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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.

**This course is based on the recorded webinar, Relational Aspects of Therapy created by Philip J. Kinsler, Ph.D., ABPP in 2018.**

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 Creator


These questions were created by staff and volunteers at ISSTD.

Recommended For:

Counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychologists and social workers. This course is appropriate for intermediate levels of knowledge.

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

Use our CE Approvals tool to look up your state requirements and how can help you meet them, or log in to your member account to show approvals relevant to your licensure.

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

1.5 CE Credit hour

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American Psychological Association (APA)

1.5 CE Credit hour

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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Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR)

1.5 CE Credit hour

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National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

1.5 CPD hour

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Course Video

This material is available to purchase for $45. For your convenience, has arranged with ISSTD to make it available for purchase right here. » More info

Exam Questions

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Course Number 102281
1.5 credit hour
Log in for credit hours relevant to your licensure.

  • Recorded Webinar
Exam Fee: $8.96 No exam fee with a membership package!
4.67 out of 5
3 members have taken this course


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