Complex Trauma & Challenging Client Presentations: Addressing Five Clinical Dilemmas with Mindfulness, Compassion & Resilience (John Briere)


Discover a mindfulness approach to maintaining resilience and compassion when working with trauma survivors.

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In this new workshop, Dr. Briere will describe five major clinical dilemmas often encountered by clinicians working with complex trauma in adolescents and adults:

  1. Self-injury
  2. Active substance abuse
  3. Major dissociative symptoms (other than DID)
  4. Sexualized behavior, including with the clinician
  5. Angry and challenging behavior directed toward the therapist

John will describe hands-on, evidence-based treatment approaches for each of these client presentations that are technically validated but nonauthoritarian and empowering. Equally important, he will discuss ways in which the therapist can foster mindfulness, self-compassion, and attunement to avoid triggered countertransference and maximize self-care.

John will also summarize state-of-the-art interventions for each of these five dilemmas and will offer a hands-on, mindfulness-informed approach to maintaining attunement and equanimity in the face of challenging clinical presentations. He will show how appreciation of the client’s suffering can be balanced with self-attunement skills to allow the clinician to maintain a form of objectivity where the client is fully engaged but the therapist does not become enmeshed in unhelpful dynamics.

Multiple opportunities for case consultation and collegial group discussion will be provided as well focused skills development exercises like the mindfulness based “ReGAIN” approach to triggered countertransference.

From his early work on childhood trauma to his ongoing visionary integration of mindfulness, relational issues, and psychotherapy, as well as his 15 books and decades of teaching, workshops, and consultations to thousands of therapists and trainees, John Briere’s innovative approaches to helping trauma survivors have influenced generations of psychotherapists. The newest of his contributions include two upcoming books: Principles of Trauma Therapy: A Guide to Symptoms, Evaluation & Treatment, 3rd edition (Sage, late 2023) and Psychological Assessment of Adult Posttraumatic States, 3rd edition (APA, in progress).

What You Will Learn In This Workshop

  • Explore trigger management techniques that can be used with clients, including trigger identification, breath-based relaxation, grounding, urge-surfing, and harm reduction approaches.
  • Explore modern clinical approaches to five emotionally activating clinical presentations, including indications and counterindications.
  • Learn how to cultivate mindful attunement in the face of extreme client suffering, using the Buddhist notion of “inviting pain to tea.”
  • Learn how to maintain equanimity and grow as a therapist when working with challenging clients and situations.
  • Learn about dispassionate compassion as it relates to work with challenging clients.
  • Establish metacognitive awareness of one’s own trauma history in work with trauma clients as a way to reduce emotional reactivity.
  • Practice a ReGAINing exercise that deescalates triggered countertransference.

US CE credits pending. Click here for details about CE credits..

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