90 Minute Workshop

Navigating the Challenges of Forming a Collaborative Relationship with Complex Trauma Survivors

Saturday, March 24
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Location: Salon 2

In an era when the focus of psychotherapy training and practice is increasingly dominated by empirically supported manualized treatments, the powerful contribution of the therapeutic relationship to treatment outcome is obscured by an almost exclusive focus on standardized, structured interventions. The quality of the therapeutic alliance plays an especially decisive role in working with survivors of complex traumatization, who have not only been repeatedly maltreated, but also may have never experienced a safe interpersonal connection. Establishing such a relationship, therefore, is both a prerequisite for engaging in the therapeutic process and an essential medium for counteracting an intense sense of isolation from others, dissociative disconnection from self-experience, distorted perceptions of self, and a range of gaps and warps in development. Potential barriers to forming a collaborative treatment alliance posed by the traumatized client include distrust, intense unmet dependency needs, the belief that resolution of difficulties is not possible, and the conviction of being undeserving of a gratifying life. For the therapist, they include difficulty listening without judgment, the temptation to prematurely or excessively interpret, and failure to recognize and respect the traumatized client’s experience, perspective, and strengths. Material presented will be illustrated by ample case vignettes. 

Learning Objectives:

Steve N. Gold

Director, Trauma Resolution & Integration Program (TRIP)
Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Steven N Gold, PhD is a Professor at the Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Psychology and Director of NSU's Trauma Resolution & Integration Program (TRIP), which he established in 1990. He served as President of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division of Trauma Psychology (56) in 2009, as inaugural editor of the Division’s scientific journal, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy from 2008 through 2014, and in 2014 was recipient of the Division’s Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Trauma Psychology. He also was Editor in Chief of the APA Handbook of Trauma Psychology, published in 2017. In 2004 Dr. Gold served as President of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD). He is a Fellow of ISSTD and of APA. He authored the book Not Trauma Alone: Therapy for Child Abuse Survivors in Family and Social Context, was founding co-editor of the Journal of Trauma Practice, and guest edited a special issue of the APA journal Psychotherapy on the treatment of trauma related disorders. He has been an invited presenter throughout the US and in Argentina, Austria, Canada, Colombia, and Spain. Dr. Gold maintains an independent psychology practice in Plantation, Florida and is regularly is retained as an expert witness in legal cases in which trauma and dissociation appeared to be relevant issues.

Presentation(s):

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