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Complex Trauma Treatment Center Boston
Who we are
Complex Trauma Treatment Center: Boston is a unified affiliation of specialty psychotherapy practices, with offices in two Greater Boston locations: Cambridge and North Shore (Melrose). CTTC Boston is guided by three highly accomplished innovators in the treatment of complex traumatic stress and clinical dissociation. CTTC leadership either personally provide or directly supervise all psychotherapy, evaluation and professional consultation services conducted at each location.
- Our Director of Clinical Services is Dr. Jana Pressley, Psy.D.
- Our Senior Clinicians are Drs. Joseph Spinazzola, Ph.D. and Amy Fingland, Psy.D.
- Dr. Fingland also oversees the Cambridge practice site.
- Our Staff Psychologist, Dr. Rosalie Suescun, Psy.D., divides her time between our Melrose and Cambridge locations.
What we offer
We provide outpatient trauma-focused psychotherapy and mind-body wellness counseling for youth, adults, couples and families who have been impacted by interpersonal trauma, loss, social oppression and other forms of life adversity. In addition to mental health counseling, we also offer the following specialized services:
- forensic evaluation and expert witnessing
- select trauma-focused clinical evaluation, including trauma impact and treatment recommendations, trauma-related workers compensation and psychological disability evaluations, and psychosocial assessment for gender affirmation surgery
- professional consultation on challenging and treatment-resistant cases
- ongoing trauma-focused clinical supervision to multidisciplinary licensed professionals nationwide and to psychologists seeking licensure in Massachusetts
- executive coaching, particularly for professionals with histories of trauma
- strengths-based coaching for complex trauma survivors as well as for gifted and talented youth and young adults
Our standpoint on trauma
We recognize that exposure to trauma is a pervasive reality in our world. We pay careful attention to the wide range of historical experiences that contribute to ongoing distress in those we serve. We understand our clients’ struggles through the lens of complex trauma, with the belief that individuals are shaped most profoundly by their earliest and closest relationships. When those relationships have been fraught with chronic adversity – whether due to maltreatment and neglect, poverty and discrimination, or the legacy of intergenerational or ancestral trauma – it can alter the course of healthy human development in profound ways. One’ emotions, self-worth, behaviors, and overall functioning can be deeply impacted. One’s relationships, schooling, and occupation may suffer. One’s goals and dreams, spiritual direction and overall life path can get derailed. In the same breath, we honor the resilience of the human spirit, and marvel at the capacity of every person to survive, heal, persevere and ultimately thrive despite seemingly overwhelming obstacles.
To schedule an initial therapy appointment, request detailed rate information, inquire about specialized evaluation, consultation or supervision services, and for all other general inquiries, please leave a brief initial message including your name and telephone number on our central intake line: (617) 548-4123
Rates and payment options
Cost of a standard 50-minute psychotherapy session:
$225 Cambridge office
$200 Melrose office
Contact us for a detailed rate schedule for other services.
Sliding-scale rates and discounted advance bulk payment packages are available at the Melrose office only.
Payments may be made by cash, check, credit card or through a State Crime Victims Compensation Fund for qualified individuals.
We will provide superbills on request to assist clients with Out of Network insurance reimbursement as applicable.
The Cambridge office only is an ADA compliant accessible facility.
Who we serve
Our clients have endured many forms of trauma, including physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, intimate partner violence, exploitation, and chronic or debilitating medical illness. These experiences often began early in life. They were often chronic or recurring and increased vulnerability to additional traumas, hardships and struggles that our clients are still contending with today. These experiences of complex trauma frequently occurred in the context of family, school or community violence. They may have been associated with impairment of one’s primary caregivers due to chronic mental illness or substance abuse. They may have been an outgrowth of systemic racial, cultural, sexual or religious oppression.
Our clients have been assigned numerous diagnoses in their lifetimes. Not uncommonly, they have been labeled with, and defined by, five or more psychiatric diagnoses at the same time. Sometimes, these diagnoses have been useful in promoting self-understanding and guiding effective treatment. More than occasionally, however, some of the diagnoses our clients have been assigned have been inaccurate, unhelpful or stigmatizing.
Here are some of the most common diagnoses assigned to individuals with histories of complex trauma exposure and adaptation:
- Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD)
- Bipolar Disorder (BP)
- Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
- Conduct Disorder (CD)
- Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
- Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD)
- Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)
- Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)
- Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
- Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
Here are two emerging diagnoses that we find useful in capturing many of the symptoms of complex trauma adaptation, but that remain inconsistently recognized and accepted by academic psychiatry in the United States:
- Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD)
- Development Trauma Disorder (DTD)
Many of our clients struggle with insomnia, gastrointestinal disturbances, anxiety and panic. Some also grapple with serious medical conditions. These often include autoimmune diseases associated with compromised immune system functioning such as fibromyalgia, chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
Many of the youth and adults that we serve have resorted to extreme measures to cope with or ward off painful memories and emotions or avoid revictimization. These include substance use, self-harm, reactive aggression, food restriction, overeating and hoarding, lying and manipulation, self-sabotage, self-imposed isolation, dissociation, sexual acting out and other risk-taking behaviors. Such behaviors have primarily been condemned society and misunderstood by loved ones, and they often become sources rejection and shame.
At CTTC Boston, we view these behaviors in a different light: as courageous and adaptive survival strategies that evolved in the context of chronic and severe victimization, neglect or betrayal. Nevertheless, these intense means of coping almost always end up limiting life choices, impeding daily functioning, and undermining personal wellbeing. They also get in the way of interpersonal connection and intimacy, educational pursuits, vocational performance, and career aspirations.
How we work
At CTTC Boston, we emphasize working in active partnership with our clients to reduce distress, cultivate a healthy mind, body, spirit connection, and develop the capacity to engage meaningfully in present-day life and relationships. Our aim is to build upon an individual’s strengths, bolster self-care efforts, and enhance any medical, religious, community, familial, or twelve-step resources and supports already in place.
We view the therapeutic relationship as central to the treatment process. Carefully negotiating parameters for safety, reciprocally building rapport and respect, and slowly earning trust are always the top priorities in our work. The pace, focus, and structure of therapy sessions are individually tailored and modified over time based upon the needs, interests and preferences of each client.
We honor and strive to attend to the unique risks, needs, competencies and strengths of everyone we serve. Inclusivity is of the utmost importance in our work. What we lack in personal diversity we strive to make up for through humility, cultural responsiveness, and openness to learning from our clients, who are and will always be our greatest teachers.
CTTC: Boston has particular expertise in complex trauma intervention with specific populations and issues:
- Psychotherapy for LGB and TGNC individuals, couples and families
- Psychotherapy, consultation and parent-training with biological, kindship, foster, adoptive and nontraditional families caring for trauma-exposed children and youth
- Relational “parts” work for clients experiencing identity fragmentation and other forms of clinical dissociation
- Treatment of clients navigating the intersection of complex trauma with spirituality, racial and ethnic oppression, and gender and sexuality.
Treatment models we use
Treatment services at CTTC: Boston are informed by our extensive personal involvement in leading-edge clinical research on traumatic stress. Psychodynamic, humanistic, narrative and feminist-relational theories and therapeutic frameworks serve as the foundational underpinnings of our work. Our unique approach to phase-oriented and sequential trauma-focused psychotherapy is to adapt and refine specific evidence-based trauma treatment models and integrate these with innovative, promising practices that are grounded in an understanding of human development, attachment theory, and neuroscience.
Our clinicians have intensive training in a variety of youth and adult trauma treatment models:
- Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP)
- Attachment, Regulation & Competency (ARC)
- Component-Based Psychotherapy (CBP)
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
- Internal Family Systems (IFS)
- Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)
- Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
- Sand Tray Therapy
- Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP)
- Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART)
- Trauma-sensitive Yoga (chair-based)
For descriptions of these and other treatment models, as well as extensive information and downloadable resources on complex trauma for providers, consumers, and loved ones, visit: www.complextrauma.org.