“Working with Survivors of Domestic Abuse: From coercive control through to physical and sexual violence” with Christiane Sanderson on Saturday 9th September
On average, two women a week in the UK are murdered by their partner or ex-partner. While much of the clinical literature focuses on physical violence in domestic abuse (DA), there is increasing evidence that power, control, coercion and emotional abuse is used to control partners in intimate relationships.
This workshop, which would be especially relevant for psychotherapists, counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists, aims to enhance our comprehension of DA, its impact and long term effects on survivors; while explaining how, as practitioners, we can work effectively using the principles of safe trauma therapy, psychoeducation and stabilisation to restore control and to allow for the processing of the DA narrative. It will look at the spectrum of DA, including the dynamics of control and coercion in emotional abuse, and the role of shame and humiliation that silences those who are being domestically abused.
The workshop will consider the use of physical force, sexual violence, financial abuse, spiritual abuse and revenge porn, and identify those most at risk of DA. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the processes involved in DA such as grooming victims, the cycle of abuse, the role of dissociation and thought blindness that supports the trauma bond which binds the couple. The aim is to understand the role of attachment and fear of abandonment that underpins much of DA and how this manifests relationally both for the couple and practitioners working with DA. We also look at the importance of the therapeutic relationship in restoring relational worth, mitigating the de-humanising effects of DA and restoring autonomy and self-agency.
Conceptualising DA within the complex trauma framework, we consider the processing of the DA narrative and the facilitation of post traumatic growth. By identifying the challenges of working with DA and introducing a range of therapeutic skills, practitioners will feel more equipped when working with survivors of DA and enhance their comprehension of the transformative effects of post traumatic growth for both clients and practitioners.
Specifically, we will consider:
• The nature and dynamics of DA, such as the role of charm and enticement, the use of control and coercion, the cycle of abuse, the nature of thought blindness that facilitates the trauma bond and the role of silence, secrecy and shame
• The intergenerational transmission of DA through attachment and relational
• The characteristics of male and female perpetrators
• DA as complex trauma and its neurobiological impact
• The psychological impact and long term effects of DA on partners, and children
• Obstacles to leaving an abusive relationship
• The importance of developing safety plans when leaving
• The principles of trauma informed practice model when working with survivors of DA
• The impact of working with DA on practitioners and the role of self-care
Christiane Sanderson (BSc, MSc) is an experienced counselling psychologist, lecturer and trainer in psychology and counselling, with a particular interest in child protection, interpersonal abuse and trauma. She is Lecturer in Psychology at Roehampton University and London University, Birkbeck College, and consultant and trainer to both statutory and voluntary agencies, as well as a practitioner with 25 years’ experience of working with survivors of CSA.
Christiane is author of many publications on safeguarding, child protection and abuse including Counselling Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, 3rd Edition (2006), The Seduction of Children: Empowering Parents and Teachers to protect Children from Child Sexual Abuse (2004), Counselling Survivors of Domestic Abuse (2008), Introduction to Counselling Survivors of Interpersonal Trauma (2010) all published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. She has also written The Warrior Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse and Violence and The Spirit Within: A One in Four Handbook on Religious Sexual Abuse across all faiths, both published by One in Four. Her newest book, published in 2013, is Counselling Skills for Working with Trauma: Healing from Child Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse.