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Complex trauma: recognising and working effectively with our clients - a day of theory and training for working beyond single incident trauma

Event Details
Date: 17th Oct 2019
Venue: Brisbane, Qld
CPD hrs: 7

Standard fee $288
Student and new graduate rate available

Organiser: The Professional Development People
Further information

Event date has passed

Complex trauma is highly damaging but frequently unrecognised and inappropriately treated. While current research in the neurobiology of attachment has major implications for treatment of trauma, the potential of these insights is not widely operationalised in clinical practice and confusion about the differences between ‘complex’ and ‘single incident’ trauma persists. This training event addresses the stakes of recognising and responding to complex trauma (which comes in many guises) in light of current research findings and their implications for treatment. Clinical and research insights establish that effective approaches to complex trauma are “phased” and need to engage physical as well as cognitive and emotional processes (‘bottom up’ and ‘top down’) This poses challenges to standard perspectives (i.e. insight-based and cognitive behavioural) which privilege ‘talk’ and which thus require some reconsideration. Core features of effective therapy for complex trauma will be delineated and discussed.

Learning objectives

  1. Recognise the possibility of complex trauma in diverse client presentations.
  2. Recognise differences between complex/single incident trauma and the treatment implications.
  3. Identify the necessary components of effective therapy for complex trauma, and the extent to which the combination of these components may require modification and adaptation of their exiting ways of working.
  4. Chart the links between core principles of effective therapy for complex trauma and their clinical application.
  5. Recognise the centrality of the realm of the non-verbal and ways in which unarticulated experience is ‘evoked’, ‘enacted’ and ‘embodied’ (Wallin, 2007).
  6. Understand the rationale for the three phases of recommended treatment for complex trauma and assemble a foundational context in which Phase 1 (safety and stabilisation) can take place.
  7. Attune with increased sensitivity to non-verbal cues within the evolving stages of the therapeutic relationship.
  8. Embed within their particular approach ongoing attunement to pre-verbal experience and the body with a view to assisting clients to stay within their ‘window of tolerance’.

Learning outcomes

  • Increase attunement to the role of non-verbal experience and the body in effective therapy for complex trauma.
  • Recognise the relationship between research findings pertaining to complex trauma and their application to practice.
  • Understand ways in which standard psychotherapeutic approaches (insight-based and cognitive behavioural) may require adaptation and supplement in light of the evolving research base on complex trauma and a basic capacity to tailor familiar ways of working in light of this understanding.

Presenter details

Pam Stavropoulos PhD is an educator, consultant and therapist, with a particular interest in the politics of trauma and depression. A member of the Advisory Board of the Scientific Committee of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) she is co-author of the nationally and internationally endorsed Practice Guidelines for Treatment of Complex Trauma and Trauma Informed Care and Service Delivery (2012). A former Fulbright scholar, Pam has held lectureships at Macquarie University and the University of New England, and is a former Program Director at the Jansen Newman Institute where she also taught in the Master’s program. She is the author of Living under Liberalism: The Politics of Depression in Western Democracies (Florida: Universal, 2008) has written research reports in the community health sector, and is also a clinical supervisor.

Location and date

Park Regis
293 North Quay
Brisbane QLD 4000

17 October 2019

9:15 - 4:30


Standard fee $288

This event is fully catered and all resources are provided.

Students and new graduates may apply to attend at a discount apply here.


Register online by clicking here.

Ph: 1300 887 622

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers