Fairbanks offers new trauma curriculum for women

Fairbanks has instituted a new curriculum to address trauma in its female patients.

Origins: Women’s Trauma Program is part of Fairbanks’ whole continuum of care.

“Women suffering from co-occurring trauma and addiction disorders now have specialized programming so both needs can be addressed simultaneously,” said Fairbanks Chief Clinical Officer Robin Parsons, MS, LMHC, LCAC, CTRS, ADS. “Patients can be admitted into any level of care in our continuum depending on where they are with the severity their illness.”

The Origins program is coordinated by Fairbanks Master Therapist Kim Davenport. She started work on the treatment track after seeing how prevalent trauma was in her female patients.

“We previously had to refer patients to other providers to address that,” Davenport said. “But when you remove the substances they were abusing to shield themselves from their trauma, they can’t really contain it anymore and it comes to the surface. It needs to be dealt with in conjunction with addiction.”

Those suffering from trauma typically experience negative emotions like worthlessness and inadequacy. These thought patterns commonly start in childhood/adolescence, usually from a traumatic event, and continually get reinforced throughout their lives.

“That causes them to engage in self-destructive behavior,” Davenport said. “What we do is challenge those negative core beliefs and help them believe positive things about themselves.”

Trauma, for women, often stems from abuse or being a victim of assault. Other trauma includes acute cases like witnessing a shocking event. Any of these events could lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Traumatic grief – such as a parent losing a child to suicide or overdose – is also common.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Seeking Safety and yoga are utilized in the trauma program. These are evidence-based best practices.

Patients typically start Origins at the residential level at La Verna Lodge for Women or at the Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) level and are taught stabilization techniques and coping skills. Once stable, they start addressing their trauma while in Fairbanks’ Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and can graduate to the Level I trauma group for recovery follow-up services. Patients who follow this track meet with Davenport for 20 weeks, which is an extensive period of sobriety. The IOP trauma group meets for eight weeks, which is two weeks longer than other IOP support groups. Individuals may remain in either group for even longer if needed.

A men’s specialized trauma curriculum is currently being developed. Many Fairbanks counselors are already trained as Star Behavioral Health providers, which is specialized training in understanding and treating military service members and their families. Fairbanks also has a joint partnership with the Indiana National Guard and Community Health Network to provide treatment to service members who have substance use disorders.

“We know that one of the most common and dangerous ways to cope with trauma is to numb feelings through substance abuse,” Parsons said. “We believe that if the trauma is not addressed as part of treatment and recovery for those addicted, then there is a greater likelihood of relapse.”

For more information on Origins: Women’s Trauma Program, contact Davenport at kdavenport@fairbankscd.org or 317-572-9377.