Auckland PSITM  Institute                                                       

Psychotherapy for the Whole Person  Training and Supervision for Healers 



                                                           TELEPHONE OR ONLINE CONSULTATION/SUPERVISION

PSI Institute

 Phone: 027 657 2106 











PSI Institute

254 Lincoln Road



New Zealand 



 +64 (0)27 657 2106





Effective Treatment Approaches to Healing for Survivors of Trauma and Childhood Abuse

 Below are three approaches that have been shown to be effective with survivors of adult trauma and childhood physical, sexual, and emotional or psychological abuse, plus a link to another page I wrote on effective 
approaches for those suffering from the effects of "poor affect regulation",  commonly caused by emotional neglect or the unavailability of reliable soothing in early childhood.  I only list those methods that I have personally learned and tried and observed to be effective, and the reasons  if known) that they work. The affect regulation treatment approaches are also useful with survivors of trauma and/or childhood abuse, but are  described on a separate page as they are helpful on a broader and less specific basis.

PLEASE NOTE: The techniques described below have been integrated into PSITM , an overall approach in working with trauma and abuse survivors.  PSITM is described here in more detail.

1. Link to: EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
2.Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

3. Ego State Therapy

Link to: Effective Treatment Approaches to Healing Problems Related to Poor Affect Regulation

1. EMDR (evidence-based effective)
founder: Francine Shapiro

What is EMDR?

         EMDR is an information processing therapy that uses an eight phase approach. During EMDR1 the client attends to past and present experiences in brief sequential doses while simultaneously focusing on an external stimulus. Then the client is instructed to let new material become the focus of the next set of dual attention. This sequence of dual attention and personal association is repeated many times in the session.

Eight Phases of Treatment

        The first phase is a history taking session during which the therapist assesses the client's readiness for EMDR and develops a treatment plan. Client and therapist identify possible targets for EMDR processing. These include recent distressing events, current situations that elicit emotional disturbance, related historical incidents, and the development of specific skills and behaviors that will be needed by the client in future situations.

        During the second phase of treatment, the therapist ensures that the client has adequate methods of handling emotional distress and good coping skills, and that the client is in a relatively stable state. If further stabilization is required, or if additional skills are needed, therapy focuses on providing these. The client is then able to use stress reducing techniques whenever necessary, during or between sessions....

        In phase three through six, a target is identified and processed using EMDR procedures. These involve the client identifying the most vivid visual image related to the memory (if available), a negative belief about self, related emotions and body sensations. The client also identifies a preferred positive belief. The validity of the positive belief is rated, as is the intensity of the negative emotions....

            In phase seven, closure, the therapist asks the client to keep a journal during the week to document any related material that may arise and reminds the client of the self-calming activities that were mastered in phase two.

        The next session begins with phase eight, re-evaluation of the previous work, and of progress since the previous session.... (for more details go to

1Shapiro, F. (2001). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: Basic Principles, Protocols and Procedures (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.

2Shapiro, F. (2002). EMDR as an Integrative Psychotherapy Approach: Experts of Diverse Orientations Explore the Paradigm Prism. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Books.

Copyright 2004, EMDR Institute, Inc

Also see: All About EMDR  by Shirley Jean Schmidt


2. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: (Anecdotal)    Founder: Pat Ogden

History of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy

        In the 1970's, Pat Ogden became interested in the correlation between her patients' disconnection from their bodies, their physical patterns and their psychological issues. As both a psychotherapist and body therapist, she was inspired to join somatic therapy and therapy into a comprehensive method for healing this disconnection. SPI offered its first course in the early 1980's under the name Hakomi Bodywork. Influenced by leaders such as Bessel van der Kolk, Emilie Conrad, Peter Levine, Peter Melchior, Allan Schore, Ken Wilber, Onno van der Hart, Ellert Nijenhuis, Kathy Steele, Stephen Porges, and Martha Stark, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy draws from somatic therapies, neuroscience, attachment theory, and cognitive approaches, as well as from the Hakomi Method, a gentle psychotherapeutic approach pioneered by Ron Kurtz. ( SPI conducts trainings throughout the world, and has gained international acclaim over the past twenty years.

        Sensorimotor Psychotherapy integrates both cognitive and somatic methods in the treatment of trauma, attachment, and developmental issues. It is taught internationally to psychotherapists and allied professionals who want to include somatic interventions in their clinical work.


3. Ego State Therapy

Ego State Therapy

Founders: John and Helen Watkins

The concept of segmentation of personality into discreet parts of self has been around for many years, but has only recently been validated scientifically by new brain scanning technologies. These technologies, by measuring blood flow patterns in the brain, demonstrate how ego states form around neural clusters that fire together repeatedly (and therefore "wire together").  Such neural nets form the basis for most implicit learning - such as learning how to ride a bicycle - a skill that improves and eventually "clicks" as the neurons, which fire together in the same pattern whenever riding is practiced, form a network with a particular skill set. When such a neural net forms in the context of a relationship, it will develop a unique point of view and way of behaving.

Ego states exist as a collection of perceptions, cognitions and emotions in organised clusters. An ego state may be defined as an organized system of behaviour and experience, whose elements are bound together by a common principle. Ego states may also vary in volume. A larger ego state may include all the various behaviours activated in one's occupation, whereas a smaller ego state might be formed around a simple action, such as using a mobile phone. They may encompass current modes of behavior and experiences or include many memories, postures, feelings, etc that were learned at an earlier age.

The human mind is a collective "family of self" within a single individual. How well these "family" members get along, and how effectively they cooperate can vary considerably from individual to individual.  This segmentation has been called many names over the years, depending upon which psychological theory is being used. In Freudian language we are all divided into Ego, Id and Superego; Jungians refer to "complexes" which are described almost identically to ego states; Transactional Analysts talk about the internal Parent, Adult and Child; and Psychosynthesis refers to "sub-personalities." Ego states exist on a continuum of separateness, with the most extreme dividedness being caused by the most extreme early relational trauma. Although everyone has ego states, those states formed in response to loving supportive experiences do not tend to require psychotherapeutic intervention. When ego states are more split off and engage in internal battles, Ego State Therapy can be employed to help resolve some of these conflicts, often using techniques found in conflict resolution, group or family therapy, to enable a kind of internal diplomacy. This approach has demonstrated that complex psychodynamic problems can often be resolved in a much shorter period than with analytic therapies.


 Also link to:   Effective Treatment Approaches for Poor Affect Regulation, Imaginal Nurturing,  DNMS, Best Foot ForwardOvercoming Powerlessness;  Sharing Power in the Family; Fat, Thin and Power;  Trauma Survivors Treatment; Self Empowerment for Women,  Improving Body ImageThe Diet/Binge/Purge Cycles,  Techniques for Treating Eating Problems


254 Lincoln Road, Henderson, Auckland, New Zealand.       E-mail:       Phone +64 (0)27 657 2106