Events Calendar

New Search | About the Calendar | FAQs
Includes 15 km radius

RECOGNISING AND WORKING WITH COMPLEX TRAUMA - Two days of theory and skills training for working beyond single incident trauma.

Event number: 18830
14 CPD hours
Presenter(s): Pam Stavropoulos PhD

Complex trauma is highly damaging but frequently unrecognised and inappropriately treated. While current research in the neurobiology of attachment has major implications for treatment of trauma, the potential of these insights is not widely operationalised in clinical practice and confusion about the differences between ‘complex’ and ‘single incident’ trauma persists.

This training event which runs annually in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane addresses the stakes of recognising and responding to complex trauma (which comes in many guises) in light of current research findings and their implications for treatment. Clinical and research insights establish that effective approaches to complex trauma are “phased” and need to engage physical as well as cognitive and emotional processes (‘bottom up’ and ‘top down’) This poses challenges to standard perspectives (i.e. insight-based and cognitive behavioural) which privilege ‘talk’ and which thus require some reconsideration. Core features of effective therapy for complex trauma will be delineated and discussed.   

Learning objectives of this training:

  1. Recognise the possibility of complex trauma in diverse client presentations.
  2. Recognise differences between complex and single incident trauma and the treatment implications.   
  3. Identify the necessary components of effective therapy for complex trauma, and the extent to which the combination of these components may require modification and adaptation of their exiting ways of working.
  4. Chart the links between core principles of effective therapy for complex trauma and their clinical application.
  5. Recognise the centrality of the realm of the non-verbal and ways in which unarticulated experience is ‘evoked’, ‘enacted’ and ‘embodied’ (Wallin, 2007).
  6. Understand the rationale for the three phases of recommended treatment for complex trauma and assemble a foundational context in which Phase 1 (safety and stabilisation) can take place.
  7. Attune with increased sensitivity to non-verbal cues within the evolving stages of the therapeutic relationship.
  8. Understand the role of co-created enactments within the therapeutic relationship, attune to their own contributions to them and take steps to skilfully intercept ‘in-session’ impasses.
  9. Embed within their particular approach ongoing attunement to pre-verbal experience and the body with a view to assisting clients to stay within their ‘window of tolerance’.     


Morning Session (9:00am-12:40pm)

  • 'Complex' and 'single' incident trauma (PTSD): the stakes of the distinction and the implactions for treatment. 
  • A diverse reseach base: The neurobiology of attachment. 
  • Trauma Theory.
  • The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study.

Afternoon Session (1:30pm -4:30pm)

  • Clinical implications of the research base: Importance of non-verbal and the body (`bottom up’ and `top down’).
  • The challenge to `standard’ psychotherapeutic approaches.
  • Mental health and adaptation to trauma
  • The importance of dissociation.
  • Key features of effective therapy for complex trauma.Working clinically: Initial stages of therapy
  • Towards self-regulation (the centrality of safety).
  • Phased treatment.
  • Transference and counter-transference
  • The high stakes of therapist well-being
  • Vicarious trauma, self-care and supervision 


Morning Session (9:00am-12:40pm)

  • Core principles of effective therapy for complex trauma (applicable to all psychotherapeutic modalities; summary of Day 1 foundational knowledge as prelude to clinical application).
  • Sensitising to the non-verbal and the body.
  • Getting underway: receptivity to diverse cues
  • Attuning to your client: attachment, affect tolerance and dissociation

Afternoon Session (1:30pm -4:30pm)

  • ‘Evoked, enacted, embodied’ in the context of phased treatment.
  • Communicating the ‘unthought unknown’. 
  • Transference and counter-transference.
  • Tracking (extending and enhancing).
  • The centrality of ‘in-session’ enactments (includes exercises).
  • Reappraising ‘narcissism’ and ‘difficult behaviour’.
  • Empathic confrontation (Chu, 2011)
  • Untangling enmeshment 
  • Probing our experience (the links between reflective and effective practice).

Evaluation and closing

How will you benefit from attending this training?

  • Increase attunement to the role of non-verbal experience and the body in effective therapy for complex trauma.
  • Recognise the relationship between research findings pertaining to complex trauma and their application to practice.
  • Understand ways in which standard psychotherapeutic approaches (insight-based and cognitive behavioural) may require adaptation and supplement in light of the evolving research base on complex trauma and a basic capacity to tailor familiar ways of working in light of this understanding.

REGISTER HERE FOR SYDNEY EVENT on the 16th and 17th November 2017

REGISTER HERE FOR BRISBANE EVENT on the 23 and 24 November 2017

About the presenter(s)

Pam Stavropoulos PhD is an educator, consultant and therapist, with a particular interest in the politics of trauma and depression. A member of the Scientific Committee of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) she is co-author of the nationally and internationally endorsed Practice Guidelines for Treatment of Complex Trauma and Trauma Informed Care and Service Delivery (ASCA). A former Fulbright scholar, Pam has held lectureships at Macquarie University and the University of New England, and is a former Program Director at the Jansen Newman Institute where she also taught in the Master’s program. She is the author of Living under Liberalism: The Politics of Depression in Western Democracies (Florida: Universal, 2008) has written research reports in the community health sector, and is also a clinical supervisor.


Current students and provisional psychologist can attend all events at half price by applying to join our free Student & Graduate Program via our website at
Our events are fully catered and all resources are provided.



TRAUMA 2017.pdf [447.8 KB]

Online registration


UTS Function Centre Level
Level 7, Building 10, 235 Jones Street
Ultimo, NSW 2007
Venue is wheelchair accessible
Start date: 16/11/2017
End date: 17/11/2017
Time: 9:00am - 4:30pm each day


Park Ridges North Quay
293 North Quay
Brisbane, QLD 4000
Venue is wheelchair accessible
Start date: 23/11/2017
End date: 24/11/2017
Time: 9:00am - 4:30pm each day


Standard: $668
Early bird: $528 (ends 30 days prior to event)
Students and New Graduates attend at half price (apply online)

This seminar provides 14 hours for CPD points.
Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea included.
We accept payment by Visa, Mastercard, Amex PayPal, cheque and EFT.


The Professional Development People
The Professional Development People is committed to supporting professional communities. We aim to provide the highest quality training and development. All presenters and events are subject to a rigorous peer review process prior to acceptance on our calendar. Students & New Graduates attend our events at half price.
Contact Carmen Nicotra
1300 887622