Helping Couples Escape Their Painful Histories: Salient Issues in Couples' Therapy with Trauma Survivors
The relationship is both the trauma and the cure for people who have been deeply wounded in childhood by those who were supposed to love and care for them and couple’s therapy can be both the trauma and the cure as well.
Post traumatic relationships often present in couples as chaos, fighting, power struggles, anger, aggression, affairs, substance abuse and/or emptiness, withdrawal, passive aggression, limited feelings felt and expressed. They often live out familiar patterns of relating experienced in the past and feel a failure of closeness accompanied by blame, guilt, shame, and fear of abandonment. Individuals may blame the other or shame themselves and this drives a guilt shame anger withdrawal cycle All these play out the hyper-arousal, numbing and avoidance, re-experiencing and negative cognitions of classic post traumatic syndromes. They drive the relived familiar experiences of fear of closeness and fear of separateness, compulsive care giving, compulsive care seeking, controlling and over monitoring behaviors that couples often struggle with.
This three hour workshop will try to touch on the salient features underlying stage based, trauma informed psychodynamic, relational, and social constructionist couples’ therapy. We hope to explain the role of secrets, double binds and splitting in traumatic attachments and how to assess and pace the individuals’ and the couple’s window of tolerance in order to learn to own their own feelings and mistakes, stop projecting, manage individual emotions, grieve losses and work toward collaborative co-regulation and reciprocity. Calming down, creating an alliance with a therapist who is both neutral, and responsive to both parties, so that the therapist and couple can sort through the painful histories that each person brings into the relationship and so that they can begin to live more fully in the present.
Risk management issues will be touched upon in order to assess and avoid traumatic reenactments of the victim victimizer rescuer story in the therapy. The therapy is to preserve and guide a new paradigm for the couple and increase their individual understanding of how their histories have played out in an intrusive and exquisitely familiar way. If trauma therapy of complex trauma is complicated, then traumatic relationships are complicated and a couple deserves to be educated about the influence of traumatic attachments in childhood and be relieved of the internalized notion that they are “Just not working” or are “ unable to fix this”. Psycho-education is as central to couple’s therapy as it is to individual therapy in traumatized people. Case material will be presented to integrate theory and practice.
Potential to Distress
45 Minutes: Theoretical Foundations
60 Minutes: Couple Therapy Practice
15 Minutes: Break
60 Minutes: Specific Clinical Issues
15 Minutes: Question and Answer
This presentation was originally presented as a live webinar in April 2022.
At the conclusion of this webinar participants will be able to:
- Describe the confluence of social, family, attachment theories embedded in Stage Based Trauma Theory
- Assess couples for interactional intergenerational and narrative family dynamics, intrapersonal, cognitive, affective and behavioral functioning grounded in trauma theory, and intra-psychic grounded in attachment theory
- Define the role of the therapist, and understand the rationale for and maintain a frame within the role to establish safety for both parties and to decrease risk
- Discuss the dangers and intrusions of the original victim perpetrator witness in creating secrets, double binds, and splitting in the couple's lives and in the treatment relationship
Presenter: Rosalie Hyde
Presenter Bio: Rosalie W. Hyde is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and psychotherapist in practice for 36 years. She is Voluntary Faculty at Baylor College of Medicine, and cofounder of The Houston Galveston Trauma Institute, a training institute for mental health professionals and other service providers. She is committed to promoting deeper clinical trauma education for clinicians across the field of mental health. Since 2001 she has taught curriculum developed by the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation and has trained professionals in a variety of social service agencies. With her commitment to global mental health she has worked with refugee women and asylum seekers and is certified by the Harvard Refugee Trauma Global Mental Health Certificate Program. She is trained by Physicians for Human Rights to evaluate persons seeking asylum and was honored as an expert witness by Tahirih Justice Center. Rosalie recently published a chapter on currant issues in forensic evaluations of non-refugee immigrants seeking asylum in Handbook of Refugee Experience: Kottler, Banu, and Jani, 2019. She continues to act as consultant to practicing psychotherapists understanding psychodynamic psychotherapy through a relational and trauma lens.
- 3.00 APAThe International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
- 3.00 ASWB ACEThe International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), #1744, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. ISSTD maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 08/20/2021 – 08/20/2024. Social workers completing this course receive 3.00 continuing education credits.
- 3.00 ISSTD Certificate ProgramThis program is eligible for 3.00 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.
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