Trauma Treatment and SOI ALA-PLA Learning Therapy


A psychiatrist referred an adult male, a 52-year-old American citizen, who grew up in El Salvador. He was on psychiatric disability and taking multiple strong medications. Juan was abandoned by his parents, placed in a brutal orphanage, and had witnessed multiple murders and murders, as well as the assassination of Archbishop Romero, who was declared a martyr by the Pope; he was often beaten severely for being dyslexic. He felt hopeless, useless, and in perpetual panic. He was a hard worker, but eventually, he was unable to do his job.

As a psychologist, I used a trauma-erasing technique called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and deep relaxation therapy. After five sessions, it was so successful that he felt “happy” for the first time in his memory. His psychiatrist diminished his medications, and I thought it was the last session, but Juan said, “There’s one last thing I want to work on. Can you teach me to read?”

Of course I said “yes” and I explained how he could take the SOI test online. A month went by and I hadn’t heard from Juan, so I texted him. He replied, “Good evening Doctor. I’m almost done, but I have taken long cause it gives me high anxiety when taking it and it blocks my mind. I just need 6 more modules. I should finish tonight. I’m so afraid of the results.”

When Juan submitted his transmit file for his SOI test he added, “Only God can decide my future. I follow Him.”  His profile revealed the following:

With the exception of auditory memory, Juan tested at the bottom stanine in every subtest! He will begin LOCAN, and then will work on his own SOI individual CD and workbook! I will continue to monitor his progress and report it to you. I hope to have exciting results to report at the Advanced SOI workshop in July.

The moral of the story: When a student, no matter how old, has suffered complex trauma, the psychological must be treated first using specific and evidence-based trauma treatments. According to the Meeker Paradigm, this second area, “Social-Emotional,” precedes area three, “Cognitive-Academic.”

written by: Valerie Maxwell, Ph.D., Psychologist

Click here to read the next part of Juan’s story.

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