Provides clinicians, counselors, and other helpers with insights on recognizing and dealing with the most difficult crises and turning points that occur in therapy with traumatized children and families. Each webinar features a scene where the youth and caregiver are actors playing fictional characters, but the therapists are real. Viewers will see how therapists handle critical turning points during the therapy session to help families safely heal from the severe emotional and interpersonal problems that occur in the aftermath of complex trauma: Developmental Trauma Disorder. This series is sponsored by the Center for the Treatment of Developmental Trauma Disorders.
Jordyn, age 16, lives with her mother, father, and two younger siblings and has been exposed to domestic violence and parental substance use, as well as prolonged periods of separation while her father was deployed in Afghanistan. While her dad started treatment four months ago for PTSD and substance use and is beginning to make some progress, Jordyn started treatment just two weeks ago to address irritability, depression, trouble falling asleep, and nightmares. Worried her family may lose their home, Jordyn got a job; now she is failing classes and feeling totally overwhelmed. Early in treatment, the therapist assesses Jordyn’s safety and her heightened level of distress. As Jordyn becomes angry the therapist attempts to re-engage her by identifying supportive people in her life, and Jordyn accidentally reveals possible exploitation by her older boyfriend. The therapist attempts gather the details she needs for the authorities while supporting Jordyn and trying to keep her safe.
In this webinar, trauma experts will debate and explore the pros and cons of adopting a formal Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD) diagnosis. Polyvictimized youth develop a broad spectrum of psychopathologies, with a number of complex comorbidities which can present unique diagnostic and treatment challenges. The importance and relevance of including both DTD and PTSD diagnoses into existing diagnostic systems, along with key considerations, will be discussed.
Presents, through dramatized therapy sessions, traumatized youth who are profoundly emotionally shut down or dissociative and how therapists can remain attuned to clients while managing their own affect. When children shut down or dissociate they may seem unreachable or impossible to engage; yet through therapy those traumatized children can learn to understand and recover from their post-traumatic reactions. Experienced trauma therapists discuss their reactions to these critical moments of disconnection and impasse in trauma therapy, the questions and dilemmas this raises for them, and ways they have found to engage with detached or dissociated clients while handling their secondary traumatic stress reactions.
Moments of crisis (as seen in dramatized therapy sessions) will be viewed and discussed with a focus on how therapists can handle the challenge of remaining attuned to intensely distressed clients while also recognizing and regulating their own stress reactions. When children or adult caregivers experience peaks of hyperarousal – as expressed in many varied forms including anger, terror, and dissociation – the therapist must maintain a dual focus of attunement with the client(s) and themselves. Experienced trauma therapists discuss their own stress reactions, the questions and dilemmas these reactions raise for them, and helpful strategies for remaining fully and effectively present with their clients.
Michael (12-years old) and Trisha (16-years-old) live with their mother Monica in a single-parent household. Five years ago, their father Neil was incarcerated after violently attacking and nearly killing Monica while the children were upstairs in their bedrooms. Michael and Trisha seem resilient, doing well emotionally, in school, and with peers, but Monica developed panic attacks and nightmares. Monica began therapy with Dr. Taylor two years ago, and her PTSD symptoms had largely resolved until she learned a couple of weeks ago that her ex-husband was going to get released from prison within the next month. Monica and Dr. Taylor jointly decided it would be helpful for the children to learn of their father’s imminent release in a family session with Dr. Taylor, the children’s first meeting with Dr. Taylor.
Samantha is a 15-year-old African American girl who lives in public housing in an urban area rife with violence and drug use. Samantha is an outstanding student and attends private school on scholarship, where her friends describe her as beautiful, popular, brilliant, and a star athlete. At age 10, Samantha saw her brother murdered when he was walking her home from school. Their mother became hysterical and chronically depressed, and their father changed from a loving dad to drinking and screaming at the family. Samantha was sexually assaulted by her boyfriend’s male friends at a party at which she, usually a non-drinker, became intoxicated and passed out. Samantha has no memory of the assault and was referred to a female therapist, Dr. Sofia Mattei, by a sexual assault counselor who met with her at the hospital. This webinar presents Samantha’s first therapy session with Dr. Mattei.
Adam a 15-year-old, is referred to therapy after several weeks of unexplained sickness. Adam has always excelled in school despite having been sexually abused by his soccer coach in his past. About a year ago, Adam’s grades and sports performance started to slip when an adult female tutor became sexually abusive and threatened him if he reported her. Adam was already seeing a therapist to work on recent difficulties in school and conflicts with his parents. As he attempts to end therapy, he reveals for the first time that he is experiencing current sexual abuse.
A client reveals during her first therapy session that she discovered her adoptive mother hid letters from her biological mother. In her past, she was placed in several foster care homes after incidents of physical and sexual abuse and family violence related to drug use by her mother and male partners. Though she was adopted two years ago, finding these hidden letters has escalated her feelings of distrust and not being accepted as a full member of her adoptive family. 
Focuses on a family that is required to seek therapy after the parents get in a physical altercation while intoxicated. During a family therapy session with their teenage children, a father learns from his wife that she is questioning her gender identity. This discovery challenges the co-therapy team to balance the needs of each family member during the heated confrontation that follows. The team must find a way to keep the family emotionally safe as the father—feeling betrayed and confused—reacts in anger.
Depicts a father who has been physically violent in the past becoming intensely verbally angry, frightening and emotionally alienating his son. The therapist has to find a way to help the father feel supported, so he can engage his son with the love and appreciation which his son needs from him. With this caring and role modeling, the son can heal and move forward in his own life.