Psychotherapy for Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders
My Name is Kaely Ferrara. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. I have extensive experience in working with individuals, couples, families and groups of individuals who have been affected by trauma.
I completed my undergraduate education in Clinical Social Work and Cultural Anthropology at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Upon graduating, I attended Fordham University in New York City where I received my Masters in Clinical Social Work. Several years after graduating, I became interested in the ways in which behavior manifests, what drives people to change their behavior, and how to use scientific measures to track whether true behavior change is occurring. I went on to complete post graduate education through the University of North Texas where I became board certified as a Behavior Analyst.
I have worked with a variety of populations including individuals struggling with homelessness, individuals and families who have been affected by addiction and chronic mental illness, parents of children diagnosed with autism, police officers, veterans, couples who are working through issues regarding domestic violence or infidelity, and individuals who have experienced chronic child abuse. I have worked with individuals affected by trauma for over 10 years.
Part of developing a strong and successful therapeutic relationship involves figuring out what style and approach you are looking for. Some clients prefer a more direct and assertive approach, while others prefer a more gentle guiding approach. By taking some time to discuss what style works for you, we can actively create a dynamic that best meets your needs.
“Good trauma therapy is like very fine neurosurgery. It’s extremely skilled work, and good intentions and warm feelings do not substitute...”
Bessel van der Kolk
Additional Treatment Modalities
While neuropsychology can lend a valuable pathway to finding healing, healing is so much more than simply rewiring our brain. Learning how to regulate and how to challenge negative thinking patterns are often critical components to achieving stabilization:
Therapy (DBT)- DBT Is an evidence based modality, which means that various studies have been conducted and have proven that this form of treatment has been deemed effective according to scientific standards. DBT focuses on teaching clients how to effectively cope with stress, improve social relations, and regulate when experiencing heightened emotions. This form of therapy can be effective in treating individuals who experience the following symptoms:
Suicidal or Homicidal Ideation (thoughts of harming yourself or others)
Self Harm Behavior (e.g.., cutting self, restricting food, etc.)
Mood Disorder Symptoms (e.g., how to manage a depressive episode)
With this form of therapy, clients are often provided with worksheets and daily logs to identify how their symptoms manifest throughout the day and to identify what interventions were useful in the moment. DBT uses various acronyms to help clients remember ways to intervene on themselves in the moment.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)- CBT is also an evidence based modality. CBT focuses on the ways in which our thoughts, behaviors and feelings intertwine and influence one another. CBT believes that by changing one of these arenas, such as the way we perceive the event, we can ultimately change the way we feel and respond to the event. CBT focuses heavily around exploring our perception of self and others as well as identifying ways in which unhelpful beliefs ultimately lead to painful feelings and problematic behavior choices. This form of therapy can be helpful in treating individuals who experience the following issues:
Disordered Eating/ Eating Disorders
Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)- Similar to CBT, CPT focuses on analyzing the beliefs that you have gathered post trauma. CPT explores how your beliefs about safety, control, self image, and intimacy have been shaped by the trauma you have endured. Some common interventions include worksheets, identifying unhelpful beliefs, and processing past traumas through writing.
Somatic Experiencing (SE)- SE views the body as a source of information that communicates to our consciousness through physical sensations. Clients who have experienced trauma(s) will often report feeling ‘on edge’ and will express difficulty understanding how to re-facilitate a felt sense of safety for their body. Psycho education focuses around how the body stores trauma and how to internally resource for safety. SE also focuses around exploring bodily sensations from a place of curiosity and compassion as a means of realigning body-mind connection.
Exposure Response Prevention (ERP)- ERP is often viewed as the gold standard for treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as well as other anxiety disorders or phobias. The core components of ERP involve exploration of places/situations that trigger an irrational sense of anxiety and systematically exposing oneself to the trigger. Overtime, the body will become desensitized to the original source of anxiety.
Psychodrama- Rather than simply talking through an experience, psychodrama is a more action based modality. As the name suggests, psychodrama is more theatrical in nature. Techniques such as role playing and re-enacting past experiences in a safe manner are key components of psychodrama.