Complex Trauma Revisited: An Evolving Model of Emotional, Cognitive and Relational Processing

Led by John Briere, PhD

Thursday, November 21, and
Friday, November 22, 2019

9:00 am to 4:40 pm

With his typical comprehensiveness, thought-provoking insight and compassion, John Briere returns to update previous research, revise common misperceptions and introduce exciting new developments specific to complex trauma treatment. You will learn about inhibitory learning theory, interspersal trigger management, how to foster metacognitive insight into triggered states, extinction deepening, the role of reconsolidation theory in counter-conditioning implicit memories and more.

We now know that complex trauma exposure typically involves a combination of early attachment disturbance, child maltreatment and later traumas. It is a major risk factor for a variety of adolescent and adult difficulties, including PTSD, substance abuse, suicide and other self-endangering behaviours, eating disorders, aggression, “borderline personality” and relational difficulties.

From his early work on trauma to his visionary integration of mindfulness and relational issues in psychotherapy, John continues to be a major contributor in the evolution of our understanding of trauma and how to treat it. Drawing on work from his recent and upcoming books, he argues that standard therapies for complex trauma cited in evidence-based literature are often the same ones recommended for single-event traumas and simple anxiety/PTSD outcomes. These therapie  s generally call on theories developed in the 1980s and 1990s, despite newer findings that tend to contradict some of the central assumptions of these models.

For example, in contrast to widely promoted principles, he shows that in most cases, classical exposure therapy does not fully eliminate PTSD, and may motivate dropout rates in excess of 50%; that trauma memories do not have to be extinguished as much as inhibited by newer, therapy-based learning; that exposure need not be prolonged in order to be effective; and that several non-exposure treatments appear to be at least as helpful as exposure therapy in addressing posttraumatic stress.

Join John Briere to learn about his latest ideas and treatment formulations, based on decades of clinical experience and research. 

You Will Learn:

  • New approaches to therapeutic exposure that are less likely to overwhelm and may broaden treatment effects
  • How to work with treatment-activated attachment memories as they arise in the session
  • Trigger management techniques, including trigger identification, breath-based relaxation, grounding, emotion/urge surfing, strategic distraction and harm reduction
  • How to capitalize on the neurobiology of attachment when counter-conditioning relational trauma
  • About the use of metacognitive learning to decrease client posttraumatic distress and susceptibility to triggers
  • About the “suppression effect” and the pain paradox as they relate to intervening in avoidance responses
Complex trauma: Overview of the current literature
9:00 am—10:30 am
Break
10:30 am—10:45 am
What’s in a name?
10:45 am—12:15 pm

Complex PTSD, borderline personality disorder and distress-reduction behaviors

Lunch on your own
12:15 pm—1:30 pm
Classic approaches to trauma treatment versus the implications of new research
1:30 pm—2:45 pm
Break
2:45 pm—2:55 pm
Treatment staging:
2:55 pm—4:40 pm

Stabilization, skills development, emotional regulation and processing

Trigger management and ReGAINing
9:00 am—10:30 am
Break
10:30 am—10:45 am
Modified therapeutic exposure:
10:45 am—12:15 pm

titration, multiple targets and interspersal

Lunch on your own
12:15 pm—1:30 pm
Processing early trauma- and attachment-related memories:
1:30 pm—2:45 pm

Counter-conditioning and in vivo activation strategies in the context of neurobiological activation

Break
2:45 pm—2:55 pm
Closing, the “Zeigarnik effect” and reconsolidation
2:55 pm—4:40 pm

Event Detail

November 21, 2019 9:00 am
November 22, 2019 4:40 pm