Our Methodologies

In working with you we develop an individual treatment plan based upon your particular needs. What follows are brief explanations of the various methods we use to help you recover from the loss of your original self and to return to a sense of well being.

Acceptance and Comittment Therapy


Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a type of psychotherapy based upon a method called mindfulness. Mindfulness is a method that helps one to separate ones awareness from critical and anxious thought patterns.

Mindfulness is a non-critical state of self-observation.; where you are observing yourself without judging or condemning what you see in yourself.

Mindfulness is simultaneously a state of concentration. You cannot be in a state of mindfulness without some effort of concentration being present.

In ACT, Mindfulness and Meditation are methods that help you accept the difficulties that come with life. One learns how to actively pay attention to one’s inner state and strives to observe moods rather than be controlled by them. This method has proven to be highly effective against chronic depression and hopelessness.

ACT, as a practical method, focuses on helping someone in 3 areas:

Accept your reactions and be present
Choose a valued direction
Take action.

Focusing - A Mindfulness Based Somatic Therapy

If we could solve our problems just by thinking about them most of us would be problem-free since we often find ourselves obsessing about them.  Focusing is a body-based practice that teaches how to mindfully attend to the knowledge found in your body and relate it to your mind.  This significant information is often not accessed by most of us.  Focusing is initially done best in relationship with a therapist guiding the practice. However, since the wisdom is from within your own body, the process can be learned as a tool to use by yourself.  Focusing relies on the understanding that your body is continually sending you information about your life.  Most of us often do not know how to listen to this information or make sense of it.  By listening to what is called the “felt sense” and using the practices that help communicate with it, you can gain vital information that was previously unknown to the mind about problems and difficulties you are facing.

The practice of Focusing is initially taught in six steps:
  1. Clearing a space
  2. Felt Sense
  3. Handle
  4. Resonating
  5. Asking
  6. Receiving

Utilizing these steps becomes more fluid as practiced in therapy and insights begin to emerge, not through the intellectual way we usually seek them.  This process can help find the keys to overcome the obstacles that we find ourselves stuck in.


Brainspotting is a powerful, focused treatment method that works by identifying, processing and releasing core neurophysiological sources of emotional/body pain, trauma, dissociation and a variety of other challenging symptoms. Brainspotting is a simultaneous form of diagnosis and treatment, enhanced with Biolateral sound, which is deep, direct, and powerful yet focused and containing.

Brainspotting functions as a neurobiological tool to support the clinical healing relationship. There is no replacement for a mature, nurturing therapeutic presence and the ability to engage another suffering human in a safe and trusting relationship where they feel heard, accepted, and understood.

Brainspotting gives us a tool, within this clinical relationship, to neurobiologically locate, focus, process, and release experiences and symptoms that are typically out of reach of the conscious mind and its cognitive and language capacity.

Brainspotting works with the deep brain and the body through its direct access to the autonomic and limbic systems within the body’s central nervous system. Brainspotting is accordingly a physiological tool/treatment which has profound psychological, emotional, and physical consequences.

It is theorized that Brainspotting taps into and harnesses the body’s innate self-scanning capacity to process and release focused areas (systems) which are in a maladaptive homeostasis (frozen primitive survival modes). This may also explain the ability of Brainspotting to often reduce and eliminate body pain and tension associated with physical conditions.

Tension and Trauma Release Exercises

The human body possesses an organic ability to heal.  TRE® (most commonly known as Trauma Release Exercise) is an innovative series of positions that assist the body in releasing deep muscular patterns of stress, tension and trauma. Created by Dr. David Berceli, PhD, TRE® safely activates a natural reflex mechanism of shaking or vibrating that releases muscular tension, calming down the nervous system. When this muscular shaking/vibrating mechanism is activated in a safe and controlled environment, the body is encouraged to return back to a state of balance.

TRE® is based on the fundamental idea, backed by recent research, that stress, tension, and trauma is both psychological and physical. TRE®’s reflexive muscle vibrations generally feel pleasant and soothing.  After doing TRE®, many people report feelings of peace and well-being.

TRE® emerged out of Dr. David Berceli’s work with large traumatized communities while living in Africa and the Middle East. His observation and exploration led him to understand that this natural shaking/vibrating response appears to be the body’s own built-in system for quieting down the brain and releasing muscular tension as a way of healing itself from chronic stress, tension, and trauma.

TRE is a revolutionary, body based approach that deliberately uses the body’s own innate process of involuntary shaking and tremoring in a safe and controlled way to physically release the effects of chronic stress and unresolved trauma including PTSD.

As the process uses a series of simple exercises to invoke tremors that are then able to be self-regulated; it does not require talking about or recalling past events and does not require the ongoing assistance of a therapist for the vast majority of people; meaning the process can be used on your own on an ongoing basis to support and enhance other approaches.

