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“The explanation of the 12 STEP units was clear and interesting. Dr. Walker is a confident, relaxed speaker who was easy to listen to and ask questions if needed. Her PPT was helpful in following her ideas.”-Lynda B., Licensed Professional Counselor, Arizona
Survivors of domestic violence have many psychological effects similar to other trauma victim/survivors, particularly those who have experienced gender-based violence such as sexual assault, rape, sexual exploitation, trafficking, and child sexual abuse. Although many different types of psychotherapy and other interventions have been described in the literature, the consensus is that trauma-specific treatment has the best efficacy in helping victims become survivors with new resilience. Using an evidence-based, trauma-specific treatment program, the Survivor Therapy Empowerment Program (STEP-2) helps move victims to a survivor status with a tripartite program. The three areas are psychoeducation to assist in the understanding of the various trauma responses, a period of discussion where the impact of these trauma responses are understood from an individual perspective, and a skill-building period where new skills are learned and old skills reinforced. The transparent intervention program has 12 units that can be broken down into smaller sessions if necessary. Goals are negotiated with the clients as part of modeling the empowerment process necessary to heal from trauma. Rebuilding lost resilience is included as a part of healing from PTSD.
Topics include safety planning, relaxation training, cognitive restructuring faulty cognitions, boundaries and assertiveness, cycle of violence, trauma and PTSD, numbing behaviors and substance abuse, attachment and emotional re-regulation, impact of domestic violence on children, dealing with legal issues, grieving and letting go of old relationships, and building wellness and resilience. Each STEP can be used in a group or individually, in sequence or using each unit as its own stand alone section.