Challenges in Trauma Therapy:
Working effectively with Chronic Shame and Resistance
A 2-day training workshop at London with Kathy Steele
London, 20 & 21 June 2017, Tuesday & Wednesday
Resistance can be interpreted as phobic avoidance of what is perceived as overwhelming or otherwise beyond the capacity of our clients to realize. Framing resistance thus, as a phobia of realization, can aid our psychotherapeutic approaches by allowing us to:
- View therapeutic impasses as co-created stalemates instead of placing the blame on resistant or untreatable clients
- Return our therapeutic focus to underlying causes of avoidance instead of keeping us fixated on resistance as a problem by itself
- Recognize and distinguish between physiological and psychological resistance – where client responses of attachment cry, fight, flight, freeze, or collapse are recognized as physiological conditions and not deliberate impediments to the therapeutic process
Progressing past resistance is just one of the challenges of therapy for trauma, however, another therapeutic inhibitor we need to address is chronic shame. Just like resistance, shame can involve intense physiological activation – our clients may want to disappear, hide, camouflage themselves or shut down, impeding our therapeutic endeavours in multiple ways. To effectively work with chronic shame, whether co-existing with resistance or otherwise, we not only need to fully comprehend its functions, but the profound disconnection and hiddenness of shame must be compassionately experienced by client and therapist together.
Designed to be of practical value to psychotherapists, clinical psychologists, counsellors and psychiatrists, this 2-day workshop by Kathy Steele helps us explore ways of improving our therapeutic effectiveness with two of the most challenging aspects of trauma therapy. On Day 1, we explore chronic shame – how we can recognize it and how we can work effectively with it. We also learn to identify and approach our own shame with compassion and acceptance. The workshop discusses:
- The several important functions of shame
- The four main defences against shame that actually maintain chronic shame
- antidotes to shame and how our clients can build resilience in the face of shame
- Utilizing therapeutic interventions that deploy relational, somatic and imagery approaches to chronic shame (with the understanding that cognitive approaches may not be sufficient)
- Recognizing and addressing the dynamics between inner shamer and inner ashamed ego states
On Day 2, we focus on understanding ‘resistance’ as protection, and as an inevitable part of therapy that should be both welcomed and expected. The workshop discusses:
- Identifying our own possible contributions to our client’s resistance from a systems perspective
- Different types of resistances; ways to approach resistance with compassion and clarity
- Collaborative goal-setting as a strategy for diminishing resistance
- At least four different therapeutic interventions we can deploy to reduce and resolve resistance
Throughout the workshop, we will consider the role of disorganised attachment and dependency conflicts in addressing both resistance and chronic shame.
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 Associates 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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