Benefits of TRE® Include:

  • Relief of ongoing stress or tension
  • Pain relief
  • Release of emotional or physical trauma
  • Promotes overall sense of calm and relaxation
  • Increased flexibility
  • Improved circulation
  • Levity, laughter, joy in your body

Robert Espiau is certified in TRE through TRE International.

Psychodynamic Theory

We work with a psychodynamic approach in that we help you to come to an understanding of the underlying events in your life that are the causes of compulsive behaviors. This is important in order to help the bring into awareness the unconscious events that are triggers for anxiety. Panic attacks or relapse into addictions, for example, although it is not necessary to retell your story to work through trauma..

For more info on psychodynamic theory:



Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy has over 25 years of research. The EFT program has systematically covered all the factors set out in optimal models of psychotherapy research. Couples therapy is considered by most therapists to be the most difficult form of all therapeutic processes as it requires being involved in both the intimacy and conflicts in the relationship.

EFT is a proven method that helps relationships to reconnect not focusing on the language and resolving conflicts, but rather through building on the strengths in the relationship. The therapy session is seen as a healing place where a corrective emotional experience between partners happens, and it is that process that is the method of therapeutic change. In EFT couples counseling we seek to empower the partners to find a new way of communicating with each other.


Samatha and Vipassana Meditation

Samatha and Vipassana meditation are two distinct forms of meditation practice that date back at least 2500 years. They were taught by the 1st Buddha and are the foundation of Buddhist meditation systems. Anyone who has a classical meditation training from within a Buddhist monastic tradition will have training in these two methods.Almost any book on early Buddhist meditation will tell you that the Buddha taught these two types of meditation: Samatha and Vipassana.

Samatha, which means tranquility, is a method fostering strong states of absorption into the stillness and silence of the mind, called jhana. Vipassana — literally “clear-seeing,” but more often translated as insight meditation — is said to be a method that uses the foundation of tranquillity to foster a special insight into how perception functions at its root, as well as how karma forms and can be unraveled.  There are many unusual applications of vipassana meditation once tranquility and concentration have been stabilized. This style of meditation can free a person from anxiety and allow them to accept the accept the painful and difficult experiences in life in a new way, thus leading the mind to release from suffering. These two methods are taught and practiced by both Robert and Joshua Canady. Group Instruction and meditation retreats are also available.

Lucid Dreaming / Dream Work

A lucid dream is when you consciously wake up inside a dream. The word “lucid” means “clear” so it literally means “clear dreaming”. It is a result of heightened consciousness in the dream state, initiated by the realization that you are dreaming and self-aware. Most people will have one or two conscious dreams in their lifetime by accident. But with practice, you can learn how to have lucid dreams regularly and at Seattle trauma counseling we use it for personal development. When people have chronic bad dreams or nightmares, learning to take control ones dreams is the way to stop this. Lucid dreaming is learning this ability. While some children can program their dreams naturally, for most adults it requires some knowledge of lucid dreaming techniques.

In the last 30 years numerous have begun on the subject of lucid dreaming. Studies of frequencies of nightmares among adults show that one third to one half of all adults experience occasional nightmares. A study of college students found that almost three-quarters of a group of 300 had nightmares at least once a month. In another study, five percent of college freshmen reported having nightmares at least once a week. [1] If this rate applies to the general population, then we might find that more than ten million Americans are plagued by wholly realistic horrifying experiences every week!

Some factors that seem to contribute to nightmare frequency are: illness (especially fever), stress (caused by situations like the difficulties of adolescence, moving, hard times at school or work), troubled relationships and traumatic events, like being mugged or experiencing a serious earthquake. Traumatic events can trigger a long lasting series of recurrent nightmares.

What gives nightmares their special terror? In dreams, anything is possible. This limitlessness can be wonderful, since it allows us to experience delights of fantasy and pleasure unachievable in waking life. However, turn over the stone, and anything you can imagine that you would not like to experience, however unlikely in waking, can happen as well.

In nightmares we are alone. The terrifying worlds we create in our minds are populated with our fears. We may dream that we are accompanied by friends, but if we doubt them they can just as easily turn into fiends. If we run from an axe- wielding maniac, he can find us no matter where we hide. If we stab a devil with a knife, he may not even notice, or the knife may turn to rubber. Our thoughts betray us; if we think, I only hope he doesn’t have a gun—lo! he has a gun. It is no wonder we are grateful to return from nightmares to the relative sanity and peace of the waking world.

Thus, it is understandable that people in the midst of nightmares who realize they must be dreaming frequently choose to wake up. However, if you become fully lucid in a nightmare, you realize that the nightmare can’t really hurt you, and you don’t need to “escape” it by awakening. You can learn to understand why you are having the nightmare and change it within the experience itself. This requires a special training.


The Trauma Tree

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CIMBS- Complex Integration of Multiple Brain Systems

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Serving the Community and Making Life Seem Positive Again

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