Working with Adult Survivors of Childhood Trauma

This course has no current classes. Please the waiting list.

Childhood trauma is often the underlying issue for people who present with a range of physical and mental health conditions including substance abuse, eating disorders, self-harming behaviour and dissociation. The complex adaptations which enable survival in childhood become the problems that interfere with quality of life in adulthood. Clinicians who may be unaware of these adaptations may really struggle to understand these behaviours. The survivor of childhood trauma consequently gets labelled as ‘difficult’, ‘challenging’, ‘manipulative’ or ‘borderline’ and the clinician feels frustrated, incompetent and traumatised.

Early childhood trauma, particularly sexual abuse can have implications for the development of self and personality. A fragmentation of personality often leads to a presentation that is difficult for workers to understand. Dissociative Identity Disorder is not uncommon among this group. In fact, what is common is spending many years in a mental health system without getting the appropriate support. Many survivors of child abuse have indeed been further traumatised by the ‘helping’ system or professional.

This two day workshop will offer an opportunity for workers to make sense of the complex presentations that result from childhood abuse. Participants will be provided with an opportunity to explore a framework for working with adults who have experienced child abuse. A variety of educational strategies will be used in this interactive two day workshop.

Participants will be given the opportunity to:

  • Explore a therapeutic framework for working with adult survivors of child abuse (complex trauma)
  • Understand the process of personality fragmentation (structural dissociation of self)
  • Make explicit the link between childhood attachment and adult behaviours
  • Explore attachment behaviours within the therapeutic relationship
  • Explore approaches to working with dissociation
  • Understand the importance of the shift from implicit to explicit memory when processing trauma
  • Examine the experience of shame and self-hatred for childhood trauma survivors
  • Look beyond the talking therapies when working with complex trauma
  • Explore ways to work with sympathetic and parasympathetic arousal
  • Understand the importance of managing vicarious trauma when working with trauma survivors

Who should attend?

Counsellors, psychologists, social workers, health professionals or any clinician who works in a therapeutic role with adult survivors of childhood trauma