Training: understanding and responding to complex trauma

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Training: understanding and responding to complex trauma

“Every time we ask a question, we’re generating a possible version of a life.”

- David Epston, Co-Director, Family Therapy Centre Auckland



A contextual understanding and response to complex trauma: making visible the invisible

This two-day workshop has been designed and developed for counsellors working alongside clients with complex trauma.

The version of life that this workshop explores is one of reclaiming dignity through means of empowerment and reconnection. In this process, practitioners align with clients to help make visible what is invisible; with visibility comes awareness and with awareness comes the possibility of change.

By examining individual, relational and cultural contexts, we bring forth a version of life that helps 'make sense' of the experiences that we refer to as complex trauma.

This program reflects on alternative frameworks from which to understand complex trauma. We discuss practical approaches with the aim of equipping practitioners with skills to respond to the many manifestations of complex trauma; including negative perceptions of self, dissociation, depression, shame, self-harm and somatic issues.

We will make visible the invisible through the following learning outcomes:

  • Develop an understanding of the experience of complex trauma including the many presenting manifestations;
  • Reflect on the Power Threat Meaning framework (Johnstone & Boyle);
  • Explore what makes complex trauma complex – what has happened to the individual.

    We examine:
    • Intersectionality;
    • Insidious trauma;
    • Disrupted attachment;
    • Experience of violence and abuse;
    • Dynamics of sexual assault;
    • Neurobiology of traumatic experience;
    • Shame.
  • Discuss the impacts/effects of abuse as the individual’s 'response' to violence in conjunction with an exploration of the notion of 'resistance'.
  • Explore helpful perspectives from narrative therapy in addressing the individual’s experience of complex trauma.
  • Further explore of narrative and meaning from the unspoken voice of the body – the somatic narrative.
Duration Appropriate for Maximum participants
2 days Counsellors, social workers, psychologists working with clients with complex trauma needs 20

Wonderful, thought provoking experience. Lots of tools in tool bag. Instantly translatable to clinic. Thanks - brilliant facilitation by Chris - informative, inspirational, humour, humility.

- Participant
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Our training approach

At Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia, we recognise that adults bring a wealth of knowledge and individual experiences to the learning environment. Every workshop utilises adult learning principles, as per the Principles for Best Practice for 21st Century Education (Nichols, 2002).

Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia trainers are social workers, psychologists, and educators. They are experienced trainers in causes, consequences and primary prevention of sexual, domestic and family violence causes.

All facilitators are trained to safely and compassionately respond to disclosures and refer onward to state based services.

All training programs are audited regularly to ensure the information provided is evidence-based and current.

Programs can be tailored based on the needs of each organisation and can be delivered to clinical and non-clinical audiences.