Dr. Pokrajac is an expert in the field of trauma recovery. She specializes in treating a variety of problems that stem from traumatic situations such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, torture, bullying, auto accidents, exposure to violence, combat-related trauma, and victim of violent crime. Such trauma may result in the following conditions:
- Acute Stress Disorder
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Complex PTSD
- Dissociative Disorders
Dr. Pokrajac is a pioneer in creating successful integrative treatment models that utilize Stress Inoculation Training, Mindfulness Training, Cognitive-Behavioral interventions, Behavioral interventions, DBT, EMDR, and other exposure-based treatments (such as writing therapy, imaginal exposure, and hypnotherapy) and art/expressive therapy. Dr. Pokrajac approaches trauma treatment from a stage-based model, viewing pacing of treatment as imperative to improved functioning for clients. She firmly believes clients need to feel a sense of control and empowerment in their lives and the pace of treatment must honor these needs.
The spectrum of trauma issues is broad. Trauma treatment can involve addressing 1) a single event trauma such as being in traumatic car or plane accident, being a victim of sexual abuse/rape or assault, witnessing a traumatic event (such as a shooting, or abuse/trauma of another person), or exposure to natural disaster or fire, or 2) Complex or multiple traumas such as ongoing sexual abuse, repeated exposure to violence, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and other traumas. The treatment for a single event trauma can often be resolved with shorter-term treatment whereas complex trauma often involves longer term treatment.
Dr. Pokrajac has expertise in the assessment and treatment of sexual trauma including child sexual abuse, incest, and rape. Dr. Pokrajac also works with clients who have been sexually violated by a helping professional and those abused by clergy or religious leaders. Sexual trauma often has lasting effects on the individual and treatment is helpful in processing the impact of the trauma and restoring one’s sense of self. Many clients seek treatment long after the sexual abuse has ended, as they find the abuse still lingers in their thoughts, dreams, and emotional reactions. In most cases of sexual trauma, time alone does not heal and one needs to talk about the experiences and the effect it has had on them.
Often the sexual trauma affects one’s ability to deal with emotions effectively, impacts emotional and sexual intimacy for many and can lead to behavior and interpersonal problems. Psychotherapy helps one process the abusive experiences in a safe trusting environment. Many people have not discussed in-depth their abusive past and have felt alone in dealing with such painful and confusing experiences. Psychotherapy provides a place of healing. Similar to the description of trauma disorders (see above), various treatment approaches are utilized by Dr. Pokrajac in treating sexual trauma.
Dr. Pokrajac has extensive experience treating Depression and Bipolar Disorder. She will make a referral to a Psychiatrist if you require a medication evaluation and/or will collaborate with your Psychiatrist if you already have one. Our treatment approach incorporates Cognitive-Behavioral, Dialectical Behavioral interventions along with psychodynamic approaches. Dr. Pokrajac also works with families struggling with a family member who suffers from these conditions.
Dr. Pokrajac has specialized training in treating Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Social Phobia, Generalized Anxiety and other Phobias. She utilizes Cognitive-Behavioral and Behavioral interventions to decrease anxiety. She incorporates relaxation training, breathing techniques, and mindfulness as part of the treatment approach. She is also trained in exposure-based models and utilize systematic desensitization when indicated. Dr. Pokrajac utilizes EMDR in addressing specific phobias (ex. The fear of flying). She take a holistic approach, which involves addressing your thinking, your emotions, your body, and your environment. Negative thoughts can produce anxiety and fear that leads to physiological symptoms that then leads to more negative thinking and more anxiety. It is often a vicious circle.
By learning ways to identify your thinking patterns and learn healthier ways of assessing situations that are anxiety producing, you can reduce negative emotions. Dr. Pokrajac assists you in identifying, expressing and managing your emotions. She also assesses your health related behaviors such as your diet, exercise, and other behaviors that might increase stress on your body thus increasing your stress response and anxiety. The goal is to assist you in getting free from disabling anxiety and stress so you can live a more relaxed and enjoyable life. Some individuals may find it helpful to address the deeper reasons that contribute to their anxiety and may benefit from psychodynamic psychotherapy. In this case, Dr. Pokrajac would first work on gaining tools to manage and reduce anxiety then address the deeper factors that contribute to the anxiety.
Dr Pokrajac assists her clients in developing skills to more effectively manage time, improve focus & attention, and improve on task behavior & ability to complete work. Attention problems can affect productivity, work and school achievement, relationships, and self-esteem. Learning skills to more effectively manage these challenges can be helpful in achieving a more satisfying and productive life. A referral to a psychiatrist can be made in the event the client feels medication might be a useful tool in assisting him/her with focus. Mindfulness training may also be used to assist you in learning to stay focused and centered.
Dr. Pokrajac’s approach to Couple’s therapy addresses the current dynamics within the couple as well as understanding the family and relationship histories of the partners and how they impact the relationship of the couple. Dr. Pokrajac offers pre-marital and marital therapy for couples who:
- want to enhance their relationship by improving communication and conflict resolution skills.
- want to address repetitive problems, a recent crisis, or gain increased closeness and depth to their relationship.
- want to address sexual issues in the relationship.
Divorce is an extremely stressful process. Dr. Pokrajac is here to help you navigate through the many issues divorce produces including loss, changes in the family structure, living situation, and stress of legal process. Therapy can help improve your mood and guide you through the divorce and transitional process. It can also assist you in developing a new life for you and your children. Therapy can also help you to sort out the conflicts you are having with your ex-spouse, often resulting in a reduction of attorney fees as you are able to separate out the purely legal matters from emotional conflicts.
Dr. Pokrajac can assist you with developing and managing a parenting plan between two households. Often in post-divorce, the parents continue to have challenges communicating about issues related to the children and conflicts ensue. Co-parenting counseling allows the parents a safe place to talk with a mediator present. The goal is to address the issues of the children, the parenting plan, and ways to reduce conflict. Issues such as scheduling, the holidays, children’s activities, children’s problems, and school-related issues are discussed with decisions being made in the session. Co-parenting counseling can reduce the likelihood of returning to court to address custody issues, thus minimizing financial costs. Additionally, it often improves the working relationship between the co-parents. Co-parenting counseling’s goal is to reduce the stress the children feel from high conflict divorce and from multiple changes of two households. If the parents can more effectively work together without conflict and stress, the children will adjust more easily.
Dr. Pokrajac treats drug and alcohol addiction, sexual addiction and other compulsive behaviors. If you are in a recovery program, Dr. Pokrajac will work with you and other treatment providers to assist you in your recovery. Dr. Pokrajac works with individuals both pre and post rehabilitation treatment and coordinates treatment with addiction treatment programs. She can also work with you and other members of your family related to your addiction issues. She is supportive of your 12-step involvement and works alongside this treatment approach.
Dr. Pokrajac has worked in inpatient and intensive outpatient treatment programs, as well as working with individuals on an outpatient basis. She works collaboratively with you, your physician, nutritionist, and other treatment providers to provide comprehensive and effective care. She has extensive experience working with Anorexia, Bulimia, and Compulsive Overeating. Dr. Pokrajac utilizes Cognitive-Behavioral, Behavioral and Dynamically informed interventions. Dr. Pokrajac provides family therapy and/or family involvement in treatment when deemed helpful to the client.