Belief, patience, connection: Relationship above and beyond evidence in trauma treatment (August 4, Denver CO)

The evidence-based psychotherapy relationship variables constitute the entry point for psychotherapy with survivors of complex childhood trauma. In the absence of empathy, positive regard, respect, genuineness, and the strong desire to repair ruptures on the part of the therapist, any treatment will likely fail. This is because the psychotherapist working with those who have been harmed by humans at early stages of their development has a complex-trauma specific set of tasks to perform. These tasks, which occur in both the manifest and symbolic realms of treatments, have to do with behaving so that the therapist, a human and thus a trauma cue, transforms into a safe-enough connection with whom the survivor is able to risk attachment.

This presentation builds on the two previous ones to discuss the advanced skills necessary for successful work with complex trauma survivors. These include the capacity to believe the extremely painful material that survivors of complex trauma must at some point share, the patience to remain fully present during the process of the survivor acquiring trust, and the willingness to maintain an open-hearted connection in the context of traumatic transference and countertransference material. The genuine joys and rewards of working with survivors of complex trauma, and the existential value inherent in this work, will also be discussed.

Where to attend

  • Event: American Psychological Association Annual Convention
  • Sponsoring organization: APA Division of Trauma Psychology
  • Registration information: Free to all registered APA Convention participants
  • Date: Thursday, August 4th, 2016
  • Time: 3:00-3:50pm
  • Room: 601 Level 2 – Meeting Room Level
  • Venue: Denver Convention Center
  • City: Denver, CO