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CC16 Workshop 04 - Trauma and Intimacy – How Relationships Hurt and Heal
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Research confirms our clinical experience. We can teach partners all manner of skills but in moments of triggering, emotional flooding, skills go out the window. Why? Because we are no longer in our adult selves. Our thinking brain has shut down and the limbic system has taken over. An inner child part has seized the wheel. This workshop introduces a model of working with the traumatized parts of the partners we treat by empowering individuals to come into conscious relationship with those parts—loving, understanding, and ultimately containing them. Maturity comes when we deal with our immature inner children and stop foisting them off on our partners to deal with. An expanded model of trauma will be presented, including both issues of shame and grandiosity, intrusion and abandonment—and how these impact couples interactions. Through discussion, demonstration, and video excerpt, participants will learn how to empower partners in couples to “detach from outcome,” deal with disappointment, let go of, “relentless hope,” and care for their own wounded or adapted inner children. Finally, we will touch upon the couples therapist’s own differentiation—how we must use in the therapy, the same capacities we develop in our clients.

Educational Objectives:

  1. Introduce and detail the idea of “mutual triggering,”—how childhood trauma fuels repetitive, problematic couple’s dynamics.
  2. Distinguish two different types of inner children—the wounded and the adapted child.
  3. Describe specific techniques for empowering the adult part of the partner to deal with trauma triggering and shift the repetitive interactive pattern. 
Terry Real, LICSW

Terry Real, LICSW, is a nationally recognized family therapist, author, and teacher. He is particularly known for his groundbreaking work on men and male psychology as well as his work on gender and couples; he has been in private practice for over twenty-five years. Terry has appeared often as the relationship expert for Good Morning America and ABC News. His work has been featured in numerous academic articles as well as media venues such as Oprah, 20/20, The Today Show, CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today and many others.


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