The Therapeutic Relationship is Your Most Powerful Tool (and Biggest Pitfall): Relational Strategies to Effectively Treat Challenging Trauma Clients



Event Details



Date: December 10 and 11,  2018                                                                                    


Facilitator: Robert T. Muller, PhD, C.Psych

This training is suitable for: Counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, health and social care professionals practicing in health, education and social care settings and in private practice, and who have a core professional training.  It is suitable for therapists working in all modalities.


Registration includes a copy of Dr. Muller's new book, Trauma and the Struggle to Open Up: From Avoidance to Recovery and Growth.  


This practical workshop, led by Dr. Robert T. Muller, a leading expert on trauma therapy and globally acclaimed author of the psychotherapy bestseller: Trauma & the Avoidant Client - is aimed at building our understanding of the psychotherapeutic relationship with challenging trauma clients.


As therapists, while all of us try to maintain a strong and healthy therapeutic relationship, this can be often easier said than done.  Trauma clients struggle to trust the therapist: MANY minimize their own traumatic experiences or become help-rejecting.  Others rush into the work, seeking a "quick fix", despite a long history of interpersonal trauma.


Drawing upon attachment theory and research, and upon a wealth of clinical experience.  Dr. Muller explains how, as psychotherapists, psychologists, counsellors and psychiatrists, we can work with such hard-to-treat clients, how we can find points of entry and ways in which we can make contact.  Using a relational, psychodynamic approach, the workshop discusses and demonstrates strategies for developing the therapeutic relationship, such that we can assist the client regain a sense of trust in others. We explore therapeutic techniques through which the client is encouraged to take interpersonal risks, to mourn losses, and to face vulnerabilities. Dr. Muller follows the ups and downs of the therapy relationship with trauma survivors and specifically looks at: 


  • How do we tell when we've unknowingly compromised safety in the relationship?
  • What happens to the relationship when clients or therapists rush into the process, and how can this be addressed?
  • And how can subtle conflicts in the relationship become useful in treatment?

Dr. Muller points to the different choices therapists make in navigating the relationship - choices that often have a strong impact on outcome.  The workshop also acknowledges that recovery from Trauma is a deceptively complicated process. When clients reveal too much, too soon, they may feel worse - making the pacing of therapy critical. Here too, the key is in the therapist - client relationship.  Dr. Muller walks us through the relational approaches that help pace the process of opening up - so that clients find the experience helpful, not harmful.


Throughout the workshop, theory is complemented by case examples, practical exercises, and segments from Dr. Muller's own treatment sessions.  The workshop focuses on clinical skills that are directly applicable in our work as therapists.


​Course aims


The course aims to provide an integrative training approach that enables practitioners using different therapeutic modalities to integrate the relevant elements of Attachment Theory and Research with their existing skills, which they can then apply to their work, so as to:


  • Help clients pace the process of opening up
  • Bring safety to the therapeutic relationship early on
  • Navigate and use conflicts in the relationship
  • Recognize their own (therapist's) feelings in the therapeutic process (e.g. the wish to rush into trauma work, or the wish to avoid it)
  • Help clients mourn traumatic losses to bring post-traumatic growth

  • When

  • Monday, December 10, 2018 - Tuesday, December 11, 2018
    9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Eastern Time

  • Where

  • SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health Learning Institute
    114 Maitland Street
    Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1E1

Outlook Outlook
iCal iCal
Google Google
Yahoo! Yahoo!