Addressing Patient Needs While Maintaining Boundaries: A Triggered Patient Seeks Physical Comfort (webinar)

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Presenters: Damion Grasso, PhD, University of Connecticut; Cheryl Lanktree, PhD, Keck School of Medicine, USC; Victor LaBruna, PhD, Adelphi University’s School of Social Work 
Moderators: Julian Ford, PhD, University of Connecticut and Rocio Chang, MA, PsyD, University of Connecticut

In the newest webinar, you will see how an actual therapist handles crises that arise in trauma-focused psychotherapy. Eleven-year-old Clara is in her third treatment session, sharing about the first sexual abuse she experienced. Clara’s growing discomfort is evident as she describes her mother’s former live-in boyfriend, Michael, and how the abuse progressed. Clara becomes overtly distressed and leaps onto the therapist, embracing him. The therapist gently reestablishes physical boundaries and facilitates her diaphragmatic breathing. The scenario illustrates the complexity of the therapeutic relationship and the balance therapists must achieve for effectively supporting traumatized patients while also maintaining healthy boundaries.

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