Ethical and Neuro-affirmative Approaches to Trauma Therapy



Ethical and Neuro-affirmative Approaches to Trauma Therapy

Dr. Gabriela (Gaby) Hurtado Alvarado, Ph.D., a Licensed Psychologist, will present a one-hour evidence-based LIVE presentation on neuro-affirmative trauma therapy approaches followed by a Q&A and discussion.

Target audience: Autistic and Neurodivergent Adults, Psychologists, Mental Health Counselors, Social Workers, and other Therapy Providers including OTs, SLPs, Educators, and Parents and relatives of Autistic and Neurodivergent children and young people.

When: August 17, 2023, @4:30pm Pacific / @ 6:30 pm Central / @ 7:30 pm Eastern. If you can’t make the live event, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered! Enrollees will have access to the recording of the live session and all the materials from August 18 through September 1.

Course Description:

Trauma is an emotional response to a stressful event (or events) that threaten an individual’s physical, emotional, and/or cognitive safety. Intrusive memories, nightmares, insomnia, hypervigilance, negative affect or emotions, severe anxiety and distress, irritability, avoidance, difficulty with memory and concentration, flashbacks, dissociation, anhedonia, and ruminative thoughts characterize this response (National Center for PTSD, 2023). The chronicity of this experience can contribute to difficulty building and maintaining healthy relationships, substance use, self-harm, and suicidality (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014).

Neurodivergent individuals are at increased risk of experiencing psychological trauma. For example, it is estimated that approximately 32-45% of autistic individuals report symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Rumball, 2019), and individuals with ADHD report more traumatic experiences and PTSD symptoms when compared to the general population (Antshel, 2013; Ayoubi et al., 2020). Unfortunately, although the link between PTSD and neurodivergence has been documented by existing research, as well as factors that might increase the vulnerability of neurodivergent individuals to experiencing psychological trauma, there is scant research available regarding the assessment and treatment of trauma in neurodivergent individuals.

Cognitive behavioral therapies have been determined to be the “gold-standard” approach to psychological trauma (American Psychological Association, 2017). These therapeutic approaches center on exposure strategies. These include behavioral methods such as graded exposure, flooding, and systematic desensitization, which have been identified as harmful to neurodivergent individuals (Shkedy, Shkedy, & Sandoval-Norton, 2021). This presentation will discuss the framework and components of commonly used trauma interventions (RO-DBT, DBT, ACT, SE) and their use, when appropriate, including adaptions of these interventions to individual needs from an affirmative perspective.

The course includes the course slides, a handout, and a Certificate of Attendance.

Picture is of psychologist Gabriela Hurtado, who will present on ethical and neuro-affirmative approaches to trauma therapy.

Dr. Hurtado (she/hers/ella) has experience in the field of clinical psychology, with a particular focus on the mental health of Latinx/e adolescents and adults. Her clinical interests and practice involve crisis intervention, assessment and evaluation, and treatment of trauma and PTSD, and eating disorders. Dr. Hurtado area of expertise is the delivery of culturally-grounded interventions, as well conducting neuroaffirmative, culturally-grounded assessments and evaluations with immigrants and bicultural/bilingual adolescents and adults.

Prickly Pear Therapy and Training

Participants will