Free Webinar: Working with Avoidance in Trauma Treatment with Dr. Janina Fisher
October 19 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Join Dr. Fisher for a free webinar on October 19th at 12pm ET!
Child abusers prey on the victims’ vulnerability. Without the power to escape or fight back, often attached to the perpetrator, children are helpless in an unsafe world. They can’t cry or look frightened or voice any need or wish for fear of punishment. Their only defenses are submission and dissociation. They instinctively go on with normal life because they have no other choice other than to appear “fine.”
These automatic strategies are adaptive in a threatening unsafe environment, but they become impediments in treatment. Years later, traumatized clients come for ‘help,’ but their phobias of emotion and vulnerability pose obstacles for the therapist. Although most survivors of abuse can acknowledge that they were traumatized, thinking or talking about it is overwhelming and frightening. Feeling even a little emotion, describing their vulnerability or hurt as little children, leads to shutting down or intellectualizing. We are trying to help them process the memories and emotions, only to get blocked by their phobia of ‘going there.’
Successfully working with avoidant clients begins with the therapist facing the degree to which our interest in vulnerability stimulates fear. Understanding the key role of avoidance in their survival and acknowledging their understandable reluctance to feel overwhelmed is also key. The perpetrator was only interested in their vulnerability. We can be interested in how they survived and often thrived. Fortunately, modern trauma treatment affords us many ways to help survivors, including those who are phobically avoidant of the trauma. In this webinar, Janina Fisher will share strategies for working with those who can’t feel or think about ‘it.’
You will learn:
- How trauma survivors become “avoidant”
- Is the avoidance intentional or instinctual?
- How to help emotionally phobic clients