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.