Countertransference Issues in Trauma Therapy: Working with the Traumatized Client Who Avoids Attachment

Presented by Robert T. Muller, PhD, CPsych on 12-09-2011 at 9 a.m. Pacific

Many advances have been made in the treatment of intra-familial trauma. However, little attention has been paid to helping traumatized clients who are avoidant of attachment. Many individuals cope with traumatic experiences by using intellectualization and by devaluing interpersonal closeness and vulnerable affect. Working with clients who are help-rejecting and self-protective can be very challenging.

This web conference will focus on the countertransference issues that arise when working with the avoidant client in trauma therapy. Many of these issues Dr. Muller has discussed in his new academic book, Trauma and the Avoidant Client: Attachment-Based Strategies for Healing (W.W. Norton, 2010). Using attachment theory, Dr. Muller will describe countertransference patterns that are seen with these hard-to-treat clients, including verbal and nonverbal interactions.

Using a relational, psychodynamic approach, Dr. Muller will consider patterns such as trying to repair, coming into conflict with defensiveness, and colluding with avoidant defenses. In therapy, such clients should be encouraged to take interpersonal risks, to mourn losses, and to face vulnerabilities. Unless countertransference is understood and used in the service of the therapy, therapeutic progress will be hindered. This presentation will focus on clinical technique. Theory is complemented by case examples and segments from treatment sessions.

This web conference is designed to help clinicians:

  1. Recognize characteristics of avoidant attachment among adults with trauma histories;
  2. Recognize countertransference patterns in work with such clients;
  3. Use countertransference in the service of client engagement, and as a useful tool in the therapy.

If you have any questions about this web conference or would like more information, please contact us here.

How the Web Conference Works

In short, participants will be able to listen to the event by calling in to our teleconference center. Prior to the event, all participants will be sent an email with instructions on how to login to the teleconference and video conference center. This event will include lecture, interaction, and question and answer periods. A recording of the event, including video, will be made available within one week after the conclusion of the live event.

405.5CE hours and counting!

All are available to GoodTherapy.org members at no additional cost.

Continuing Education (CE) Information

1.5 CE credits will be provided by GoodTherapy.org for attending this web conference in its entirety.

GoodTherapy.org is also an Approved Education Provider by NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals (provider #135463). Of the eight counselor skill groups ascribed to by NAADAC, this course is classified within counseling services.

GoodTherapy.org is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements.

GoodTherapy.org, provider #1352, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org, through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. ASWB Approval Period: March 30, 2016 through March 30, 2019. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval. Social workers participating in this course will receive two clinical continuing education clock hours.

GoodTherapy.org is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content and is solely responsible for all aspects of the program.

GoodTherapy.org, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0395. 

Registration Information

This web conference is available at no cost to GoodTherapy.org members.

This event has already taken place. An audio recording for this event may be available in the Member's Area.

Meet the Presenter

Robert T. Muller, PhD, CPsych

Robert T. Muller, PhD, CPsych

Robert T. Muller, PhD, CPsych, completed his clinical fellowship at Harvard University, after which he joined the faculty of the University of Massachusetts and started a trauma assessment service that was oriented toward helping under-serviced members of the community. Throughout his professional career, Dr. Muller has been practicing, teaching, and supervising in the areas of trauma, attachment, and psychotherapy. He is the author of the newly released Trauma and the Avoidant Client: Attachment-Based Strategies for Healing, published by Norton Press. In addition, he has authored numerous scholarly articles, book chapters, and grants and is currently lead investigator in a provincially-funded, multi-site program for the assessment and treatment of intra-familial trauma.

Dr. Muller also writes for his blog, The Trauma and Attachment Report. He is on faculty as Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at York University and as a clinical supervisor at the Hincks-Dellcrest Treatment Centre. A sought-after speaker, he is known for his dynamic clinical workshops. He has over twenty years of clinical experience in the field and maintains an active private practice in downtown Toronto. More on Dr. Muller’s full-day workshops can be found at the Hincks-Dellcrest website. More about Dr. Muller can be found here.

Continuing Education Provider Approvals

  • ace
    GoodTherapy.org is Approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content. APA approval applies to all events listed after May 2011.
  • Logo
    GoodTherapy.org has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6380. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. GoodTherapy.org is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
  • Logo
    This course has been approved by GoodTherapy.org, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #135463. GoodTherapy.org is responsible for all aspects of their programming.
  • ace
    GoodTherapy.org, provider #1352, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 03/30/2016 – 03/30/2019. Social workers should contact their regulatory board to determine course approval for continuing education credits. Social workers participating in this course will receive 2 clinical continuing education clock hours.
  • GoodTherapy.org, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0395.