Resources for mental health professionals who work with stalking victims are generally limited to safety planning and crisis counseling. These tools are necessary and helpful, but do not address the terrifying effect that the continual threat has on the client’s sympathetic nervous system. The average non-intimate partner stalking case lasts for about one year, whereas the average intimate partner stalking case generally increases in intensity and lasts over two years (Brewster, 2003). This presentation will demonstrate how Brainspotting can be used as a tool to regulate triggered responses, connect traumatic material that is triggered by the continual threat, and create new neural pathways around empowerment and strength. This presentation will also differentiate between Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Ongoing Traumatic Stress Response (Diamond, Lipsitz, & Hoffman, 2013) and how the two need to be handled differently in a clinical setting.
Kymberly Stephens has been a licensed counselor for over 10 years and has focused her clinical work with trauma survivors for the bulk of her career. She is a Certified Expert Trauma Professional, Certified Complex Trauma Professional, and a Certified Brainspotting Practitioner. She developed a passion for working with stalking victims and survivors in 2013 when she discovered that there is very little research on how to effectively work with stalking victims outside of crisis counseling and safety planning. Kymberly has worked in inpatient and outpatient settings and currently is a co-owner of Midtown Counseling in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She is in the process of developing a 6 week training program to assist mental health professionals with their clinical treatment of stalking victims.