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Helping Challenging Trauma Clients to Open Up

An online webinar 

Speaker: Dr Robert T. Muller

Date: 23 March 2021, Tuesday
Location: Online streaming only (
all our webinar tickets now include complimentary access to a recorded version for 30 days)
Times: 6:00pm to 9:00pm, London, UK time
CPD hours: 3

Online Streaming: £65

Buy more than one ticket to receive our ‘bring a friend’ 5% discount on your entire order.

When individuals live through interpersonal trauma, there is a tendency for many to stay silent about their experiences and in order to cope, survivors often sidestep the painful past. The reasons for staying silent may include loyalty to close others or the wish to keep family secrets.

As a means of protecting close others and themselves from the pain of traumatic experiences, many rely on a variety of coping strategies to neutralize or cut-off painful memories. For example, some of our clients may rationalize away traumatic events, use intellectualization as a defense, dissociate and keep trauma-related feelings at bay. But silence about the painful past is both emotionally costly and ultimately unsustainable. As therapists, how can we help clients feel safe enough to start opening up about their traumatic histories?

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Full Course Information

Dr Robert T. Muller is the globally-acclaimed author of the psychotherapy bestseller, Trauma & the Avoidant Client, as well as the newly-released, Trauma & the Struggle to Open Up; and his latest webinar is aimed at building our understanding of psychotherapy with challenging trauma clients—in particular, how to help such individuals open up. Using a relational, Attachment Theory based integrative approach, Dr Muller draws on theory, case examples, practical exercises and segments from his own treatment sessions; to discuss practical strategies including:

  • How do we create conditions for a shared, honest and growth-promoting sharing of the trauma narrative?
  • How do we use the therapeutic relationship as a key ingredient in the process? Why is pacing so critical, and how do we put pacing into practice?

The webinar focusses on therapeutic strategies that can be applied across modalities and has the following learning objectives:

  • Bring safety to the therapeutic relationship early on
  • Recognize client ambivalence about their trauma stories
  • Help clients pace the process of opening up
  • Recognize therapist feelings in therapy (for example the wish to rush into trauma work or the wish to avoid it)
  • Help clients move beyond the trauma, to consolidate changes in identity and facilitate posttraumatic growth

Note: This webinar draws on clinical material from Dr. Muller’s new psychotherapy book: Trauma & the Struggle to Open Up: From Avoidance to Recovery & Growth, Norton Press, 2018. The book complements the webinar, providing material for attendees to further their learning:

About the speaker

Robert T. Muller, Ph.D. trained at Harvard, was on faculty at the University of Massachusetts, and is currently at York University in Toronto. Dr. Muller is a Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD) for his work on trauma treatment. His newest book, Trauma & the Struggle to Open Up was awarded the 2019 ISSTD award for the year’s best written work on trauma. And his award-winning bestseller, Trauma & the Avoidant Client has been translated widely. As lead investigator on several multi-site programs to treat interpersonal trauma, Dr. Muller has lectured internationally (Australia, UK, Europe, USA), and has been keynote speaker at mental health conferences in New Zealand, UK and Canada. He also founded an online magazine, The Trauma & Mental Health Report, which is now visited by over 100,000 readers a year. With over 25 years in the field, he practices in Toronto.


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