The wounds sustained early in life from traumatising relationships with important caregivers reverberate throughout adulthood. Frequently this results in intractable difficulties navigating intimate relationships, in particular in managing the emotional demands of parenthood. Having a clear understanding of both the core relational wounds and the adaptations people make to manage these wounds can support psychotherapists in effectively disrupting intergenerational cycles of relational trauma, neglect and abuse: through their work with parents and children in dyadic psychotherapies or with adults in individual psychotherapy.
Drawing on attachment theory, ethology, and trauma theories, Jackie will familiarise participants with a comprehensive model of intergenerational trauma, exploring the mechanisms underpinning three types of trauma: relational trauma, acute episodic abuse and the chronic and unpleasant hostility and helplessness that often characterises these traumatising relationships. The models propose that ‘terrified shame without solution’ from infancy, is the central and enduring problem, to which infants and children must adapt.
Some of the somatic markers of intergenerational trauma will also be safely and gently explored under Krystie’s guidance, as an awareness of the felt sense of this material ‘in the room’ can greatly enhance therapeutic contact and protect practitioner well being.
In the second part of the workshop Jackie and Krystie will discuss the theoretically predicted objectives of any effective therapy for these families and individuals and their practical application in the therapy room: with individuals and dyads. There will be opportunities for participants to discuss the ideas that emerge from the theory, and consider the implications for resolving clinical dilemmas.