The Trauma Recovery Group

A Guide for Practitioners

Michaela Mendelsohn, Judith Lewis Herman, Emily Schatzow, Melissa Coco, Diya Kallivayalil, and Jocelyn Levitan

A Paperback Originale-bookprint + e-book
A Paperback Original
February 16, 2011
ISBN 9781609180577
Price: $39.00 $33.15
193 Pages
Size: 8" x 10½"
June 14, 2011
Price: $39.00 $33.15
193 Pages
print + e-book
A Paperback Original + e-Book (PDF) ?
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193 Pages
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Rich with expert, practical guidance for therapists, this book presents a time-limited group treatment approach for survivors of interpersonal trauma. The Trauma Recovery Group is a Stage 2 approach within Judith Herman's influential stage model of treatment. It is designed for clients who have achieved basic safety and stability in present-day life and who are ready to work on processing and integrating traumatic memories. Vivid case examples and transcripts illustrate the process of screening, selecting, and orienting group members and helping them craft and work toward individualized goals, while optimizing the healing power of group interactions. In a convenient large-size format, the book includes reproducible handouts, worksheets, and flyers.

See also Group Trauma Treatment in Early Recovery, by Judith Lewis Herman and Diya Kallivayalil, which presents a Stage 1 approach that focuses on establishing safety, stability, and self-care.

“This teaching manual is a well-written, easy-to-read, 'how-to' book on The Trauma Recovery Group (TRG)....This book is easy to read, thoughtfully written, and well organized and achieves its stated goals and objectives. The reader is not required to have previous knowledge and skills in group psychotherapy or interpersonal violence. I would highly recommend it to anyone considering starting a focused psychotherapy group....I congratulate the authors on writing an effective training manual for TRG and providing useful information and valuable tools for other group therapists.”

Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease

“Provides clinicians with a comprehensive theoretical, conceptual, and practical framework for facilitating trauma-informed groups, and with a step-by-step manual that guides the worker from intake and screening, through each group session, to termination....This workbook is written for clinicians by clinicians. It is an extremely accessible text, and is as much a guide to solid group work practice as it is anything....A stellar resource for social group workers who wish to facilitate trauma-informed groups. It combines a social action and social justice approach to psychodynamic group psychotherapy, and incorporates the skills and values of mutual aid. This book is equally at home on the shelves of mental health agencies that serve trauma survivors, as it is on the syllabi of MSW classes that teach about trauma and intimate partner violence. It is thorough, thoughtful, and arguable, on of the finest texts on trauma-informed practice that I have come across in recent memory.”

Social Work with Groups

“Written by expert clinicians and undisputed leaders in the field, this wonderful book provides a detailed description of the 'whys' and 'hows' of group treatment for trauma survivors. The authors' relational approach has a demonstrable empirical basis that sets a new standard for clinicians. The book is sure to produce a splash in psychology, psychiatry, and social work—and using it with clients will yield enduring benefits. If you do groups with trauma and abuse survivors, buy this book.”

—John Briere, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California

“This comprehensive resource adds significantly to the available resources on treatment for trauma, walking the therapist through the entire process of group-based exposure and trauma processing. The group format is especially important for the traumatized—it provides a context in which to give and receive support and feedback and to break the isolation and shame associated with trauma. Bravo for this exciting new treatment contribution!”

—Christine A. Courtois, PhD, ABPP, private practice (retired), Washington, DC; consultant and trainer, trauma psychology and treatment

“Presenting a well-known group treatment for trauma survivors, this book makes a substantial contribution. The goals and structure of the therapy are described in a clear and accessible way so that providers of various levels of experience can implement it. Sensitivity to the relational aspects of trauma recovery pervades the book and is evident in the careful attention to group interactions, elements of effective co-leadership, and the role of supervision. This principled, practical guide is steeped in clinical wisdom accumulated over years of experience. There is no false step in this book.”

—Marylene Cloitre, PhD, Associate Director of Research, National Center for PTSD Dissemination and Training Division; Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University

“A comprehensive, practical, evidence-based guide. This volume provides everything needed to successfully conduct the Trauma Recovery Group. The book is unique in combining theory, numerous clinical examples, outcome data, and reproducible forms for everything from advertisement to evaluation. The authors are respected, experienced clinicians whose scientific approach and clinical skills shine throughout the book. It's a trauma clinician's dream come true.”

—Elizabeth S. Bowman, MD, Adjunct Professor, Department of Neurology, Indiana University, and private practice in psychiatry

Table of Contents

1. Interpersonal Violence and Trauma Recovery

2. Overview of the Trauma Recovery Group

3. Initial Preparations and Member Screening

4. The Introductory Phase

5. Goal-Work Sessions

6. The Concluding Phase

7. Supervision

8. Adaptations and Applications

9. Outcome Research on the Trauma Recovery Group

Appendix A. Sample Recruitment Flyer for Clients

Appendix B. Sample Recruitment Flyer for Clinicians

Appendix C. Telephone Prescreening and Tracking Tool

Appendix D. Screening Interview Checklist

Appendix E.: Guide for Collateral Contact with the Client’s Individual Therapist

Appendix F. Trauma Recovery Group Guidelines

Appendix G. Co-leader’s Group Tracking Notes for Supervisory Meetings

Appendix H. Time-Taking Tracking Tool

Appendix I. Member’s Concluding Exercise Preparation

Appendix J. Supervisor's Tracking Tool

About the Authors

Michaela Mendelsohn, PhD, is a psychologist in private practice in Cambridge and Wellesley, Massachusetts. She is also a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Mendelsohn completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Victims of Violence (VOV) Program at the Cambridge Health Alliance, where she subsequently worked as a clinician and researcher and continues to provide supervision and consultation.

Judith Lewis Herman, MD, is Professor of Psychiatry (part-time) at Harvard Medical School. For 30 years, until she retired, she was Director of Training at the Victims of Violence Program at Cambridge Health Alliance. Her books include Group Trauma Treatment in Early Recovery, The Trauma Recovery Group, Father–Daughter Incest, and Trauma and Recovery. Dr. Herman is a recipient of lifetime achievement awards from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and from the Division of Trauma Psychology of the American Psychological Association. She has also received the Woman in Science Award from the American Medical Women's Association and has been named a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Emily Schatzow, MEd, is a psychotherapist in private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a trainer and senior consultant for VISIONS, Inc., a nonprofit organization advising public and private institutions on workplace diversity. She is also a Research Associate in Psychiatry at Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School.

Melissa Coco, LICSW, is a senior clinician and supervisor at the VOV Program and the Outpatient Psychiatry Department at the Cambridge Health Alliance and a faculty member in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Diya Kallivayalil, PhD, is a staff psychologist in the Outpatient Psychiatry Department at the Cambridge Health Alliance and a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Jocelyn Levitan, MA, is a doctoral student in the Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a former Research Coordinator at the VOV Program.


Clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, and counselors.

Special package offer: Group Trauma Treatment in Early Recovery: Promoting Safety and Self-Care presents a Stage 1 approach and The Trauma Recovery Group: A Guide for Practitioners presents a Stage 2 approach within Judith Herman's influential stage model of treatment.

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