Re: “Having trouble finding a therapist in the Seattle area? Here are some tips” [Dec. 14, Local News]:

In my 40 years of practice as a clinical social worker, three-quarters of the people who’ve come to me for therapy have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many of those people have dissociation, when their nervous systems shut down the fear and/or pain that comes down from trauma. The trauma generally comes from histories of emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse, inside or outside the family. PTSD can arise from any trauma: being robbed, shot at, having a horrible boss, being bullied, losing a job or a place to live. The longer and more extreme the trauma, the more severe the PTSD and dissociation. People with these histories are the most likely to come to therapy, from the abuse, or when triggered by the isolation and losses that come from this pandemic.

EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), ego-state therapies and somatic psychotherapies are well researched therapies for trauma and dissociation. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy), which focus on cognitive treatment, don’t touch the bodily issues that undergird all trauma diagnoses. I hope readers who suffer from PTSD and dissociation know to seek therapy that can effectively treat their mental health issues.

Robin Shapiro, LICSW, Seattle