Format: Audio MP3 file download
Presenter: Christine Courtois, PhD, ABPP
Relational Healing for Relational Injury in the Treatment of Trauma
Traumatized individuals, especially those with histories of early childhood abuse and neglect and those who suffer extreme and cumulative forms of interpersonal trauma, often experience a wide range of posttraumatic difficulties. Many have their origins in disturbed and disrupted primary attachment relationships and the additive effects of other experiences of trauma. These layered trauma (often referred to as complex trauma), in turn, cause a complex response involving considerable psychological damage, both personally and interpersonally.
A therapeutic relationship is a primary intervention and context for distress of this sort, offering a secure base from which to examine and rework attachment difficulties, process the trauma, learn essential life and relational skills, and increase the capacity necessary for constructive relationships; however, developing a therapeutic relationship with traumatized patients offers numerous challenges. This presentation will identify relational issues that arise in this treatment and relational strategies for their identification and management. Ethics within the therapy relationship, vicarious trauma and countertransference responses and posttraumatic growth in the therapist will be discussed.