Trauma Program

The Trauma Program at NYU Langone Psychiatry Associates offers specialized outpatient consultation, assessment, and treatment for adults, couples, and families who have experienced psychological trauma, for example due to assault, childhood abuse, a natural disaster, car accidents, or the loss of a loved one. We offer early intervention soon after a trauma, as well as treatment of more chronic trauma-related conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), complex trauma, and complicated grief.

Caregiver Holding Patient's Hand

We offer a range of therapies and a personalized treatment plan for adults and families who have experienced psychological trauma.

The Trauma Program is led by Dr. David Austern, Dr. Roni Avinadav, Dr. Paraskevi Noulas, Dr. Joshua Scott, Dr. Ariela Vasserman, Dr. Adam Mandel, and Dr. Jennifer Sawaya. Our experts are extensively trained in leading evidence-based interventions and work with you to develop a highly individualized treatment plan. Our approach takes into consideration the unique needs of each person to provide comprehensive, effective, and compassionate care.

Our team offers both in-person visits and online doctor visits through the NYU Langone Health app. The app is a secure and confidential platform that allows our doctors to provide personalized care to patients who want to work with their care team remotely or at flexible times.

Our therapies, which also improve symptoms of depression and anxiety, include:

Cognitive Processing Therapy

Cognitive processing therapy is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that examines the ways in which a person thinks about his or her trauma and whether these thoughts may be causing symptoms and keeping him or her stuck—for instance, beliefs about what caused the trauma or a person’s role in the trauma. It focuses on understanding the impact of the trauma on a person’s sense of safety, trust, intimacy, control, and esteem. In doing so, it helps a person work through and reclaim his or her life from the trauma.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy

Prolonged exposure therapy is a CBT designed to help process the trauma by engaging in, rather than avoiding, memories and reminders of the trauma. Research has shown that avoidance of trauma reminders and memories maintains PTSD symptoms; with a therapist’s help, patients learn that they can safely process what happened to them.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

In eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), a patient is asked by his or her doctor to recall a traumatic memory. At the same time, bilateral stimulation, such as listening to tones played in one ear and then the other, is applied. Through EMDR, traumatic memories become less vivid, less emotionally charged, and may no longer intrude into the present.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that teaches behavioral strategies to better manage strong emotions often caused by trauma. Strategies include mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation skills. It is especially helpful for people engaging in self-harming behaviors such as cutting. Group and individual DBT are offered.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and commitment therapy teaches mindfulness and meditation skills to help people live in accordance with their values in major realms of their life, such as work, relationships, and the community. The aim is to help a person build a meaningful life and to skillfully deal with painful feelings using approaches derived from Buddhist philosophy.

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

Psychodynamic psychotherapy teaches that the past is alive in the present. It explores how past relationships, experiences, and unresolved conflicts reappear in the present in a person’s symptoms and struggles. By gaining insight into these connections, a person’s responses to stressors can change and symptoms can be alleviated.