Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures

Title

Navigating the Challenges of Forming a Collaborative Relationship with Complex Trauma Survivors

Event Location / Date(s)

Chicago, IL

Document Type

Workshop

Presentation Date

3-24-2018

Conference Name / Publication Title

Annual Conference of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation

Description

In an era when the focus of psychotherapy training and practice is increasingly dominated by empirically supported manualized treatments, the powerful contribution of the therapeutic relationship to treatment outcome is obscured by an almost exclusive focus on standardized, structured interventions. The quality of the therapeutic alliance plays an especially decisive role in working with survivors of complex traumatization, who have not only been repeatedly maltreated, but also may have never experienced a safe interpersonal connection. Establishing such a relationship, therefore, is both a prerequisite for engaging in the therapeutic process and an essential medium for counteracting an intense sense of isolation from others, dissociative disconnection from self-experience, distorted perceptions of self, and a range of gaps and warps in development. Potential barriers to forming a collaborative treatment alliance posed by the traumatized client include distrust, intense unmet dependency needs, the belief that resolution of difficulties is not possible, and the conviction of being undeserving of a gratifying life. For the therapist, they include difficulty listening without judgment, the temptation to prematurely or excessively interpret, and failure to recognize and respect the traumatized client’s experience, perspective, and strengths. Material presented will be illustrated by ample case vignettes.

Learning Objectives:

  • Briefly describe two ways that the establishment of a collaborative therapeutic relationship contributes to treatment outcome in working with survivors of complex trauma and dissociation
  • Name two challenges to the formation of a collaborative therapeutic relationship commonly experienced by survivors of complex trauma
  • Name two challenges to the formation of a collaborative therapeutic relationship commonly experienced by theraptists in working with survivors of complex trauma
  • Briefly explain a strategy for overcoming one of the challenges to the formation of a collaborative therapeutic relationship commonly experienced by survivors of complex trauma
  • Briefly explain a strategy for overcoming one of the challenges to the formation of a collaborative therapeutic relationship commonly experienced by therapists in working with survivors of complex trauma.

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