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Working with Dependency in Clients with Complex Trauma: Video Course


Speaker: Kathy Steele 

Product: Video Course
Price: £65

CPD Hours: 3

Video course packs, including all notes are available immediately on booking. The access links are part of your ticket. Online video access remains available for 1 year from the date you receive the video course.

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Therapists often experience a major relational dilemma when working with individuals who have complex trauma. On one hand, development of secure attachment is viewed as an essential outcome of successful therapy. Thus, we are taught to develop a relationship on which the client can depend for predictability and consistent repair. On the other hand, dependency needs are overly intense in trauma survivors, leading to a vicious cycle of need-panic-shame-rage, which can derail therapy, and overwhelm both therapist and client– which is why we are encouraged to prevent clients from becoming “too” dependent on us. How can we reconcile these contradictory approaches?

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Full Course Information

This seminar will explore practical ways to identify and help our clients with painful dependency needs and wishes, while maintaining therapeutic boundaries and good self-care. We will explore differences between helpful and unhelpful dependency and evaluate the kind of boundaries that are helpful for our clients. We discuss how we can set these boundaries and limits with compassion, and how we can best assist our clients resolve shame about dependency. Also, we will consider how to recognize and effectively deal with our own tendencies to withdraw or caretake in the face of our client’s dependency.

Specifically, we will learn:

  • The differences between adaptive and unhealthy dependency, and between secure attachment and dependency
  • Ways to understand what the dependent client is actually seeking and to empathically communicate with the client about effectively managing these needs
  • Clinical missteps or beliefs that could lead to maladaptive dependency
  • How to establish boundaries that encourage a felt sense of security, and avoid unhealthy dependency
  • Specific strategies to support safe connection and process the client’s wish to be cared for by the therapist

About the speaker

Kathy Steele, MN, CS has been treating complex trauma, dissociation, and attachment issues since 1985. She is in private practice with Metropolitan Psychotherapy Services and is Adjunct Faculty at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, US.  Ms. Steele is a Past President and Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) and has also previously served on the Board of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). She has been involved with developing treatment guidelines for Dissociative Disorders and well as for Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Ms. Steele has received a number of awards for her work, including the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from ISSTD, an Emory University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006, and the 2011 Cornelia B. Wilbur Award for Outstanding Clinical Contributions.  She is known for her humour, compassion, respect, and depth of knowledge as a clinician and teacher, and for her capacity to present complex issues in easily understood and clear ways using an integrative psychotherapy model that draws from both traditional and somatic approaches. She is sought as a consultant and supervisor, and as an international lecturer.

She has co-authored three books as part of the acclaimed Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology: The Haunted Self: Structural dissociation of the personality and chronic traumatization(2006, Van der Hart, Nijenhuis, & Steele – W. W. Norton); Coping with trauma-related dissociation: Skills training for patients and therapists(2011, Boon, Steele, & Van der Hart – W. W. Norton); and most recently, Treating trauma-related dissociation: A practical, integrative approach(2017, Steele, Boon, & Van der Hart – W. W. Norton). She has also (co)authored numerous book chapters and journal articles.

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