Trauma Outpatient Center

The Trauma Outpatient Center is a specialized unit of the Center for Psychotherapy at Goethe University Frankfurt. In this center, we offer effective evidence-based treatments for patients suffering from trauma-related disorders such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), based on cognitive behavior therapy.

PTSD is a mental disorder people can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic (life-threatening) event, such as sexual assault, physical violence, natural disaster, serious accident, or warfare. The most common types of disturbing PTSD-symptoms are unwantedly re-experiencing the traumatic event (bad memories, nightmares, flashbacks, emotional or physical distress to trauma-related cues), avoidance of trauma-related stimuli (thoughts, feelings, reminders), negative thoughts or feelings (negative affect, negative assumptions about oneself or the world, decreased interest in activities, blame of self or others, feeling isolated, inability to recall key features of the traumatic event) and trauma-related arousal and reactivity (irritability or aggression, risky behavior, hypervigilance, difficulty concentrating and/or sleeping).

Affected patients are invited to register via telephone at the unit´s office, and then receive an initial session with one of our psychotherapists within two weeks time. This first session (called “Sprechstunde”) aims to assess the patient´s health problems and diagnosis. Our team of psychotherapists specialized in PTSD treatments reviews the case afterwards and decides on the therapeutic recommendation. An outpatient treatment comprises from 4 to 80 individual sessions, depending on the severity of the patient´s symptoms and the treatment chosen. These are being covered by the German Health Insurances.

In our outpatient clinic, several forms of cognitive behavior therapies for PTSD have been developed or studied: Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) focuses on maladaptive beliefs with regard to the trauma and its consequences. CPT teaches the patient how to change the upsetting thoughts and feelings he or she had since the trauma. Dialectical Behavior Therapy for PTSD (DBT-PTSD) was developed for patients with complex PTSD, addressing severe comorbid problems of emotion regulation which usually are found in victims of childhood abuse or interpersonal trauma. DBT-PTSD trains the patient in how to modulate his or her trauma-related emotions, thereby reducing for example self-injurious or suicidal behavior. Cognitive Restructuring and Imagery Modification is a brief effective treatment which teaches the patient how to identify and change dysfunctional mental images of the self with regard to the trauma. Finally, we also studied the use of mindfulness training and loving-kindness meditation in the treatment of PTSD. 

We can offer trauma-focused treatments which are effective without exposing the patient to trauma-related memories in a formal way, making the treatment more tolerable and less emotionally painful.

Additionally, we are part of a practitioner network of the state of Hessia, offering victims of interpersonal violence diagnosis and treatment of trauma-related disorders according to a law called “Opferentschädigungsgesetz”. It ensures to compensate victims with mental health problems after experiencing sexual or physical violence. In these cases, the state of Hessia covers 15 sessions of psychotherapy.