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Working With Repeated Trauma


Traumas that happen more than once--child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, gang violence, and even war are repeated traumas--they are actually repeated relational traumas. They happen inside relationship and must be healed inside relationship. How do we support our clients to engage in treatment that is necessary and terrifying? In this two day program, we will provide you a map to help you guide survivors and their loved ones through that healing process and persevere in the process of getting well. Healing from trauma is not an event or a linear process. It is a series of cycles that spiral through recognizable phases. Over the two days we will be exploring the Cycle of Healing Repeated Trauma which is made up of five distinct phases:

• Preparation (getting ready)
• Unintegration (a controlled coming apart)
• Identification (sorting, identifying, and experimenting)
• Integration (weaving the pieces back together)
• Consolidation (solidifying and stabilizing)

Each phase has its own focus and purpose, as well as its own set of needs to attend to that you as a therapist can support and strengthen. Each phase requires a different set of skills and capacities from the survivor and their guides or support system. What works well in one phase doesn’t necessarily work well in another phase and the cycle of healing repeated trauma is not linear, so it's important to help the survivor to understand that circling back around to a previous stage actually means progress as well as facing new challenges. We will explore trauma from the individual, group and community perspective. In addition to supporting the clients’ work, we will also take time to support our own resilience as guides for healing.

Faculty Bio

Gretchen Schmelzer, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and a trauma survivor who has worked for twenty-five years with the complex issues of trauma, integration, and behavior change across every level, from individuals to groups to large systems and countries. She is the founder and editor of The Trail Guide, a web-mag featured on www.gretchenschmelzer.com dedicated to healing repeated trauma and the author of Journey Through Trauma (Avery, 2018).

Carolyn Murphy has over 25 years of experience using psychology and adult learning theories to help individuals and teams change. As both a survivor of repeated trauma and a practicing leadership coach, she is well-versed in trauma healing modalities and has a particular passion for helping trauma survivors thrive at work.

Smith College School for Social Work Summer Seminar Series— Link to Registration here

Earlier Event: August 1
Brave Healers: On holding our stories