Healing Trauma in Couples Therapy

Wednesday, May 27–
Thursday, May 28, 2020


10:00 am to 5:15 pm, Eastern time

Janina Fisher and Terry Real have had far-reaching impact on the field of psychotherapy for over 60 years combined.

Janina Fisher’s specialization in somatic approaches to treating trauma, attachment and shame is recognized as an important evolution of the work of her mentors and colleagues: Judith Herman, Bessel van der Kolk and Pat Ogden. Her neurobiological approaches to the legacy of trauma have helped therapists worldwide bring applied neuroscience into their everyday clinical practice.

Terry Real has transformed the understanding of what it means to be a male in our culture and also revolutionized therapeutic work with men beginning in 1997 with the publication of I Don’t Want to Talk About It.   He has gone on to develop Relational Life Therapy, a dynamic couples therapy approach that is now used by thousands of therapists worldwide, and he runs the Relational Life Therapy Institute, which trains professionals to use his approach.

Together, for the first time, Janina Fisher and Terry Real will present their shared insights and approaches to working with couples whose difficult histories present additional challenges to both the relationship and the therapeutic process.

Childhood trauma leaves survivors with a fundamental mistrust in the safety of relationships. As adults, survivors develop defenses against vulnerability, commitment and emotion—often shutting down or getting stuck in mutually escalating conflicts with their partner. This workshop will demonstrate two different styles of intervention with these clients. One will emphasize challenging the couple’s ability to be emotionally authentic; the other will focus on the importance of somatic communication in helping couples connect.

These two days will feature a unique collaboration between two leading therapists known for their original thinking, effective innovations in psychotherapy and highly engaging and dynamic presentation styles.

Therapists will gain important new knowledge about the dynamics that make couples with trauma history the most difficult to help, as well as new tools that will greatly enhance their couples therapy repertoire.

You will learn how to

  • Help partners identify the role of trauma in their troubled relationships
  • Challenge couples to move beyond their stories and automatic responses
  • Change the conversation to help the couple repair with new patterns of response
  • Use nonverbal communication to reduce conflict and connect safely
  • Use somatic awareness and movement to bring about peace
  • Evoke a couple’s inherent capacity for authentic emotional connection and expression
Terry Real, LICSW  Janina Fisher, PhD  
The long-term legacy of early traumatic experience
The “dance of trauma”: how trauma affects intimate relationships
How to challenge trauma-related patterns in couples without loss of attunement
Disrupting cycles of blame or disconnection
Teaching couples new conversations
Communicating emotionally
Communicating without the use of words
Capitalizing on the healing potential of relationship

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Event Detail

May 27, 2020 10:00 am
May 28, 2020 5:15 pm