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Working Safely with Families
and Trauma

Families affected by traumatic events can often break down as each family member struggles in their own way to come to terms with what has happened. Understanding distress reactions and their effect on family dynamics can help the family to cope better. If family members don’t understand each other’s experience, then misunderstandings, communication breakdowns and other problems can result.

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This is often because unresolved traumatic symptoms fuel behavioural and emotional problems and family conflict, and/or the family interactions can maintain or exacerbate the pain of traumatic memories.

This workshop integrates a neurobiologically informed understanding of trauma, dissociation, and attachment within the framework of family therapy. As with any teaching paradigm, the practitioner needs educational models and tools. For trauma stabilisation work, the most important tools are: psychoeducation, therapist modeling of attention to safety, skill-building, and empowering the client by teaching them how to take charge of the therapeutic process. 


The workshop will demonstrate how to:

  • teach clients about trauma symptoms: how to recognise them, how to anticipate them, what they mean, how to manage them

  • decrease the client's shame, confusion, and sense of being overwhelmed

  • mobilise the strengths of families to amplify healing and change

This workshop will demonstrate the skills needed by trauma clients in order to stay stable include the following:

  • understanding that many of their trauma symptoms are memory equivalents

  • grounding and centering techniques

  • coping strategies for dealing with individual and interpersonal distress

  • contracting for safety with themselves and others

  • how to anticipate stressful or triggering events

  • learning how to calm the body and mind

  • distinguishing past and present reality and how to stay "in the present"  along with recognising and making better use of dissociative abilities

  • working with the impact of trauma on identity, and redefining the client's role from that of victim to that of survivor


Weaving a range of unique interventions adapted from a number of cutting-edge therapeutic approaches, including sensorimotor psychotherapy, family systems, mindfulness-based therapies, and EFT. This workshop provides a practical approach to trauma treatment in family systems, communicated in straightforward language accessible to both clients and practitioners. Participants will leave with a solid grasp of therapeutic approaches to trauma stabilisation, working with dissociative symptoms, integrating brain-based treatment methods, and much more. Most of all, they will come away with tools for helping clients create an internal sense of safety and compassion.


To arrange this workshop for your organisation, please contact Dr Kate Owen at or 0408528380.

To attend a public event, please search the Compass Seminars Australia website at

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