Brief Targeted Therapy
on Orcas Island
Michael Elder, MFT
Certified Trauma Specialist


This is not "the talking cure": For most people, most of the time, talking about a difficult incident helps appropriately store the information. Some events can overwhelm this natural healing system to the degree that repeated attempts to "talk it out" produce no decrease, and sometimes an increase, in the distress associated with the memory.

Other than CISM, which is designed to prevent this overwhelm, the techniques I use are designed to address the overwhelm response without having to tell the story in detail.

If I ask you to tell me the whole story, it will only be after it has been made no longer painful as a final check to be sure all the pain has been neutralized. I often interrupt.

When I interrupt you, it is not that I don't think what you're saying matters, or that I don't want to hear it; rather it means you just did or said something that provides a clue to your healing path.

My job is to notice when you come to an intersection with the road to healing, then encourage you to make the turn and guide you along the unfamiliar path.

Length of treatment: If you are interested in long term personal growth work using the Formative method and/or Yoga Nidra, I would be honored to be part of your journey. If you are suffering from old memories, are trying to change some part of your behavior, or have been diagnosed with PTSD, I think in terms of brief therapy with the goal of restoring you to pre-injury function, or as nearly so as possible. Depending on how the target pattern is coded into your system, this may take only one session or several years. Our first meeting will begin with identifying what you are looking for in treatment and what I believe are realistic time frames for getting there. We will reassess goals and progress at least every 12 sessions.

Treatment format: The weekly 50 minute session format is available but not always the most appropriate. Intensive healing retreat and front loaded treatment, with more frequent sessions at the beginning of treatment, are well supported treatment formats for target focused therapy. Sessions will be either 50 or 100 minutes, depending on the scheduled task.

Medication: I am not a licensed prescriber and do not recommend specific medications. However, I have worked closely with psychiatrists and try to stay current on the research regarding psychotropic medication for trauma treatment. I will need to know your current medications and may ask to talk to your prescriber. If I suggest you see a psychiatrist, I will name the specific symptoms I believe need to be temporarily managed with medication to support your healing work.

Recreational drugs, including alcohol: Recreational drugs, including marijuana and alcohol, do not support healing. People suffering from trauma often turn to "self-medication" to manage the nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, and depression they experience. I ask that clients not be under the influence during our sessions. If this is difficult, I recommend addiction treatment at the same time as the trauma treatment.