We are excited to share the newly released on-demand video training by Dr. Scott Giacomucci, Addiction & Trauma: A Psychodramatic Approach, hosted by the new Action Explorations Education online education platform.
This course involves a lecture on the intersection of addiction and trauma as they related to the basics of psychodrama psychotherapy. A 1-1 individual psychodrama session is demonstrated via telehealth with a focus of strength-based roles for recovery. After the psychodrama demonstration, the demo is processed and analyzed with additional insights.
Post traumatic growth (PTG) is the phenomenon of growing after trauma or hardship.
This idea is depicted throughout literature, history, religion, legends, and philosophy. It is certainly not a new idea, though the term “post traumatic growth” and the study of it are new. The fact that growth often occurs as a direct result of difficulties, losses, traumas, and changes is evidenced throughout time. One might even argue that all of our personal strengths are a result of surviving and finding our way through difficulties, struggles, and hardships.
A traumatic experience is one that overwhelms our ability to cope and process. One event may be traumatic for one person and not traumatic for another person – it is a subjective experience. An inclusive definition of trauma includes violence, abuse, death/loss, neglect, abandonment, collective trauma, discrimination based on identity, and witnessing trauma. Post-traumatic stress (and PTSD) is characterized by avoidance, numbing, hyperarousal, hypervigilance, dissociation, reexperiencing (flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive images, etc), and negative thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. Many trauma survivors experience aspects of post-traumatic growth and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder at the same time.
About 25% of adults that experience a traumatic event will develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). However, because of the increased vulnerability of children, childhood trauma is even more impactful resulting in 50% of children developing PTSD symptoms after a traumatic experience. At the same time, Post-Traumatic Growth research found that over 65% of trauma survivors report some type of growth after trauma.
After surviving a traumatic event, you are significantly more likely to experience post-traumatic growth than post-traumatic stress disorder.
Five Common Areas of Post-Traumatic Growth
The literature on post traumatic growth demonstrates five distinct areas that trauma survivors identify as common domains of growth. The five domains of post traumatic growth are:
A new sense of opportunities after trauma
Trauma and loss shake us to our core and challenge us in ways that we might not have imagined as possible. As a result, many survivors begin to see new possibilities in life and the opening of new doors of opportunity.
New value in relationships
The process of coping with trauma requires relationships – friends, family, therapists, support groups, etc. As humans, we are neurobiologically wired to regulate our emotions through relationships. The experience of utilizing support after trauma increases these connections and helps us remember how important they are.
New sense of personal strength
Surviving trauma and asking for help to cope with its aftermath requires incredible strength. Trauma survivors demonstrate extraordinary courage, resilience, vulnerability, trust, hope, and compassion, among other strengths. When an overwhelming event forces us to utilize all the strengths we have (and often develop new ones), we are much more aware of them going forward. “If I survived that trauma, I can survive anything”
Greater appreciation for life
Trauma, by its nature, threatens our safety, security, and often our lives. Trauma and loss remind us how precious life is and how fragile it can be. It has the ability to help us see the big picture and reconsider our priorities in life.
Deepening of spiritual/religious views
Because trauma is so often experienced through relationships and involving other human beings, many trauma survivors turn to spirituality or religion for strength, hope, and inspiration. Trauma is an existential crisis that challenges us to make sense of it, often through spiritual, religious, or existential belief systems.
These five domains of post-traumatic growth are sometimes simplified further into three categories: 1) Quality of Life, 2) Perception of self, & 3) Experience of relationships and others
Examples of Post Traumatic Growth
Examples of post traumatic growth exist all around you – and in your own life story. Chances are that you have grown in some way after a difficult experience in your life. Some common examples of post traumatic growth include: valuing relationships more after death; appreciating life more after working through a hardship; helping others that are experiencing something you went through previously; positively changing your perception of yourself after getting through a difficult time; creating change and new possibilities in your life after trauma; starting your own support group; creating changes in your community after a painful experience; advocating for policy changes and social change; etc.
