‘Being with’ rather than ‘doing to’:  How to Manage Power, Control, Boundary and Attachment Dynamics when Working with Survivors of Complex Trauma

When working with survivors of complex trauma such as childhood sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic abuse and spiritual abuse practitioners need to ensure that they do not replicate abuse dynamics in the therapeutic process and to minimise re-traumatisation.  The systematic and repeated misuse of power and control that underpins abuse and complex trauma such as the use of threat, terror, silence, secrecy, shame and the distortion of reality dehumanises survivors and renders them voiceless.  These dynamics are often re-enacted in the therapeutic relationship by both survivor and practitioner including behaviours to assert power and control, appeasement behaviours such as compliance and submission, boundary violations and oscillation between connection and disconnection. This training day aims to identify the ways in which these manifest in therapeutic space and how they can be managed to facilitate a more collaborative, non-hierarchical and relational approach in which survivors can truly heal rather than being catapulted back into trauma dynamics. To this effect the importance of ‘being with’ rather than ‘doing to’ will be emphasised alongside ways in which to minimise re-shaming or re-traumatising survivors to offer a genuine human relationship in which to recover and  heal.

Specifically we will consider

  • The use of power and control in complex trauma and its dehumanising impact
  • The role of silence, secrecy, boundary violations and the distortion of reality
  • The impact of complex trauma on attachment and relational difficulties, including the trauma  bond and how this can manifest in the therapeutic relationship
  • Therapist’s own need for power and control and relational style
  • How to manage power and control dynamics in the therapeutic relationship
  • How to facilitate a more collaborative, non-hierarchical and relationship approach through ‘being with’ rather than ‘doing to’  

The Day

The online training is taking place on Friday 9th October 2020 from 10am - 4pm. The cost is £65 per person, concessions available for trainee counsellors and group bookings of 5 or more people. Please email Simone Gosden on [email protected] for details. 



Christiane Sanderson is a senior lecturer in Psychology at the University of Roehampton. . With over 30  years’ experience working with survivors of  childhood  sexual abuse interpersonal trauma and domestic abuse. She has run consultancy and training for parents, teachers, social workers, nurses, therapists, counsellors, solicitors, the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Committee, the Methodist Church, the Metropolitan Police Service, the NSPCC and the Refugee Council and in prisons.  She is the author of  Counselling Skills for Working with Shame, Counselling Skills for Working with Trauma:  Healing from Child Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse Introduction of Counselling Survivors of Interpersonal Trauma,  Counselling Survivors of Domestic Abuse,  Counselling Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse 3rdEdition,  The Seduction of Children: Empowering Parents and Teachers to Protect Children from Child Sexual Abuse all published by  Jessica Kingsley Publishers and   The Warrior Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence,   The Spirit Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Religious Sexual Abuse Across All Faiths, Responding to Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: A   pocket guide for professionals, partners, families and friends and   Numbing the Pain: A pocket guide for professionals supporting survivors of childhood sexual abuse and addiction all published by One in Four

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Christiane Sanderson Training

Christiane Sanderson Training

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