Managing Power, Control, Boundary and Attachment Dynamics in the Therapeutic Space: ‘Being with’ rather than ‘doing to’ – Christiane Sanderson


Date: 13 November 2021

Time: 11:30 – 18:30 BST

Location: Live via Zoom or On-Demand

Approved for 6 CPD credits

Sold By: Essential Therapy Training


Course Description:

When working with survivors of complex trauma such as childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic abuse, and those who have been marginalised or stigmatised and rendered powerless and voiceless due to race or gender, practitioners need to ensure that they do not replicate abuse dynamics in the therapeutic process and minimise re-traumatisation. The systematic and repeated misuse of power and control that underpins abuse of power and complex trauma such as the use of threat, terror, silence, secrecy, shame, and the distortion of reality dehumanises survivors and renders them voiceless. These dynamics are often re-enacted in the therapeutic relationship by both survivor and practitioner including behaviours to assert power and control, appeasement behaviours such as compliance and submission, boundary violations and oscillation between connection and disconnection.

This training day aims to identify the ways in which these manifests in therapeutic space and how they can be managed to facilitate a more collaborative, non-hierarchical, and relational approach in which survivors can truly heal rather than being catapulted back into trauma dynamics. To this effect the importance of ‘being with’ rather than ‘doing to’ will be emphasised alongside ways in which to minimise re-shaming or re-traumatising survivors to offer a genuine human relationship in which to recover and heal.

Learning Objectives:

Specifically we will consider

  • The use of power and control in complex trauma and its dehumanising impact
  • The role of silence, secrecy, boundary violations and the distortion of reality
  • The impact of complex trauma on attachment and relational difficulties, including the trauma bond and how this can manifest in the therapeutic relationship.
  • Therapist’s own need for power and control and relational style.
  • How to manage power and control dynamics in the therapeutic relationship.
  • How to facilitate a more collaborative, non-hierarchical and relationship approach through ‘being with’ rather than ‘doing to’.

About the Speaker:

Christiane Sanderson is a senior lecturer in Psychology at the University of Roehampton. . With over 30 years’ experience working with survivors of childhood sexual abuse interpersonal trauma and domestic abuse. She has run consultancy and training for parents, teachers, social workers, nurses, therapists, counsellors, solicitors, the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Committee, the Methodist Church, the Metropolitan Police Service, the NSPCC and the Refugee Council and in prisons.

She is the author of Counselling Skills for Working with Shame, Counselling Skills for Working with Trauma: Healing from Child Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse, Introduction of Counselling Survivors of Interpersonal Trauma, Counselling Survivors of Domestic Abuse, Counselling Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse 3rd Edition, The Seduction of Children: Empowering Parents and Teachers to Protect Children from Child Sexual Abuse all published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers and The Warrior Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence, The Spirit Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Religious Sexual Abuse Across All Faiths, Responding to Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: A pocket guide for professionals, partners, families and friends and Numbing the Pain: A pocket guide for professionals supporting survivors of childhood sexual abuse and addiction all published by One in Four.

All artistic images reproduced by kind permission of Patricia Fitzgerald of Healing Creations


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