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Dr. Colin Ross is an internationally renowned clinician, researcher, author and lecturer in the field of dissociation and trauma-related disorders as well as past President of theInternational Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD).

He is the founder and President of the Colin A. Ross Institute for Psychological Trauma.

Dr. Ross obtained his M.D. from the University of Alberta in 1981 and has been running a hospital-based Trauma Program in Dallas, Texas since 1991.

The Quote

It’s not about what’s wrong with you, it’s about what’s happened to you.

What Led to the Specialization of Trauma?

Dr. Ross shares his experience of growing up in Canada, realizing he wanted to get into psychiatry at the age of 4, being a high school drop-out until the age of 24 and then getting into medical school. It was there that he realized the importance of the above quote–that so much of how individuals were treated was contingent on the perspective of the treating clinician. This lead Dr. Ross to ask a different question of his clients during his training: What was it like when you were growing up? Dr. Ross soon found out that a large percentage of the people he was seeing had trauma backgrounds which inspired him to do something to help these individuals.

A Crucial Early Mistake

Dr. Ross talks about what he considers to be a basic, beginner mistake he made, which was to get too emotionally involved with one of his earliest clients, in other words, becoming too affected by the course of the client’s treatment and buying-in too much to the client’s memories.

Colin’s Why

This work is awe-inspiring! Dr. Ross talks about how he’s continually inspired by the fact that in this field people make amazing recoveries.

Colin’s Advice

  • Make sure you’re truly interested in doing this kind of work because the field of trauma is a commitment.
  • Don’t buy-in to the propaganda of what the causes of mental illness are, what the popular interventions are. Become an informed clinician.
  • You have to join a professional organization; read the literature; get certified in trauma related therapies, and get supervision.
  • Get a life! Take care of yourself.

Colin’s Go-To Books

Interview Links

Guy Macpherson, PhD. The Trauma Therapist Live!: Authenticity & The Trauma Therapist
Charles Figley, Ph.D.

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