Therapists often face trauma related resistance coupled with conflict to psychotherapy, meaning clients can create barriers to the very help they need. Explore ways to get clients “unstuck” and working “with” you in this hands-on workshop.
Transforming Trauma Related Resistance and Stuckness – Janina Fisher
Coming to therapy is a cry for help, requiring the ability to acknowledge vulnerability. But for those with trauma, those who have been abused, abandoned or rejected, being vulnerable in therapy is associated with powerlessness, humiliation, and violence.
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 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 as unchecked self-destructive behavior, a struggle for therapeutic control, or desperation for help alternating with resistance to accepting it, the underlying dilemma working with clients experiencing trauma 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.
What you will learn in this workshop
- 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.
US attendees: This workshop is approved for CE Credits (16.25 hours) by the Institute for Better Health. For information about CE Credits, click here.