Learning to Do Trauma-informed Therapy

Getting Started Right.

As your consultant, I can help you get off to a good start with your client(s) from the first phone call.  I can help you assess for dissociation and create a sound treatment plan to treat dissociation. I can help you apply what you’ve learned in your training, to clients in the real world. I love case consultation, and find it exciting to apply what I know to the clients who are depending on you.

Learn Case Conceptualization.

By far, the MOST IMPORTANT reason to hire a good consultant is to learn accurate CASE CONCEPTUALIZATION.  In my experience, it took about ten years to really master a trauma-informed therapy model. I had to accept that memories of trauma and neglect–lead to beliefs about the world and the self–which then lead to intractable patterns and symptoms. Then, I had throw out a lot of what I had learned about what causes change. I was taught empathy and understanding create change.  And they do, up to a point!  Up to the point where traumatic memories are completely unreachable with words. Then we need more–EMDR and Parts models work on the memories and beliefs that hide deep in the psyche. 

EMDR case conceptualization involves looking at a client’s memories, organizing them by theme, and then hypothesizing about what symptoms might be related to those themes.  And then, we create a plan to target and reprocess those memories which stand in the way of the client’s freedom. But why is it that sometimes EMDR doesn’t work, or only works part way? That’s where Structural Dissociation and Internal Family Systems come in. They are both ‘Parts’ models that work with complex trauma in specific ways. How do we fit these three models together to help our clients in a beautiful and seamless way? That is what I can help you with in consultation.


My fee for consultation is $190. If you work in community mental health and would like to request a lower fee, please discuss it with me in our first phone call. Email me with questions!


Become a Trauma-informed Psychotherapist

Focussed Attention for You and Your Clients

I combine an extensive knowledge of EMDR with a number of ‘Parts’ models, to meet the needs of clients across the spectrum–from those who are adequately resourced and simply have a number of traumas to process, to those who are dissociative with extensive histories of abuse and neglect. I have the conviction that accurate assessment at the beginning of treatment and throughout, is an essential skill that every clinician who treats trauma must master. I draw from attachment theory, Internal Family Systems, Structural Dissociation, and Schema Therapy, as well as EMDR Therapy, in order to tailor each treatment plan to your client’s needs. I also teach the Ideal Parent Protocol, many many methods of Resourcing, and Sandra Paulsen’s Preverbal Trauma Protocol. I recommend lots of learning resources along the way, including the trainings I have found most rewarding.

When you are up to speed with Trauma-informed approaches, you will be eligible to join my traumatherapist.us, a site that offers client referrals, to therapists who are trauma-informed.

-My fee is $200. For ongoing group learning, you may wish to join one of my group consultations.

Email me if you have questions I have not answered here!


Ongoing Consultation Groups

Integrative Trauma Treatment Case Consultation (via Zoom)

My groups include lots of cases, a layering of theoretical approaches, and room for therapists to grow into effective trauma-informed clinicians. I practice and teach an Integrative Trauma Treatment Model, which emphasizes the following skills: assessment along the dissociative spectrum, affectively attuned psychoeducation, stabilization, attachment repair, and trauma resolution, using either Internal Family Systems (IFS) or EMDR/Flash Technique. I am a Certified Internal Family Systems Therapist as well as an EMDR International Consultant. I integrate both of these models into my work with therapists.

Members take turns presenting cases and asking questions. I integrate Internal Family Systems (IFS), Structural Dissociation, EMDR Therapy, Flash Technique, as well as tons of other models into my consultation.  Many methods of resourcing, trauma processing, and just good clinical judgement and assessment, will be woven into your learning here. I also share readings, videos, and information about trainings I think will be useful along the way. If you aren’t following me on my Facebook page, you may want to consider it as a way to stay in touch, hear about upcoming training opportunities, and new trauma treatment tools.


Second Thursday 9-11 AM PST on Zoom. This group is for therapists who are learning to treat trauma and dissociation from a number of theoretical perspectives. It is an ongoing discussion of cases, EMDR/Flash Technique, Structural Dissociation, and Internal Family Systems. This group is full. Cost $90/group


 -Second Friday 12-2 PST on Zoom.  This group is for therapists who are learning to treat trauma from a number of theoretical perspectives.  It is an ongoing discussion of cases, EMDR/Flash Technique, Structural Dissociation, and Internal Family Systems. This group has two openings. Please email me if you are interested. Cost $90/group


-Alternate Tuesday Cloud Video Conference. 11-12 noon PST. This is for therapists who are interested in learning how to treat trauma from a number of theoretical perspectives, including EMDR/Flash Technique, Structural Dissociation, and Internal Family Systems (IFS). This group has one opening now. Please email me if it sounds like the right group for you. Cost is $45/hour session


Please email me if you have questions or would like to join us.  Once I confirm your spot via email, I will send you a document with all the details–how to pay, where we meet, how to join the video conference, etcetera! If you are looking for an EMDRIA Approved Consultant training, go here. Email Colleen here.

Guidelines for Presenting Cases

Though I am not rigid about this format, it does help us use our time together most efficiently. Please consider prepping your case beforehand.
In general, if you presented last time, let others have a chance first.
Please answer these questions IN ORDER:
1-Start with basic demographics of the client, age, gender, employed, married, anything else unusual or relevant?
2-What was their presenting problem when they first started with you, how long have you seen them, and how frequently do you see them now? Do you have limited sessions with them?
3-Why are you presenting them today? (focus your question, as best you can)
4-Then give us more history to flesh out the case, so we get the feeling/texture of the client.

