Emotional Neglect and the Adult in Therapy

Emotional Neglect and the Adult in Therapy

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From £95.51

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Drake House

44 St George's Road


SW19 4ED

United Kingdom

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A 6 Hour in person CPD with Kathrin Stauffer

About this event

£128 + booking fees / Limited early-bird until 17th March 2023 or sold out £109 + booking fees /discount for Wimbledon Guild counsellors and trainee counsellors £100/ Group bookings minimum of 4 and maximum of 10 £90 per ticket + booking fees

The event:

People who were emotionally neglected, or insufficiently attended to by a loving caregiver, early in life are often difficult therapy clients. The main difficulty tends to be that they appear to be resisting therapy very strongly and therefore the process becomes very slow or stops altogether. This one-day workshop will attempt to provide some background understanding of how people develop who have suffered early neglect, and also some possible answers to the difficulties that therapists may have.The workshop will be conducted as a combination of lecture, discussion, experiential exercises, and case examples. There will be some space for client discussions from the participants.


Introduction to the topic, especially the question of how we recognise early neglect in adult clients that we meet in our therapeutic practice:

Trying to look normal and not give offense

Overwhelming shame about many things – about not being quite like others for example, or about being looked at.

Resistance to therapy: it is very difficult to change.

No sense of own social skills. Other people are threatening or demanding and always hard work.

Not being equipped for life – not having the vitality and resilience that other people have. Getting ill easily, getting fatigued and burning out easily.

Not understanding what’s wrong and not having a narrative for the reasons therapy is being sought.

Background theory:

Normal self-regulation including polyvagal theory. Development of self-regulatory skills. Deficits in this development.

Attachment theory. Different attachment styles and how they look in adults.

Introjects and internalised persecutors.

Psychomotor development and neglect. Low-energy states in musculature and in ANS.

Understanding the effect of neglect on the developing person:

The concept of developmental deficits, particularly the lack of availability of the social engagement system.

Resources and their importance.

Lack of shared fun, of rough-and-tumble experiences (and the consequences on embodiment), of confidence that I can engage other people in ways that are collaborative and helpful. 

Approaches to treatment: some thoughts on the slowness of therapy with this client group:

Understanding rather than shaming. Creating safety. Attention to power imbalances.

Not making unmanageable demands. ‘Taking on more than half of the relationship work’.

Keeping an eye on building resources. Building containment rather than decreasing defences. Difference between conflict-oriented and resource-oriented ways of working.

Keeping creativity in mind.

Trauma approaches and their role.

Working with low energy states and the principle of dosing down.

The trainer:

Kathrin Stauffer PhD, UKCP Registered Body Psychotherapist, is the author of Emotional Neglect and the Adult in Therapy: Lifelong Consequences to a Lack of Early Attunement (W.W. Norton 2020). Born and educated in Switzerland as a research biochemist, she retrained at the Chiron Centre for Body Psychotherapy. She works in private practice in Cambridge as a Body and Humanistic Psychotherapist, Supervisor, EMDR Practitioner and Trainer. She has published one previous book, Anatomy & Physiology for Psychotherapists: Connecting Body & Soul (W.W. Norton 2010).


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