Relational Aspects of Therapy

About the Course:

Psychotherapy outcome research shows that the relationship between therapist and client is highly predictive of therapy outcome. This is especially so for chronically traumatized persons, who have been relationally violated so often. In the therapy of complex trauma patients, there are six choice points that present typical relational challenges. The beginning phase of treatment involves a relational “opening gambit,” an unconscious negotiation over how therapist and client will relate. The early relationship is then often tested through a “first emergency.” As the relationship becomes more solid, clients reveal a virtually universal “empty depression,” often then followed by “omnivorous rage.” There are countertransference challenges in dealing with these powerful emotions. As therapy nears termination, the client must first “rebuild the devastated life,” followed by “termination that does not destroy the work.” Each of these challenges will be described and useful approaches discussed, with case examples. Typical countertransference struggles at each phase will be presented.

Publication Date:

June 2018

Course Material Author

Philip J. Kinsler, Ph.D., ABPP

Philip J. Kinsler, Ph.D., ABPP, is Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, and Instructor of Psychiatry at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. He is a Past President of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. Dr. Kinsler has been writing, publishing, and training persons in the relational aspects of trauma treatment since the early 1990’s. His recent book, Complex Psychological Trauma: The Centrality of Relationship, was published by Routledge in 2018, and will serve as a guide to and a casebook for Dr. Kinsler’s presentation.

Course Objectives:

  1. Describe the importance of relationship in complex trauma treatment

  2. Identify six common relational challenges in complex trauma treatment.

  3. Identify their common countertransference struggles at each relational crisis/choice circle

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Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB)

Our Provider Number: 1020

CE Learning Systems, provider #1020, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. CE Learning Systems maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 2/23/2019 – 2/23/2022. Social workers completing this course receive 1.5 [type] continuing education credit(s).

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American Psychological Association (APA)

CE Learning Systems is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. CE Learning Systems maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

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NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC)

Our Provider Number: 107243

This course has been approved by CE Learning Systems, service provider of, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #107243, CE Learning Systems is responsible for all aspects of their programming.

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National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

NASP accepts 30 CPD credits of sequenced self-study per each three year renewal.

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American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders (AAHCPAD)

Our Provider Number: 17-1460

CE Learning Systems dba has been approved to offer Continuing Education credit for Certified Addiction Specialists (CAS) in accordance with the American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders. Approval No. 17-1460.

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Course Video

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Exam Questions

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Course Number 102281
1.5 credit hour
Recorded Webinar
Exam Fee: $10.46
4.7 out of 5
3 members have taken this course