
Session 7 - Life skills to Ensure Internal and External Safety
Life skills are those skills that are necessary to learn to successfully manage one’s
life and relationships with others. The skills emphasized are: how to have healthy relationships, deciding one’s roles and values in life, managing negative emotions, managing worry and anxiety, managing anger, and becoming a healthy sleeper. The client manual “Life Skills for Trauma Survivors” can be reviewed to determine what subjects have particular relevance at this time for the client. Principles of neuro-plasticity are provided that can be tailored to the individual client. At this state of the 8 Session Model the client can also bring up emotional issues that have not yet been addressed and the tools and strategies can be provided to help her manage her emotional/interpersonal challenges in the future.
Session 8 - Harnessing the powers of the Sub-Conscious to Solve Life’s Problems
A vital part of each of us is the Higher-Self or Inner Self-Helper. A paper has been provided that discusses how the client can learn to work with the Higher Self. The subconscious is also discussed and the client is taught how to use this part of her to change, reach goals, change habits, improve health, improve relationships, and generally improve the quality of her life. Any remaining areas that require attention are addressed utilizing these resources.