Fairbanks’ first Master Therapist to address trauma in patients

Kim Davenport has attained Master Therapist status at Fairbanks, the first to do so at the organization.

Master Therapist is the top level in Fairbanks’ Counselor Career Ladders, which was created last fall. It is a distinction that acknowledges years of service and great work, growth toward targeted goals and a commitment to contribute to the organization in individualized ways.

To become a Master Therapist, a counselor must meet a minimum set of criteria (such as years of service, years of experience, commitment to committees, special individualized projects, etc.) and apply to present his or her proposal to the clinical counseling managers for approval.

Davenport has worked at Fairbanks for seven years. An adult Intensive Outpatient (IOP) counselor, she started in the inpatient program, then ran Fairbanks’ Partial Hospitalization (PHP) program.

As part of her Master Therapist training, Davenport is developing a curriculum that focuses on trauma, a condition she frequently addresses with her female patients. This coincides with an initiative by Fairbanks to more effectively treat such symptoms in military personnel with addiction issues, specifically Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“I think trauma is often at the core of why people abuse drugs and alcohol,” Davenport said. “Someone experiences a traumatic event, and that’s when their use escalated or they turned to such substances to help cope.”

She added while Fairbanks has long been trauma-informed, it needs to be trauma-responsive.

“That’s why I wanted to develop a trauma curriculum and start it with our female patients,” Davenport said. “Eventually we’ll replicate it for our other patients.”

Trauma is a common marker in male patients too, but cases of rape and other abuse is prevalent with females.

“I would venture to say well over half of them have been traumatized in some way,” Davenport said. “I felt this was something I could implement in what I’m already doing at Fairbanks.”

As part of the new trauma curriculum, Fairbanks counselors received training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a psychotherapy that helps patients heal from symptoms stemming from disturbing experiences.

“It’s a specific form of therapy where you utilize rapid eye movement when the patient is recounting the trauma to help desensitize her to it.” Davenport said. “Patients in EMDR are able to process it better. It’s been shown to be really effective with PTSD and help trauma victims cope better.”

Fairbanks’ trauma curriculum is expected to be implemented this summer.