Healing the Trauma Legacy in Couples Therapy

Ondemand Courses

127,00  IVA inclusa

Course active from 04/01/2023

Janina Fisher  

  • 8 training hours
  • Access on mobile device
  •  Certificate of attendance

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Even the most experienced therapist can be challenged when it comes to couples who are always in a constant state of conflict and crisis!  What do these couples usually have in common?   They come with an unacknowledged legacy of childhood trauma or neglect


Early childhood trauma has lasting and dramatic effects on attachment formation and on the later capacity for intimacy and mutuality.  Instead of experiencing relationship as a haven of safety, traumatized couples are driven by powerful wishes and fears of closeness. 


The enemy is not each other but the trauma.


In this workshop, Janina Fisher will provide in-depth training on the impact of early neglect, attachment failure, and childhood trauma on couple relationships.  


You will learn how to:

  • Address intense emotions and impulsive reactions that undermine the couple’s sense of safety and hope 
  • Mindfulness-based techniques for decreasing conflict and changing trauma-related patterns
  • Use sensorimotor psychotherapy techniques for getting to the emotions beyond words
  • Use externalizing techniques for increasing perspective




Module 1 Program

The Effects of Early Relational Trauma: Emotional, Physiological, Relational

  • Remembering with our emotions and our bodies
  • Procedural or conditioned learning
  • Effects of traumatic adaptation on relationships


Habitually-Learned Survival Responses Recreate the Sense of Threat

  • Triggers and triggering: the body is conditioned to prepare for danger
  • Survival responses in human beings
  • Closeness increases sensitivity to ‘threat’


The Danger of Closeness and the Threat of Distance

  • Why couples cannot process conflicts or tolerate empathy
  • How emotional memories re-create the sense of danger
  • Chronic conflict represents activation of survival defenses


Strategies for Working with Couples in Chronic Conflict

  • Create a neutral space in therapy sessions
  • Provide psychoeducation about trauma
  • Inhibiting destructive patterns in the therapy session
  • Practice of new patterns as ‘experiments’


Module 2 Program

Mindfulness-Based Techniques for Decreasing Conflict 

  • Mindfulness-based awareness of the ‘play-by-play’
  • Notice the effects of their actions on partner reactions
  • Learn to observe themselves and the other with curiosity


Shift from Talking about Issues to Changing Patterns of Response

  • A repair model for psychotherapy in place of an insight model
  • The therapist as referee rather than empathic listener
  • Limits and boundaries on conflict in the therapy


Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Techniques for Getting to the Emotions Beyond Words

  • Teach couples somatic awareness
  • Work with the body to decrease tension in the relationship
  • Use movement and gesture as vehicles for communication


Connect to the Wounded Child in Each Partner

  • Deconstruct conflictAcknowledge the role of child selves in their conflicts
  • Sooth and protect the hurt child self
  • Increase self-compassion and compassion toward partner


Learning Outcomes:


  1. Discuss the neurobiological effects of traumatic experiences on individuals and couples as it relates to case conceptualization. 
  2. Describe the role of survival defense responses in perpetuating relational conflict 
  3. Identify signs and symptoms of traumatic attachment 
  4. Provide psychoeducation about trauma and attachment to clients.
  5. Define implicit memory and articulate the role of implicit memory in evoking the sense of threat.
  6. Identify repetitive patterns of action and reaction in the couple.
  7. Utilize practice of new patterns in session and inhibition of old patterns
  8. Increase the ability of couples to observe their nonverbal communication and its impact on the relationship.
  9. Teach couples to articulate physical sensations arising in their interactions.
  10. Summarize Sensorimotor Psychotherapy practices that alleviate volatility in couples.
  11. Identify interventions that can be used to increase positive affect in the relationship.
  12. Provide homework for couples focused on practicing new patterns to improve engagement.

Method of use

On-demand courses consist of recorded video lessons. Once purchased, you will find it available in your Reserved Area and you can follow it as many times as you like for 12 months from the date of purchase. From desktop, tablet, smartphone.


Janina Fisher

Janina Fisher, Ph.D. is the Assistant Educational Director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute and a former instructor,...
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127,00  IVA inclusa

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