Examples and metaphors of post traumatic growth even exist in nature: the extraordinary pressure that creates diamonds; an irritant in an oyster creates a pearl; volcanos that create new islands; forest fires that give way to new growth; stars in the darkness; sunrise after the dark night; and even plants growing from manure and dirt!
Post-traumatic growth is also something that professionals experience as a direct result of vicarious trauma and working with trauma survivors. For more info an vicarious post-traumatic growth, visit this link – https://www.phoenixtraumacenter.com/vicarious-post-traumatic-growth/
We also offer various free community groups and workshops led by interns and therapists. Note that these are not therapy groups but instead are community groups focused on peer support, education, and personal growth.
Furthermore, we offer a variety of services for professionals including:
By Dr. Scott Giacomucci, DSW, LCSW, BCD, FAAETS, PAT
Published by APA Div 49, The Group Psychologist
“Recent findings have challenged trauma therapists to consider alternative and adjunctive approaches to talk therapy and cognitive approaches. At the same time, these new findings serve to validate experiential philosophy, theories, and approaches that Jacob Moreno proposed decades prior.”
The Phoenix Trauma Center’s mission is to provide quality services to our clients and high quality education for professionals. We are invested in training the best experiential trauma therapists in the field. Our internship program allows us to fulfill both parts of our mission while also providing financially accessible services. We receive a dozen or two internship requests each year and carefully choose graduate-level interns that already have experience, training, or other advanced knowledge related to our work. You can trust that you will experience excellent quality clinical services provided by Phoenix Trauma Center interns.
Our interns receive regular training and weekly supervision from our director Dr. Scott Giacomucci, DSW, LCSW, BCD, FAAETS, PAT. Interns also receive weekly supervision from an additional therapist at the Phoenix Center – in addition to supervision provided by their university program (professors and field placement liaison). They participate in regular trainings and professional development to increase their understanding and expertise of trauma. Our interns support our therapists co-leading psychotherapy groups and are engaged in leading their own free or low-cost community groups.
Intern’s sessions start at $75 (with a very flexible sliding scale) Contact us to secure your spot – Support@PhoenixTraumaCenter.com 484-440-9416
It is also important to note that our interns are only with us for about a year and may or may not stay with us upon graduate. This means that your intern therapist may need to end sessions with you when they graduate and/or you may need to begin working with a different intern at that time.
Benefits of Working with an Intern
As noted, by our friends at Spilove Psychotherapy, there are many benefits to working with a graduate intern which include lower-costs, receiving the expertise of multiple supervising therapists, the benefits of ‘beginner’s mind’, increased passion, and up-to-date practice standards.
Lower-Cost Therapy Sessions – Our interns are all masters-level students towards the end of their programs and getting ready to enter the field. Nevertheless, their session fees are half or one-third of what other therapists charge; and they can be very flexible with their sliding scales.
Receiving the Expertise of Multiple Supervising Therapists – All interns are receiving supervision, training, teaching, and oversight from multiple experienced therapists. This includes weekly supervision with Phoenix Center’s director and another therapists from our center – as well as oversight and/or teaching from multiple professors and a field placement liaison from their university graduate program. Most interns are actively engaged in more reflection, training, supervision, and professional development than other professionals who have already graduated. This means that your intern therapist is spending hours each week reading, writing, reflecting, discussing, and reviewing their work – actively trying to be the best that they can be.
The Benefits of ‘Beginner’s Mind’ – Though many of our intern therapists have experience in the mental health field already or have years of experience in another field, they are starting a new chapter in their professional journey and becoming a therapist. Interns are just starting out so they aren’t just going through the motions of being a therapist. Interns are exploding with curiosity, excitement, passion, and creativity!
Increased Passion and Energy – Interns aren’t weighted down by years of vicarious trauma or burnout that sometimes impact experienced therapists. Instead, intern therapists are bringing new energy, spontaneity, and passion into their work each day. They are excited to begin a new career that they have been preparing for and eager to offer the compassion, connection, and validation that you might be craving.
