Professional Certificate in Working with Complex Trauma

3-weekend workshops | 27th April start | Alison Woodward | Poole

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This six-day CPD course will enable therapeutic practitioners to develop confidence in working within a phased trauma-informed framework.  This will enable effective and safe clinical work with clients who have experienced complex trauma.

The course will develop clinical practice by exploring established psychological concepts about attachment, relational patterns, family dynamics, ACES and our sense of self with the significant neurological impact of trauma on the brain’s development and functioning.  It will focus our thinking about how our bodies respond with defensive coping strategies to trauma and the significant post traumatic growth that can occur for clients when working within the phased approach.

The course will progress through subjects to build knowledge.  Topics covered will be broadly: 

  1. Introduction to Trauma Theory and ACES
  2. Attachment and impact of Trauma
  3. Neurological impact of Trauma
  4. Trauma within Families
  5. Dissociation / Working with the Body

Self-Care and Clinical Supervision

Course Description

The workshop will follow the following structure:

Days 1 - Introduction to Trauma Theory and ACES

  • Establishing the group
  • Intro to Trauma / CPTSD
  • Intro to the Framework
  • ACES
  • Working in the room, how do we incorporate this – pitfalls, blocks and ruptures

Day 2 - Attachment and impact of Trauma

  • What is attachment?
  • What is relational trauma?
  • Impact of poor attachment on development of CPTSD
  • Linking attachment to ACES and severity of trauma symptoms
  • Working in the room, how do we incorporate this – pitfalls, blocks and ruptures

Day 3 - Neurological impact of Trauma

  • Structures of the brain
  • The developing brain through childhood
  • How does relational trauma and attachment impact ‘normal’ development
  • Memory and Trauma
  • Working in the room, how do we incorporate this – pitfalls, blocks and ruptures

Day 4 - Trauma within Families

  • Intergenerational trauma and impact of unresolved trauma
  • Spotting and identifying trauma vs developmental behaviour in adolescents
  • Introduction to different modalities of work e.g. Internal Family Systems and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
  • Working in the room, how do we incorporate this – pitfalls, blocks and ruptures

Day 5 - Dissociation / Working with the Body

  • What is dissociation & why does it happen
  • Spectrum of Dissociation, its useful factors and how it becomes maladaptive
  • What does it feel like for the practitioner and the client (transference and countertransference)
  • How can we stay safe whilst acknowledging we might get it wrong sometimes
  • Working in the room, how do we incorporate this – pitfalls, blocks and ruptures

Day 6 - Self-Care and Clinical Supervision

  • Ending of the group
  • How do we look after ourselves in this impactful work
  • Clinical Supervision – what is trauma-informed supervision?
  • Trauma in organisations
  • How do we stay outside of powerful dynamics and challenge prejudicial behaviour
  • Working in the room, how do we incorporate this – pitfalls, blocks and ruptures
  • Close and ending, reflective journal sign off.

Breaks total 1.5 hours (one morning coffee break of 20mins, one lunch break of 50mins and one afternoon coffee break of 20mins)

Key benefits

This CPD professional certificate will develop confidence and deepen your understanding about working with the impact of complex trauma on the present day experience of your clients.  It will prepare you to:

  • To assess complex trauma within your clients and identify what symptoms can manifest
  • To understand further the link between child development theories and complex trauma presentations
  • To understand how the body is impacted when trauma occurs and strategies work with our bodies to process trauma safely
  • To develop and implement clinically safe practice tools and strategies
  • To experience a trauma framework that gives you a safe approach to working with trauma
  • To consider and use the clients trauma process safely by reflecting on the transference/countertransference that emerges in the work
  • To explore the importance of rupture and repair and how this can be used effectively in trauma work
  • To experience peer support and information about safe ethical practice
  • To access specialised trauma supervision and explore your own work in relation to trauma informed practice
  • To consider the impact on you as a practitioner and how to stay okay in the work

Who should attend this workshop?

Qualified Professionals working with clients who have experienced trauma to include: Counsellors, Psychotherapists, Psychologists etc.  Participants must be fully qualified and working either within private practice or organisations supporting individuals from a therapeutic stance.

No preparatory work is needed but participants will need to be prepared to share aspects of their clinical work (within appropriate confidentiality and ethical boundaries) throughout the course to take part in group discussions and clinical supervision.

Workshop dates and cost

Three weekends from April -July, in person at our Poole Campus

27/28 April
22/23 June
27/28 July 

TIming:  9.30am - 4.30pm


Non-IMC delegates =  £480.00

IMC Students/Graduates =  £360.00

Meet Alison Woodward

Alison is a Clinical Supervisor, UKCP accredited Psychotherapist and Certified Transactional Analyst. She works as a Senior Lecturer in the psychology department at Bournemouth University, as the Training and Development lead for the Sexual Trauma and Recovery Service (STARS) in Dorset and has a private psychotherapy practice. 

Alison has developed her experience in working with clients who have symptoms of complex PTSD and dissociative symptoms over 10 years.  She works within a three-phase therapeutic trauma framework with her clients to ensure clinical safety and space to understand and resolve the intrusive symptoms that clients experience.

She is passionate about finding effective ways to work with complex trauma clients, she works with each client individually to find what supports them and she has seen how recovery can and does happen when clients are given the time and space to work. 

Course Venues:   Exeter   |   Poole   

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