Table of Contents

Trauma-Informed Stabilization Treatment (TIST): A Multifaceted Approach to Trauma

Advantages of TIST Training for Clinicians

Innovative Integration of Techniques

TIST merges principles from internal family systems with sensorimotor psychotherapy, integrating somatic approaches and a ‘parts’ perspective. This fusion equips clinicians with diverse tools suitable for addressing various aspects of trauma.

Effective Management of Dissociation and Fragmentation

TIST is specifically designed to address complex dissociative symptoms and the fragmentation often observed in severe trauma cases. It provides strategies for understanding and integrating these fragmented parts.

Autonomic Dysregulation Insight

The training provides valuable insights into autonomic dysregulation, which clinicians can use to identify and regulate symptoms for more effective treatment.

Enhanced Client Empowerment

The approach empowers clients by teaching them to recognize and manage various emotional parts. This empowerment leads to improved self-regulation and resilience.

Adaptability for Complex Cases

Originally developed for challenging environments like state hospitals, TIST is highly effective in managing cases that display severe symptoms such as self-harm and aggressive behaviors.

Understanding the Theoretical Framework of TIST

Trauma-informed stabilization treatment (TIST) is an integrative model blending internal family systems and sensorimotor psychotherapy principles, addressing complex trauma symptoms, including self-harm and aggression. Central to TIST is managing autonomic dysregulation, a condition often misinterpreted as borderline personality disorder, characterized by extreme emotional and impulse control challenges due to trauma.

TIST focuses on two critical aspects:

  1. Reactivation of the Prefrontal Cortex: Vital for processing traumatic memories and impulse management.
  2. Addressing Fragmentation/Internal Conflict: Handling dissociative or borderline symptoms stemming from severe trauma.

Main Steps in TIST

Trauma-informed stabilization treatment (TIST) employs a structured approach in its treatment process. Here are the four main steps that form the core of therapy:

  1. Psychoeducation: Focuses on teaching clients about the effects of trauma on the brain. This includes understanding why traumatic events may lead to fragmentation and how a dysregulated nervous system perpetuates symptoms and disrupts the ability to tolerate stress.
  2. Differentiation and Mindfulness: Clients are introduced to the structural dissociation model and collaborate in mindfully noticing self-destructive or addictive impulses as manifestations of parts activity. This step involves translating clients’ experiences into parts language to assist in recognizing these impulses.
  3. Differentiating Parts’ Feelings and Impulses: Clients learn to dis-identify from their emotions and reactions. This involves understanding and observing their thoughts, feelings, and bodily reactions as communications from trauma-related dissociated parts.
  4. Learning to Dis-Identify from the Parts: This crucial step teaches clients to separate from their intense emotions or impulses, often identified as parts. It helps clients understand that these intense emotions are not their entire identity but parts of their experience.

Key Textbooks for Therapists

Familiarize yourself with the foundational literature in TIST:

The Core of TIST

The theory of structural dissociation, which is central to TIST, suggests that trauma not only causes a physical split between the brain’s hemispheres but also creates a psychological divide. In the following video, you can watch a brief explanation by Janina Fisher, Ph.D.

Free downloads

Download PDF

Trauma-Informed Stabilization Treatment (TIST): A Multifaceted Approach to Trauma