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Don’t Make Me ‘Go There’: Innovative Therapeutic Approaches for Intellectualization and Avoidance with Janina Fisher

September 20 @ 5:00 am - 11:00 am

In any abusive environment or relationship, vulnerability is a great weakness. Without the power to escape or fight back, victims quickly learn that it isn’t safe to cry, look frightened or voice any emotional needs. Showing any of these emotions usually results in punishment/sadistic pleasure/more power to the perpetrator. Because they have no other choice than to appear fine, the body and the brain instinctively adapt to prevent showing emotion.

These adaptive strategies provide safety and survival in a threatening unsafe environment, but they become impediments for us as therapists, when working with our clients. Years later, traumatized clients come for ‘help’ but their phobia of exploring those difficult emotions and memories or showing vulnerability creates an enormous obstacle to healing and finding closure.

For such traumatized clients, intellectualization is a powerful defence mechanism that helps them regulate core emotional wounds that are too difficult or painful to process. In doing so, they are not conscious of distancing from affect but simply become emotionally detached, keeping their feelings at bay.  Our focus on emotion exacerbates their phobias and habits of avoidance.

Therapists want clients who actively engage in confronting, leaning into their emotions, and seeking closure. However, we often get blocked by our clients’ inability to ‘go there.’


10:00 am – 4:00 pm, London UK

Venue: Broadway House, Tothill St, London SW1H 9NQ

Important: no online streaming is available for this event


Broadway House
Tothill St
London, SW1H 9NQ United Kingdom