MASSW -Trauma and the Struggle to Open Up: Relational Strategies to Treat Challenging Trauma Clients

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Manitoba Association of School Social Workers (MASSW)

Conference Title: Trauma and the Struggle to Open Up: Relational Strategies to Treat Challenging Trauma Clients

Location: Virtual Microsoft TEAMS link will be provided with registration at a later date.

Date: October 22, 2021

8:45 am - Opening Remarks, Greetings from Elder
9:00 am - Keynote Presentation: Dr. Robert T. Muller
12:00 pm - Lunch (on your own)
1:00 pm - Keynote Presentation resumes
3:15 pm - Door prizes, Closing Remarks

Keynote Information: Dr. Robert T Muller
Trauma and the Struggle to Open Up: Relational Strategies to Treat Challenging Trauma Clients

Canadian researcher, professor, and author Robert T. Muller, Ph.D. trained at Harvard, was on the faculty of the University of Massachusetts, and is currently at York University in Toronto. Dr. Muller is a Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) for his work on trauma treatment. His most recent book, “Trauma and the Struggle to Open Up” was awarded the 2019 ISSTD award for year’s best written book on trauma. And his award-winning best seller, “Trauma and the Avoidant Client” has been translated widely. As lead investigator on several multi-site programs to treat interpersonal trauma, Dr. Muller has lectured internationally and has been keynote speaker at mental health conferences across Canada. He founded an online magazine, “The Trauma & Mental Health Report” that is now visited by over 100,000 readers each year. With over 25 years in the field, Dr. Muller practices in Toronto.

This practical workshop, led by Dr. Robert T. Muller, is aimed at building our understanding of the therapeutic relationship with challenging trauma clients; namely those students who struggle to open up or who have been taught to stay silent. As counsellors, while all of us try to maintain a strong and healthy therapeutic relationship, this can be easier said than done. Trauma clients struggle to trust, many minimize their own traumatic experiences or reject help. Others rush into the work, seeking a “quick fix” despite a long history of interpersonal trauma.

Drawing upon attachment theory and research, and his wealth of clinical experience, Dr. Muller explains how we can work with hard-to-reach students in counselling, how we can find points of entry and ways to make contact. Using an integrative, relational approach, the workshop discusses and demonstrates strategies for developing a counselling relationship so that we can help the client regain trust in others. Dr. Muller will explore such questions as “How do we tell when our client doesn’t feel safe?” and “What happens when we rush into the process, how can this be addressed?” Dr. Muller walks us through the relational approaches that help pace the process of opening up – so that clients find the experience helpful, not harmful.

Throughout the workshop, theory is complemented by case examples, practical exercises, and segments from Dr. Muller’s own treatment sessions. The workshop focuses on clinical skills that are directly applicable in our work as clinicians.

Registration Fees and Membership Fees:
Membership + Conference Fee: $60 (MASSW 2021-2022 membership with conference)
Conference Fee: $70
Membership Fee (membership only/not attending conference): $25
Student Conference Fee: $60 (MASSW 2021-2022 membership with conference)

Online registration will begin September 1, 2021 and will remain open until Wednesday, October 20, 2021. Online payment is through PayPal account, credit card or Visa debit.

If you have any CONFERENCE questions, please contact Kimberly Mackey,

If you have any REGISTRATION questions, please contact Lyana Hoydalo, Treasurer,