The tamar program David Washington, lgsw

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The TAMAR Program

  • David Washington, LGSW

  • Office of Technical Assistance


TAMAR Treatment Manual

  • The TAMAR Manual consists of 15 modules

  • Modules incorporate psychodynamic therapy with expressive art therapy and psycho-educational techniques

Module 1

  • What is Trauma?

    • Who Cares, Why Bother, What’s in it for Me?
      • Recognition of traumatic reactions makes management of survivors’ much easier
      • A little bit of trauma awareness goes a long way
      • Ongoing trauma treatment across a continuum of care is a major contributing factor to reducing recidivism in this population

Module 2

  • What is Abuse?

    • Physical and Emotional
      • Goal is to recognize behaviors/actions that constitute physical and emotional abuse
      • Recognize the impact of physical and emotional abuse on their lives

Module 3

  • What is Abuse?

    • Sexual Abuse
      • Goal is to recognize how sexual abuse has impacted their lives.
      • Recognize self-defeating thoughts and behaviors and begin to develop their right to a healthy self-concept

Module 4

  • Trauma and Addiction

    • Goal is to recognize addictive/compulsive behaviors as coping mechanisms
    • Make the connection between addictive/compulsive behaviors and their trauma

Module 5

  • Facts on HIV/AIDS

    • Goal is to provide facts about HIV/AIDS as well as discuss myths and misconceptions
    • Demonstration of behavior skills to reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission
    • This module may be triggering to many women and needs to be presented in a trauma context (i.e. presentation of overt sexual materials introduced with permission to feel and voice upset)

Module 6

  • Sexual Communication and Negotiation Skills

    • Discuss what constitutes sexual communication (both verbal and non-verbal)
    • Provides an opportunity to role-play negotiation skills (includes sexual assertiveness, safe sex, and refusal of unsafe sex)

Module 7

  • Containment

    • Why containment instead of disclosure?
    • Goal is to help members describe levels of consciousness and understand the different parts of memory.
    • Increases self-awareness

Module 8

  • Containment II - Grounding

    • Goal is to identify different grounding techniques.
    • Members will be able to practice grounding techniques daily, outside of group

Module 9

  • Tolerating Distress

    • Each member will begin to distinguish the negative aspects of being unable to tolerate distress
    • Each member will be able to recognize and verbalize benefits to learning how to tolerate distress

Module 10

  • Self-Soothing

    • Members will identify existing methods of self-comfort
    • Each member will begin to distinguish healthy ways of coping from harmful/damaging ways

Module 11

  • Boundaries and Safety

    • Members begin to develop a sense of how much or how little control they have over what happens to their bodies
    • Begin to understand how to set interpersonal limits.
    • Boundary exercises (physical, verbal)

Module 12

  • Trust and Intimacy

    • Members will be able to identify at least 1 barrier which inhibits their ability to trust other people
    • Members will be able to identify intimacy and see how as separate from sex

Module 13

  • Parenting

    • Discuss how trauma, substance abuse, and mental health issues have affected their parenting choices and ability to parent
    • How trauma affects attachment

Module 14

  • Life Story

    • Group members are given the opportunity to share their life story with the group
    • Members will understand how trauma has impacted their entire life

Module 15

  • Closing Ritual

    • Members experience healthy closure
    • Members will learn to delineate leavings and their importance to the group
    • Helps members internalize messages from the group experience

Recovery Criteria

  • Physical symptoms of PTSD are within manageable limits

  • Person is able to bear feelings associated with traumatic memories.

  • Memories don’t limit what he/she chooses to do

  • Memory of trauma is linked with feeling

  • Damaged self-esteem is restored

  • Important relationships have been reestablished

  • Person has reconstructed a system of meaning & belief that encompasses the story of the trauma

Joan Gillece PhD


  • 703-682-5195

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