Jan 31  —  Feb 25

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Transforming Trauma-Related Resistance and Stuckness

February 7 – 11, 2022   |   9:00 am – 12:30 pm daily

Week 2

Presented by Janina Fisher

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Janina Fisher - Trauma Therapy - Week 2 Innovations in Psychotherapy Cancun 2022
trauma therapy
trauma therapy

About this workshop

Coming to therapy is a cry for help, requiring the ability to acknowledge vulnerability.

But for clients who have been abused, abandoned, or rejected, being vulnerable is associated with powerlessness, humiliation, and violence — something to be resisted at all costs.

Almost every kind of trauma or painful experience in life involves incompetence or cruelty perpetrated by other human beings. No matter how much clients sincerely want our help through trauma therapy, they cannot control the triggering of instinctive fight, flight, or submission defenses in the presence of other human beings.

Should a client experiencing trauma commit to therapy or flee? Fight against the therapist’s every effort? Or “submit” by coming to therapy, but then not be fully participating?

For clients with trauma, to seek help may bring initial relief in a moment of crisis, but it also inevitably raises doubts: Is it better to trust or avoid trusting?

Whether resistance to trauma therapy manifests as a passive aggressive “no” to every therapeutic intervention, or as unchecked self-destructive behavior, a struggle for therapeutic control, or desperation for help alternating with resistance to accepting it, the underlying dilemma for traumatized clients is the same. What we label as resistance may actually reflect inherent trauma related conflicts activated by all forms of treatment and all types of therapists.

In this workshop, we will explore the complex relationships between these internal trauma related conflicts and resistance in psychotherapy.

Using techniques drawn from Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems, and other mindfulness-based models, participants will learn how to decode resistance or stuckness and help clients work with it as an internal conflict instead of a therapeutic issue.

When we help clients befriend the resistance, we become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the attendee will have learned to:

  • Identify the effects of traumatic experience on attachment formation.

  • Discuss the role of implicit memory in post-traumatic symptoms.

  • Describe manifestations of animal defense survival responses.

  • Differentiate common conflicts between survival defenses observed in relationships.

  • Summarize the aspects of psychotherapy that evoke defensive responses in traumatized clients.

  • Describe the association between client resistance or stuckness and trauma-related survival defenses.

  • Discuss ways of evoking curiosity in stuck or resistant clients.

  • Articulate the role of “re-framing” the symptoms in trauma treatment.

  • Utilize Sensorimotor Psychotherapy interventions to help clients notice resistance without shame.

  • Summarize the structural dissociation model for understanding resistance.

  • Utilize parts-related interventions to resolve internal struggles and conflicts.

CE Credits

US attendees: This workshop is approved for CE Credits (16.25 hours) by Praxis Continuing Education and Training. For information about CE Credits, click here.

A few words from Janina about this workshop

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FREE Pre-Event Virtual Speaker Meet & Greet with Janina Fisher: October 27 from 11:15 am - 11:45 am ET

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RSVP now for the pre-event Speaker Meet & Greet with Janina Fisher

Click here to learn more about Janina Fisher

Additional Workshop Details

Target Audience:
Marriage and Family Therapists, Clinical and Counseling Psychologists, Psychiatric Social Workers, Pastoral Counselors, Psychotherapists, Psychiatrists, Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Occupational Therapists, Counselors, Graduate Students in Accredited Programs in these fields

What level of knowledge should the attendee have in this topic?

Daily Workshop Agenda

Time Frame Content (Topics)
9:00 am – 10:15 am Trauma and attachment
10:15 am – 10:30 am Morning break
10:30 am – 12:30 pm Getting to know the help-rejecting complainer, passive-aggressive clients, chronic suicidality, shut down and “not there” clients who struggle for control of the therapy, hopelessness and immobility
9:00 am – 10:15 am Understanding resistance as defensive, not offensive
10:15 am – 10:30 am Morning break
10:30 am – 12:30 pm Uncovering trauma-related phobias of vulnerability, closeness and distance, visibility and invisibility, hypervigilance and mistrust. How therapy evokes animal defense survival responses
9:00 am – 10:15 am Understanding resistance and stuckness as struggles between parts
10:15 am – 10:30 am Morning break
10:30 am – 12:30 pm Exploring survival responses and strategies, re-framing resistance as adaptive, sharing the dilemma — some parts want help, some fear it and others fight to resist it
9:00 am – 10:15 am Overcoming our “resistance” to resistance. Delving into competing agendas of client and therapist, how our minds and bodies respond to client stuckness, how to use ourselves to navigate the client’s fear of closeness and fear of distance
10:15 am – 10:30 am Morning break
10:30 am – 12:30 pm Psychotherapy as “play space”: therapeutic benefits of laughter and playfulness
9:00 am – 10:15 am Healing the wounds of the past. Discussing internal soothing and comfort for hurt and fearful parts, “negotiated settlements” with protectors
10:15 am – 10:30 am Morning break
10:30 am – 12:30 pm Creating a sense of “we”, including parts who resist, parts who collaborate and the therapist; enjoying the struggles rather than resisting them

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