Why We Started enCOURAGE
Despite greater awareness of trauma, most mental health treatment is developed to treat symptoms, but not the underlying traumas that drive them. As a result, many illnesses have high rates of recidivism, when the underlying trauma is unacknowledged or when treatment of trauma is postponed until stabilization of the symptom is achieved. Hence, many patients move from one self-destructive behavior to another, trying to manage their distress but only making it worse. There is much emerging evidence that treating trauma is critical to addressing many psychiatric illnesses. Denying or remaining unaware of the prevalence of trauma is a moral and political issue.
Patients may get symptoms stabilized in a treatment program, with the trauma processing work left for their outpatient providers. This leaves providers in a precarious position of trying to do emotionally challenging work with minimal support for the patient, outside of their sessions. They may fear the patient will be overwhelmed and relapse into symptoms.
Our program is designed to support the therapist and their patient, so that trauma work can be done safely.
Theresa Fassihi, PhD
I completed my PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Tulsa in 1998. I have worked in a variety of clinical settings, including the Veteran’s Hospital in Houston, the National Health Service in England, the Menninger Clinic, also here in Houston, and in the Intensive Outpatient and Partial Hospitalization programs of Houston Eating Disorders Center, which I founded in 2010. In 2015, Houston Eating Disorders Center became part of the Eating Recovery Center programs.
As an intern at the VA, I had my first exposure to the concept of trauma and the pervasive effects it had on our veterans. My subsequent work in a variety of settings showed me that trauma was rarely fully addressed in treatment. As an eating disorders specialist, I came to realize that full recovery from eating disorders requires working on past traumas.
For four years, I studied trauma and dissociation through ISSTD and began researching best practices for helping patients with their trauma. I greatly appreciate the mentorship of leading national experts in trauma. I am excited to work with my equally committed colleagues to provide support for deep trauma treatment.
I have been a clinical social worker for 13 years and operate a private practice in the Rice Village area. I earned my Master's Degree in Clinical Social Work from University of Houston's Graduate College of Social Work in 2006 and have worked with individuals with mental illness in outpatient, residential, and inpatient settings. I worked at the Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston with individuals with co-occurring disorders and at The Menninger Clinic in Houston for almost 5 years working on the Hope Unit with individuals with depression, anxiety, addictions, and personality disorders.
I have expertise and specialization in trauma-focused treatment, addictions work, cognitive behavior therapy and psychodynamic therapy. I provide individual, couples, and family psychotherapy to individuals with a history of trauma, mood and personality disorders. I am also leading a trauma psychoeducational group and trauma processing group.