The Dynamic Therapy Model in Treating Complex Trauma Syndrome

Vito Zepinic


Severe trauma such as the war combat, being taken as a hostage, brutal or repeated rape, affects all structures of the victim’s personality—one’s image of the body and sense of self; and one’s values and ideals—and leads to a sense that coherence and continuity of the self is systematically broken down. Severe trauma overwhelms the ordinary human adaptation and resistance as it usually involves the threat to life or bodily integrity and confronts the victim with the extremities of the helplessness, hopelessness, and terror, and evokes the response of catastrophe. In this paper, we describe how effectively the complex trauma is treated using the Dynamic Therapy model.

We recognised five major alterations of the self as the aftermaths of severe trauma that should be targeted during treatment: (a) regulation of affected impulses; (b) attention and consciousness; (c) self-perception; (d) perception of the perpetrator; and (e) relation to others.

The Dynamic Therapy model is the three-phase oriented treatment which applies to holotropic integration of the distorted self into a whole: (a) Impulse containment; Engagement; Safety; (b) Understanding; Recalling traumatic memories; (c) Self-conception; Enhancing daily living; Relapse prevention; Independency; Steps forward.

The main concept of Dynamic Therapy model includes three treatment goals: (a) restoration of a form of the relatedness (“Interconnectivity”); (b) restoration of a sense of the aliveness/vitality (“Dynamism”); and (c) restoration of an awareness of self and inner events (“Insight”).



Complex trauma syndrome; Sense of self; Self-continuity; Interconnectivity; Dynamism; Insight

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