American Association of Therapists Treating Abortion Related Trauma
Professionalizing the treatment of abortion related trauma Bridging the gap between research and practice
We are professional therapists concerned with the legitimization of abortion as a potential trauma, just like any other traumas, in order for clients to receive the professional services they might need. Those clients may include men, women and couples who present in counseling for services.
We are dedicated to legitimizing abortion as a potential trauma so the men, women and couples who have experienced abortion related trauma, will receive the professional mental health services they need. In addition, we are dedicated to applying research to practice. We are also committed to developing evidenced based practice treatment models that are grounded in sound psychological theory. As a result, we will then provide both education and training for licensed professional therapists in order to meet client need regardless of cultural, religious, or political background. Some History In 1981, Dr. Vincent Rue provided the first clinical evidence of abortion related trauma. In a testimony before congress, he suggested the term "post abortion syndrome" to describe the symptoms that women were presenting with after an abortion decision. The symptoms were similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but specific for abortion. The term "post abortion syndrome" was never really accepted outside of pro life type groups. In 1994, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Health Disorders (DSM III-R) included abortion in it's list of life stressors that could induce some form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The next edition, the DSM IV had dropped abortion from it's list. As a result, the treatment of abortion related symptoms or abortion related trauma has been left out of the mental health world.
Since abortion in the United States became legalized in 1973, the treatment of symptoms related to an abortion decision has been primarily been left up to religious organizations or agencies such as Crisis Pregnancy Centers. The programs were often of a Bible study nature and usually not run or developed by professional counselors. As as result, this further polarized the issue of whether abortion was a legitimate trauma and was perceived more through the lens of a religious or political issue. Since there was very little outreach to those who had abortions that were not from a faith based background, it also further polarized the issue. The thinking was abortion related symptoms were only coming from a place of guilt and shame because of a person's faith background versus a legitimate trauma regardless of one's political or faith background.
The research shows thatsome men, women and couples will experience abortion related trauma. Some will also meet the full or partial diagnostic criteria for PTSD. As with all research, be it research about physical or emotional conditions, practice should follow what comes out of that research. The need to treat abortion related trauma with evidenced based practices is evident. Finally being able to develop effective evidenced practice models that are rooted in sound psychological theory, will further professionalize the legitimacy of abortion as a potential trauma. In addition, more clients than ever before will get their needs met through a mental health system that should be unbiased regarding an issue that should be kept out of the religious and political arena.
We provide membership and services to professional therapists in treating abortion related trauma.
We are committed to the process of legitimizing abortion as a potential trauma for men, women and couples so that clients who are affected by abortion related trauma will receive the appropriate services they may need.
We are committed to moving away from the label of "Post Abortion Syndrome" to using appropriate screening instruments for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for men, women and couples who may have experienced abortion related trauma.
We seek to apply the latest research to practice.
We are committed to developing and using evidenced based practice treatment models that are grounded in sound psychological theory for the treatment of abortion related trauma for both men, woman and couples.
We are committed to a family system's approach to treatment versus an individual deficit model. This approach will be reflected in the models of treatment that are developed and used, treatment planning, our writing, education and training programs.
We understand that men and women need their own gender specific evidenced based treatment models.
We are committed to developing evidenced based practice treatment model groups as an adjunct in the healing process of abortion related trauma.
We understand that work with couples that have been affected by abortion related trauma need their own theoretical models of treatment such as those grounded in Emotionally Focused Therapy. Often times, breaking the cycle of traumatic interactions within the couple system is the first step in our work with couples to prevent further retraumatization.
We are committed to upholding the same standards of treatment required to treat other types of trauma such as child abuse, war trauma etc. This would require appropriate assessment and screening for co-existing disorders such as addictions or a diagnosis such as PTSD etc.
We are committed to developing treatment plans that would follow along the same lines of evidenced based practice for other traumas.
We will provide both education and training for professional therapists through web based materials, articles, books, continuing education workshops and conferences etc.
We seek to stay out of any political or religious debate but to focus on the current research and the need for professionalized treatment of this issue that can be traumatic for some men, women and couples.
We are excited to be able to apply evidenced based practice treatment models, grounded in sound psychological theory, for the treatment of abortion related trauma. This page will only be the beginning of an attempt to fill a void in the mental health world, of providing effective treatment models for clients that present with abortion related trauma. Just like other traumas clients present with, there is a need first for proper assessment, treatment planning and models of treatment that are based on research to their effectiveness with a particular type of trauma. Once these models are written, therapists will be able to access them for their work with clients and future training on the use of these models and workshops will be provided. Downloadable handouts for therapist use with clients will be provided as tools in working with clients through different stages of treatment.
EBP Treatment Models for Working With Female Clients
EBP Treatment Models for Working With Male Clients
EBP Treatment Models for Working With Couples With an Abortion in Their Past Together or Separate