This course is no longer run as a live training day, and has become an online training course.


This training builds on previous courses by Carolyn Spring but presents fresh insights into working with clients who have a history of repeated childhood trauma and/or are presenting with chronic dissociative symptoms and/or a dissociative disorder. Often referred to as ‘complex’ by the polite and ‘difficult’, ‘challenging’, ‘revolving-door’ and ‘borderline’ by the less polite, these clients do present many challenges, but their behaviours and symptoms are entirely logical in the light of their early life history, and this course will help to shed light on how to work effectively with them in order to progress towards recovery – a life that is no longer dominated by trauma responses.

The course will take a neurobiologically-informed approach, meaning that we will look at how the body and brain’s natural defences have been stimulated by overwhelming threat, and how that response has become stuck and then manifests in the complex behaviours of a trauma-related disorder. Building on other courses, we’ll look at the brain science behind this and various paradigms which help to make the complex simple, including the concept of the back brain and front brain, and how recovery from trauma involves a continual shift away from survival-based, back brain reflexes into more adaptive, elective, front brain choices. This course won’t just present the theory in a disembodied, abstract way, but will explain it with insightful metaphors and Carolyn’s own experience of ten years of therapy and recovery from the disabling effects of a frozen trauma response.

This course will look at the burning questions that so many therapists have when working with this client group, including:

  • How should you engage with ‘parts’?
  • How can you avoid ‘retraumatising’ the client?
  • How do you work with the client who can’t properly remember the trauma?
  • What do you do with the client who cannot stay present during a session?
  • How do you deal with dependency?
  • Is integration the goal?
  • How do you pace sessions?
  • What do you do if you can’t get the adult ‘back’ at the end of a session?
  • How do you deal with stuckness?
  • How do you avoid traumatic reenactments within the therapy room and the therapy relationship?
  • What pitfalls are there in this work?
  • How do you look after yourself whilst working with such demanding and at times overwhelming content and trauma?
  • How do you deal effectively and empathically with self-harm and suicidality?
  • How do you process traumatic memories?
  • Do you allow the client to ‘switch’ or do you keep the ‘adult’ present?
  • And many other questions

This course is for you if:

  • You want more confidence in the work you’re doing, or plan to do, with traumatised clients
  • You want practical, effective suggestions on how to work in the session
  • You want to better understand the mechanics of trauma and how they can be applied to work with your individual, unique clients
  • You want to feel less alone and isolated in your work
  • You want to understand your dissociative clients better, and know how best to support them
  • You want to have a roadmap for the work you are doing, rather than taking each session as it comes
  • You want to expand your toolkit for working with dissociative states
  • You want to gain a theoretical framework to direct and support your work, which will enhance not only your work with your client but also help you to take full advantage of supervision
  • You want to be encouraged and inspired – that recovery is possible, and is possible for your clients
  • You already have some understanding and experience of trauma and dissociative disorders but you want to go deeper and sharpen your skill
  • You want answers to the questions listed above.

This course is aimed specifically at counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists and other professionals working in a clinical setting (including private practice) with clients who have experienced childhood trauma. Although it would be ideal to have attended other PODS courses, especially Dissociation and DID: The Fundamentals, it is not strictly necessary, but please be warned that the topics covered in that course specifically will not be repeated in this one.

You will also find the course of relevance if you do not directly work with traumatised people in a clinical setting but you have an interest in this field, including as a survivor yourself. Please just be aware that the emphasis will be on the therapy session, although many of the principles could be extrapolated into other settings.

Upon completion of the online course, learners will be able to claim a digital CPD certificate and have access to digital resources that support the course.

The speaker is Carolyn Spring.

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