Christine A. Courtois, PhD, ABPP
Dr. Courtois specializes in the treatment of trauma, particularly for adults experiencing the effects of childhood incest and other forms of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.
Dr. Courtois has worked with these issues for 30 years and has developed treatment approaches for complex posttraumatic and dissociative conditions for which she has received international recognition.
She offers integrative and evidence-based relational treatments for clients and consultation for loved ones that involve respect, information, and hope to counter the effects of trauma and abuse.
Her most recent books are It’s Not You, It’s What Happened to You: Complex Trauma and Treatment
Christine A. Courtois, and Spiritually Oriented Psychotherapy for Trauma, edited along with Donald Walker and Jamie Aten.
First do no more harm
What Led to the Specialization of Trauma?
Chris shares an early experience when she was at the University of Maryland studying to get into the field of college administration. However, while she was there a series of sexual assaults took place which shifted her trajectory and would lead to her interest and specialization in the field of trauma therapy.
A Crucial Early Mistake
Chris shares two classifications of mistakes she has made. The first has to do with the tendency to be over-involved with a client and adopting the feeling of needing to rescue a client. The second has to do with not developing good boundaries. Chris shares a time when she agreed to take numerous calls from a client during the week as well as arranged to see a particular client several times over the week as well. Chris talks openly about how both of these two types of mistakes interfered with what she would now call better trauma-informed therapy.
Because we’re making a difference. And, so that new therapists don’t make the same mistakes that we did.
- Get training in trauma-informed practices. For example, through the ISSTS,ISSTD, or the University of Maryland, or the Trauma Center in Boston.
- Be Curious. Do a lot of reading.
- Don’t do this work alone! Get a support system; find a group of other therapists to work with; get consultation.
Chris’ Go-To Books
- Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence–from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror, Judith Herman
- Psychological Trauma, Bessel van der Kolk
- Chris’ Website
- List of Articles and Chapters
- Department of Social Work, U of M, Baltimore
- Trauma Center, Boston MA
- Spiritually Oriented Psychotherapy for Trauma, by Donald F. Walker and Christine A. Courtois
- Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders in Children and Adolescents: Scientific Foundations and Therapeutic Models, by Julian D. Ford PhD and Christine A. Courtois PhD