About our Founders
Linda Gantt,PhD, ATR-BC
Dr. Gantt is the owner and Executive Director of Intensive Trauma Therapy. She is a board-certified art therapist (ATR-BC) with the Art Therapy Credentials Board. She is well known among art therapists, having served as president and journal editor of the American Art Therapy Association and as chair of the National Coalition of Art Therapies Associations. She is also a leading art therapy researcher and author, as well as the developer with Carmello Tabone of the internationally recognized Formal Elements Art Therapy Scale. Dr. Gantt has taught in a number of graduate art therapy programs including the George Washington University, Vermont College, Notre Dame de Namur, and Florida State University.
Dr. Gantt worked for seven years in her first art therapy position on the psychiatric and detoxification units at Prince George’s General Hospital, Cheverly, Maryland. During that time in the mid-1970s, the hospital staff did no routine screening for psychological traumas. The conventional wisdom was that such things were better left alone. But the art therapy program Dr. Gantt conducted provided patients a means of showing their subjective experiences when they had no words for them. With the benefit of hindsight, Dr. Gantt could look back and see that a number of people who were hospitalized repeatedly were actually trauma survivors.
Over her 40-year career, Dr. Gantt watched the field of traumatology grow and develop in its theories and research. As she and Dr. Tinnin developed their theoretical model, Dr. Gantt contributed her expertise in the nonverbal techniques of art therapy. She demonstrated that such techniques have the ability to not just manage trauma symptoms but to eliminate them for good.
Dr. Gantt is committed to spreading the word about effective trauma treatment through the professional training programs she has developed, her writings, and the intensive self-help website and mobile app www.HelpForTrauma.com and www.IntensiveSelfHelp.com. Linda strives to give trauma survivors tools for life that are useful far beyond the actual therapy sessions.
Dr. Louis Tinnin
Dr. Tinnin (1932-2014) had a successful 50-year career as a psychiatrist. He served tirelessly as the founder of two outpatient trauma clinics: Trauma Recovery Institute (1996-2006) and Intensive Trauma Therapy (2006-present). He and his wife, Linda Gantt, developed the Instinctual Trauma Response™ method from early clinical trials at Chestnut Ridge Hospital at West Virginia University (Morgantown, West Virginia) and the Louis A. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center (Clarksburg, West Virginia).
In the 1970s, Dr. Tinnin had a private practice in psychiatry in Laurel, Maryland. He was active in the politics of mental health and instrumental in getting the state of Maryland to pass a law requiring that general hospitals have psychiatric units at a time when even the most prestigious hospital in the state was little more than a warehouse for seriously disturbed psychiatric patients.
After moving to West Virginia in 1979, Dr. Tinnin served as the medical director of a community mental health center. In 1984, he joined the faculty of the Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry in the School of Medicine at West Virginia University, serving as associate professor and professor. He began learning more about post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an area that interested few people at the time.
Some cases that Dr. Tinnin saw in medical school stayed with him his entire life. He questioned the received wisdom of older doctors who did not comprehend how invasive medical procedures without anesthesia for babies could be traumatic. These doctors assumed the child’s nervous system was too immature to feel pain and, even if the child did feel it, he or she would not remember it. His clinical observations impelled Dr. Tinnin to work out procedures for dealing with early memories that were nonverbal but resulted in long-lasting and disturbing symptoms.
In 1992, Dr. Tinnin developed a Fellowship in Psychotraumatology in conjunction with WVU and the VA Medical Center. It was then that he began doing research on how to process traumatic events without reliving them including those in infancy and childhood.
After retiring from WVU in 1996 with the rank of professor emeritus, Dr. Tinnin established his own clinics, the Trauma Recovery Institute (TRI) (1996-2006) and Intensive Trauma Therapy (ITT) (2006-present), where he refined his ideas about effective, simple, and brief trauma treatment.
Dr. Tinnin wrote a number of professional papers and made over 200 national and international presentations. He and Linda authored The Instinctual Trauma Response and Dual Brain Dynamics (2014). Although Dr. Tinnin knew his health was failing, he continued to work on several projects until two weeks before his death. He was the driving force in making the
ITR™ method is available in digital form for survivors and therapists alike.
Dr. Tinnin was a strong supporter of the mental health emancipation and recovery movements. He devoted his life to collaborating with other professionals and spreading the good news that trauma can be easily and effectively healed.