State-of-the-Art Practice Standards – Graduate students are actively engaged in intense learning through reading, discussions, reflection, and supervised practice. Our field is evolving rapidly (especially with new research findings related to trauma and the brain). Most therapists in PA are only required to completed 15 hours of continuing education each year which simply isn’t enough to stay current on all the new findings in the field. Graduate students however, are learning state-of-the-art practice standards. Intern therapists are enter the field while continuing to pursue rigorous studies providing current information about the practice of psychotherapy.
Are you interested in interning at the Phoenix Center?
Our interns are able to provide quality service at a low cost. This is an opportunity to grow together! Our center understands the need for quality services and the financial difficulties some may have accessing services. Our internship program allow us to bring our clients low-cost trauma therapy services.
Please note, this is a very competitive internship program accepting final-year graduate students only. We are receiving an increased number of internship requests each year. Those with prior training and experience in experiential therapy, trauma therapy, and personal growth work will be given priority. Furthermore, we will prioritize interns who share our goal of making quality trauma therapy services accessible to diverse communities.
We strongly encourage Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, and bilingual people to apply.
To apply for an internship placement, send the following to Scott@PhoenixTraumaCenter.com:
Include all related experience/training in trauma, addictions, and experiential work
Cover letter detailing how your interests align with our work
2 professional references who would be familiar with your work (1 must be from a field supervisor)
This video offers an introduction to trauma-informed principles and why they are important for all organizations. The difference between “trauma-informed” and “trauma-focused” is outlined while commenting on trends in the mental health treatment field. Leaders, supervisors, professionals, students, and others interested in learning about trauma will find this video helpful.
This video offers a basic introduction to trauma and traumatic experiences. Trauma is defined and explained including the different types of trauma. Professionals, students, and others interested in learning about trauma will find this video helpful.
This open access book outlines the intersections between social work and the methods of sociometry and psychodrama. Different sections offer essential practice wisdom for both trauma-focused and trauma-informed experiential work for individuals, groups, organizations, and communities. This text enriches the understanding of various action-based approaches and highlights how to enliven social work practice. The chapters include clinical vignettes and examples of structured sociometric prompts with diverse populations, topics, and social work settings to enhance the understanding of group practice, individual practice, and community practice. It provides social workers and other professionals with dynamic tools to improve assessment, intervention, activism, and leadership. Strength-based practical tools are offered to readers, along with guidance for theoretical conceptualizations. This integrative book is an essential read for students, practitioners, leaders, and scholars within the fields of social work, psychodrama, the creative art therapies, group therapy, community organizing, and social activism.
The book content also includes vignettes and examples from drawn from Scott’s work at the Phoenix Center providing clinical services, supervision, and training. In its first week of publication, the book reached the #1 New Release spot on Amazon in the category of Medical Psychology Research and the free eBook was downloaded over 21,000 times!
Published as the first book in a new international book series: Psychodrama in Counselling, Coaching, and Education
This video depicts the use of the Circle of Strengths which is an experiential group work tool adaptable for any group setting, any population, and any topic. The Circle of Strengths was developed by Kate Hudgins & Francesca Toscani as part of the Therapeutic Spiral Model. It is particularly useful as a strengths-based group-as-a-whole process for establishing safety and is frequently used by psychodramatists, community organizers, and other group workers. The Circle of Strengths is an action-based group tool that accesses the power of the group and cultivates mutual aid – the ability for each participant to be a therapeutic agent for each other.
This video depicts the use of the Locogram and Floor Check which are experiential group work tools adaptable for any group setting, any population, and any topic. Floor Checks were developed by Tian Dayton as part of the Relational Trauma Repair Model. They are particularly useful as a group-as-a-whole assessment tool and are frequently used by psychodramatists, community organizers, and other group workers. Floor Checks are an action-based group tool that access the power of the group and cultivate mutual aid – the ability for each participant to be a therapeutic agent for each other.