Attachment, relational trauma and therapist self-care with Christiane Sanderson
Survivors of relational trauma are commonly terrified of closeness and intimacy and can be mistrustful of attachment as they strive to protect themselves through excessive independence and self-reliance, making it difficult to engage in the therapeutic relationship.
This training day looks at the factors that inhibit attachment such as lack of attunement and mentalisation, dissociation, shame, traumatic bonding, and fear of abandonment – and how to work with these relational inhibitors to minimise distancing, make contact and facilitate connection. In presenting relevant elements of attachment theory and research it will look at the role of attachment, the range of attachment styles, including disorganised attachment, and how these manifest in the therapeutic relationship both in the client and practitioner. Emphasis will be placed on examining emotions that arise when working with relational trauma and what happens if the practitioner finds it hard to engage with the client and becomes avoidant and disconnects.
Through a range of experiential exercises, practitioners will be able to explore their own attachment style and learn how to develop strategies to maximise engagement with survivors, reduce shame and restore relational worth. In addition, the impact of trauma work on practitioners will be examined alongside the need for therapist self-care to minimise the risk of burn out, vicarious traumatisation and secondary traumatic stress.
Topics covered include:
- Attachment theory and research.
- The range of attachment styles, especially disorganised attachment, in both client and practitioner.
- Traumatic bonding.
- The interplay of client and practitioner attachment style and how this can aid or hinder the therapeutic relationship.
- Strategies and skills to engage survivors.
- How to make and sustain contact and connection by being present and embodied.
- How to manage clients fear of ending and sense of loss.
- The cost of caring and the importance of therapist self-care.
- The risk of ‘burnout’, vicarious traumatisation and secondary traumatic stress.
Christiane Sanderson BSc MSc is a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Roehampton. With 28 years experience working in child sexual abuse, interpersonal trauma and domestic abuse, she has run consultancy and training for parents, teachers, social workers, nurses, therapists, counsellors, solicitors, the Catholic safeguarding advisory committee, the Methodist church, the Metropolitan police service, the NSPCC and the refugee council. She is the author of many books on trauma, shame and childhood sexual abuse, including Counselling Skills for Working with Trauma (JKP 2013).
About Bramham Therapy
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We provide cutting-edge continuing professional development (CPD) seminars for counsellors and psychotherapists from all modalities (including those in training). We bring leading trainers to deliver these workshops, mostly in Newbury.