What Equipment Do I Use?

Okay, so now I’m trained.  What are those nifty little machines I’ve seen used?

In my experience, the Basic Neurotek Tac/Audioscan is all you need.  It has alternating audio tones as well as alternating vibrating pulsars. The speed of both can be changed, the volume of the tones can be changed, and the strength of the vibration can be altered.

Since I give my little machines a lot of use, I buy the Megapulsars, for a small extra charge.  (pictured) They are a nifty upgrade, because truthfully, these wires frequently fail, and the Megapulsars are designed with removable ends, allowing you to replace the wires for about $10 at an electronics store. This means, you will never be caught without a working unit.  I buy extra sets of wires to have on hand–they DO fail.

Update for Consultees and Clinicians: If you are making your first purchase from Neurotek Corp., here is the scoop: Basic Neurotek  Tac/Audioscan, have them ADD the Megapulsars, and two extra sets of wires. This way, you have 4 sets of working wires. You will not be sorry when one set fails in the middle of a session.


This original unit comes with rinky-dink headphones that should be thrown away, because they will fail in no time, usually in the middle of a session.  But by plugging a pair of inexpensive computer speakers into the Neurotek, you can do away with headphones altogether, and have audible tones on either end of your couch.

I have found this to be a boon for me and for my clients.  They appreciate not having headphones on their heads, as they feel more comfortable and can hear me better.  Also, as the clinician, YOU get the benefit of BLS when the tones are amplified in the room.  A very simple and elegant solution.  You may need a longer wire than comes with your speakers from a store like Radio Shack, if your client is a long distance from you.

And there is always the WAND.

In my experience Eye Movements are still the best for many clients under many circumstances, and if you don’t have any extra funds, using a wand is by far the cheapest option (about $5). First you buy a ‘magnetic pickup tool’ at an auto parts store.  Then, you go to a hardware store, and buy a “push nut” in red or white, which is the plastic cap you see pictured. It is lined with metal, so it adheres nicely to the end of the magnetic pickup tool.  Below is a picture of the very elegant result. They last forever.

A reader asked, Eye Movements vs. Pulsars…how to decide?

Hi Colleen,
Thanks for posting about the wand. What a great solution! I like it a lot! Makes good sense and will save my shoulder.
I see that you note the eye movements are most effective and I wondered how you decide to use the pulsers/audio rather than the wand. Simply client preference? Use eye movement first and if that is not good then go to the pulsars/audio?

Great question!

The answer is that I ALWAYS start with the wand/eye movement when I am doing trauma processing.  Eye movements are better for trauma, and seem to cause more thorough, less diffuse, less chaotic processing.  The way I understand that, is eye movements are a more difficult dual attention task, and as such, they are more interruptive of old, highly charged, traumatic material. Vibrating pulsars, even combined with alternating tones, are “easier” for clients, and do not interrupt highly charged material as efficiently.  Hence pulsars are SUPERIOR for RESOURCING and eye movements are SUPERIOR for TRAUMA PROCESSING. All that said, there are a few people for whom eye movements are contraindicated: those who feel motion sick when they do eye movements, those who are sight-impaired, and a few others who just don’t like them.

It is really important to talk about a trend that I see happening in the field of EMDR with regards to eye movements.  If you give clients the option–most all will choose the vibrating pulsars–BECAUSE BY DEFINITION THEY ARE EASIER.  Clients frequently say they are soothing. That does not mean they are better. My mentor Philip Manfield, Phd., coaches those he trains to move the wand at a speed that is the maximum the client can tolerate. This is hard for the client to do, and frequently causes eye strain by the end of a session, but this can be ameliorated by taking breaks and resting the eyes.

A few of my clients with very severe trauma and dissociation, now know that eye movements are more effective and ask to use them exclusively.  They know that they are less likely to dissociate when using eye movements, and further, if they do, I can see it immediately and intervene.  With pulsars, a client can be dissociated for most of a whole set, and because their eyes are closed, I won’t know to intervene.

One last note about speed.

Clinicians frequently ask me how fast should BLS be? A rule of thumb I teach my consultees is 2 passes per second for trauma processing, and half that speed for resourcing. Parenthetically, I have noticed when I supervise the practicum in EMDR Part 1 & 2, that if eye movements slow down too much, processing stops.  I offer empathy to my clients that “this is hard work for your eyes” and re-assure them that it is part of what causes EMDR to work, which virtually always takes care of clients’ reluctance.

Individual Consultation

The way we learn a trauma-informed paradigm…

Cultivate SELF-COMPASSION and BEGINNER’S MIND. We therapists TALK about EVERYTHING. It is how we stay effective with our clients and how we stay balanced and full of compassion. My individual and group consultation is supportive, full of heart, and can also be fun. I cultivate an atmosphere of self-compassion, so we are all free to try out ideas, make mistakes, and eventually find our way back to the next right intervention.

Learn to treat TRAUMA effectively. EMDR is one way to heal trauma, but as many of you know, it is far from magic. Many clients need a period of preparation before they can safely process their memories, and for some, EMDR may not ever be the best approach for their healing. Assessing your clients in a careful yet intuitive way can help you avoid many clinical setbacks, and offer your clients the best possible treatment. I am now using Internal Family Systems, Structural Dissociation, and Schema Therapy methods to address my client’s distress, and I can lead you to the right approach for you and your clients.

Group Consultation via Zoom video conferencing or face-to-face in El Cerrito


-Individual Consultation video conferencing or face-to-face/Fee $200


Group Consultation Openings here