Welcome! My guest today is Lisa Ferentz, LCSW-C, who is in
private practice in Baltimore, specializing in treating child and
adult survivors of trauma, abuse, and neglect. She’s a nationally
known author, speaker, trainer, and consultant.
What you’ll hear in this episode:
- After 32 years in private practice, Lisa knows that trauma
survivors use coping strategies such as eating disorders,
addictions, self-mutilation, depression, anxiety, and relationship
- Lisa does consulting work for clinicians in the US and Canada;
she has written two books and has two more in process.
- Early in her practice, Lisa realized how important it is to
approach her work from the viewpoint of being a good student and
learning from your clients.
- In the exciting world of therapy today, incredible connections
are being made between trauma and the impact on the brain.
- Lisa advises that clinicians be more aware and mindful in
working with the body in trauma work.
- Lisa explains “dual awareness,” meaning being aware of what’s
happening in both the client’s and clinician’s body during
- Lisa explains the “vasovagal zone” of the body and tracking
sensations in the area that houses 80% of emotions.
- Trauma is stored visually and viscerally, and can present with
actual physical pain, such as:
- Limb pain
- Chronic migraines
- Stomach/GI upset
- One technique is to start with the body and work your way into
words to deal with trauma.
- Movement and expressive arts can also be used in trauma
- Simplistic art therapy strategies can open the door to
visually-based modality when a client is unable to communicate with
- Lisa uses drawing, collaging, and sand tray art so a client can
SHOW their narrative, share a memory, or process an emotion.
- Clinicians have to refrain from interpreting the client’s art
- Lisa explains the stigma associated with borderline personality
disorder as opposed to identifying the same client as a
- Lisa introduces her books: Treating Self-Destructive
Behavior in Trauma Survivors: A Clinician’s Guide and
Letting Go of Self-Destructive Behaviors: A Workbook of Hope
and Healing. One is for clinicians and one is for
- In treating trauma survivors, you have to give them new tools
to replace self-destructive behavior—other ways to self-soothe and
regulate their pain.
- Lisa explains why she doesn’t like standard safety contracts
because they introduce a power struggle between client and
- “The goal is that trauma therapy doesn’t
- Lisa gives details about her Institute in Baltimore, in its
9th year of offering certification programs in Advanced
Trauma Treatment, working with expressive modalities and
traditional talk therapy. The Institute offers ethics training,
from which 700 clinicians have already graduated. Her website
includes a calendar of CEU training and the details about the
Trauma Certificate Levels 1 & 2.
- Find out more about Lisa and her work: www.lisaferentz.com.