A new book by York University Professor Robert T. Muller examines trauma, relationships and strategies for recovery, and guides readers through the intricacies of trauma therapy.
Trauma and the Struggles to Open Up: From Avoidance to Recovery and Growth was composed through the lens of attachment theory and draws from clinical experience and research.
Muller is a professor in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health, and directs the Trauma and Attachment Lab where research is focused on understanding how to better help victims of trauma in treatment.
Using a relational, integrative approach in the book, Muller presents strategies for clinicians to help pace the process of opening up. He points to the different choices therapists can make in navigating the relationship between therapist and client, and highlights that these choices have a strong impact on outcome.
“This book is about trauma. It’s about the relationships in our lives that hurt and harm. It’s about the ones that help and heal,” said Muller. “Indeed when we study trauma, we see what a double-edged sword relationships are: trauma stems from them; recovery depends on them.
“The most harrowing trauma happens in close relationships, but recovery can’t happen in isolation. Relationships are both poison and antidote. This, in part, is why we see the avoidance of closeness in many trauma survivors – a certain safety comes with avoidance, but the price is high.”
Recovering from trauma is a challenging process, and the pacing of therapy is critical, said Muller.
Offering candid, personal guidance, and using rich case examples, Muller provides steps to build and maintain strong therapeutic relationships. The book is designed to hone the skills of mental health practitioners and trauma workers in psychotherapy.
The book comes out on July 9, wherever psychotherapy books are available.
Muller is also author of the award-winning psychotherapy bestseller, Trauma & the Avoidant Client. He is a Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation, and is lead investigator on several multi-site programs to treat interpersonal trauma. An international speaker, with more than 30 years in the field, Muller teaches trauma therapy at York University, and practices in downtown Toronto.