Relationship: The Heart of the Matter

Studies, and master clinicians have pointed to the power of the relationship between therapist and client. However, there's a discrepancy between how powerful the relationship is in therapy and the amount of time and attention given to it in training. While transference and counter-transference are sometimes addressed; for this to be useful, it requires the therapist to be aware of his/her own self, defenses, triggers, history, etc. How the therapist learns to use the self in therapy, consciously, with grace and dignity, is the challenge. Techniques are easier to learn. Being present and real feels vulnerable, but it is, in fact, the most powerful thing the therapist contributes to the process of therapy. What does that look like? How does a therapist know when and how to be present in a way that can directly connect with the client in a meaningful way? For most therapists, that knowledge comes from experience, and the exposure to master clinicians who model that kind of authenticity. Can this be taught? If so, how might we do that? What do therapists in this field need to learn and be able to use in sessions with severely traumatized clients?

This session was originally presented as a live conference session in March 2019.

Target Audience


Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this session participants will be able to:

  • Recognize and use the awareness of their own inner process to better identify and interpret the behavior of the client
  • Identify the impact of their presence in strengthening the therapeutic alliance
  • Identify their own reactions and defenses that arise in working with traumatized people and manage them in a way that enhances the therapy
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.50 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 1.50 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.
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Presenter: Lynette Danylchuk, PhD
Presenter Bio: Lynette Danylchuk, PhD, has been working in the trauma field since mid-80, starting with Vietnam Vets and people with DID. She served 12 years on the original Board of Directors of Survivorship, and then worked for the Board of the Star Foundation for several more years. She had her private practice in San Mateo, California, where, in addition to working with clients, she did and continues to do periodic consultation and teaching where she sees a need, including a local graduate school, juvenile hall, or the county trauma-informed services conference. Lynette has been adjunct faculty to graduate schools in the San Francisco area where she has taught, and been a dissertation chairperson. She has given keynote speeches and workshops across the state and at annual conferences of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), and continues to take advantage of every opportunity to share what she’s learned about trauma and dissociation.

Lynette is a Past President of ISSTD. She has been an active society member since 1996. She has chaired the Volunteer Committee, and the Professional Training Program. She is currently a member of the Certificate Program Committee, the Conference Committee, and Chair of the UN Task Force.

Presenter: Joan Turkus, MD
Presenter Bio: Joan A. Turkus, MD maintains a consulting and clinical practice in psychiatry and traumatology in McLean, Virginia. She is the Medical Director, TraumaSci: Complex Trauma Disorders Program at Dominion/HC A Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia and Co-Founder/past Medical Director of The Center: Posttraumatic Disorders Program at the Psychiatric Institute of Washington, D.C. Dr. Turkus has years of experience in the trauma field and maintains a national profile with teaching and consultation. She is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in pharmacy and graduated from The George Washington University School of Medicine with honors. She is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, of which she is a Past President. She has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award, the Cornelia Wilbur Award for clinical contributions, and a Distinguished Achievement Award by the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. She is a Diplomate of both the American Board of Psychiatry and the American Board of Forensic Psychiatry.


Available Credit

  • 1.50 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 1.50 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.


ISSTD Member cost:
Your Price:
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"Your Price" above reflects your final price based on your membership status and career level. 

  • ISSTD defines a student as those enrolled in a program of study leading to a degree or certification in the mental health field and who have an interest in trauma and dissociation. 
  • ISSTD defines an emerging professional as mental health professionals who have completed an advanced degree and are in the first three years of their career (or first three years after graduation for researchers).
  • If you do not fall into one of the above categories please register as Professional/Retired. 

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