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Complex trauma

Complex trauma is a condition that develops due to some form of abuse during childhood and/or adolescence. This abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional or neglecting behavior. Due to this abuse occurring at a time when an individual is young and vulnerable it can have life-long lasting effects including long standing emotional and interpersonal difficulties. These difficulties are often reinforced and maintained by trauma related schemas that are developed and are influenced by the trauma that the individual has experienced.


What is a schema?

A schema is an extremely stable, enduring set of beliefs that develop during childhood and adolescence. These schemas influence how we see the world and provide a template for not only our own sense of self, but how we view others. Our schemas act as an ‘emotional button’ and when triggered an individual can experience emotions that are painful and distressing. These emotions tend to become overwhelming and often the individual is left to engage in dysfunctional coping strategies to manage the trigger. This experience of emotion and coping is often described as an ‘emotional rollercoaster’ and leads the sufferer feeling confused, lonely, exhausted and helpless.


TVC Four Week Complex Trauma Program

The Victoria Clinic offers a four week specialist inpatient program aimed at:

  1. Understanding how schemas have developed and how they relate to a person’s mental health symptoms
  2. Understanding how an individual’s past experience has led to the development of their individual schemas
  3. Understanding the emotional states and reactions related to complex trauma
  4. Helping individuals develop more adaptive affect regulation strategies
  5. Helping individuals develop adaptive skills to manage any trauma specific symptoms
  6. Helping individuals develop safe connections with others within a therapeutic space and explore interpersonal dynamics


Patients who wish to be considered for this inpatient program will need to obtain a psychiatric referral from their General Practioner and email this referral with their enquiry to TVCSchema@healthscope.com.au.

Alternatively, referrals can be faxed directly on 9526 0254. Once a referral is received, a member of the schema team will be in contact to discuss the assessment process.

Participants who have an existing relationship with The Victoria Clinic can be directly referred to the inpatient program by their accredited TVC Psychiatrist.

The assessment process for the Schema Therapy Complex Trauma program is broken down into three phases:


Phase one: Expression of interest and phone screen

Once a GP referral has been received a member of the schema team will contact the patient to discuss the program and gather some brief information regarding the patients presenting symptoms. If the patient meets preliminary criteria and is happy to commence the assessment process, a clinical assessment will be arranged.


Phase two: Clinical Assessment

The patient will be required to attend a clinical assessment with a member from the schema team. This assessment will go for approximately two hours and will involve a combination of clinical interview and self-report measures. This session will also provide an opportunity for patients to ask any questions they may have about the program and establish program goals.


Phase three:

Once a clinical assessment has been conducted, the schema team will be to discuss the outcome of the assessment. Here treatment recommendations will be discussed and suitability for the program will be determined. Patients will be notified of the outcome of this meeting via phone, and treatment recommendations will be discussed.

The Complex Trauma Program is a 4 week inpatient admission.

Over the course of the inpatient stay, participants are required to attend:

  • 2 Schema Therapy Group sessions per day ( Monday to Friday )
  • 2 Individual Schema Therapy sessions per week

Patients will also have access to the general inpatient program that is offered on the ward.

Participation in groups is compulsory, and missed groups may lead to discharge from the program.

Intake One: 5th February to 28th February

Intake Two: 5th May to 30th May

Intake Three: 5th August to 29th August

Intake Four: 4th November to 29th November

*please note intakes are dependent of number of referrals. Limited spaces available for each intake

Upon completion of the four week inpatient cycle patients will meet with the schema team to discuss ongoing care options. This may include involvement in TVC day programs or community recommendations.


It is STRONGLY recommended that individuals who complete the program have access to individual therapy in the community.

Dr Gregor Schutz
MB ChB MPsych Univ, of Melb, FRANZCP
Medical Director of Schema Therapy Program
Website

Dr Gregor Schutz is a Melbourne-based psychiatrist specialising in the assessment, treatment and ongoing management of mental illness.

This includes chronic depression, anxiety disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder, mood disorders, including bipolar mood disorder, addictions (alcohol, drug, gambling), personality disorders and psychosis. Dr Schutz operates a private practice from The Victoria Clinic, 306-308 Malvern Road, Prahran, where is the medical director of the Schema Therapy Program.

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