While it took some time for researchers and practitioners to agree that Complex PTSD has its own aetiology, symptomatology and recommended therapeutic methods; distinct from PTSD – there is now increasing realization that our clinical approaches need to be considerably different when our clients have suffered prolonged and repeated incidences of interpersonal trauma. Such trauma could have been chronic sexual, psychological and physical abuse, neglect, intimate partner violence or situations that involved captivity – resulting in extended periods of terror, fear and severe dysregulations of affect and arousal.

This practical and clinically oriented e-learning course draws on efficacy proven techniques from relational psychotherapy, Parts Work Therapy, Somatic Psychology, EMDR Therapy, DBT and mindfulness-based techniques – to explain effective therapeutic tools that facilitate a strength-based approach to trauma recovery and increase resilience in our clients.

While a number of practitioners have been trained to work with single, traumatic events – navigating Complex PTSD requires us to work with multiple layers of personal, relational, societal and / or cultural losses. Dr Schwartz has organized this coursein an experiential format – aimed at helping us successfully organize and prioritize our clients’ therapeutic goals. Through a series of lectures, case vignettes and examples, we will learn how to compassionately and effectively work with clients who have experienced multiple traumatic events and prolonged trauma exposure.

Our learning objectives include:

  • identify contributing factors to the development of Complex PTSD
  • discuss a phase oriented, evidence-based approach to complex trauma treatment as a structured approach to therapy
  • recognize how polyvagal theory provides an essential foundation for understanding arousal states as related to the tri-phasic model of trauma recovery
  • explain how mutual regulation serves as a precursor to self-regulation in treatment
  • identify at least five practical mind-body therapy tools to help clients feel resourced and prepared for trauma processing
  • describe how to help clients build affect and sensation tolerance in preparation for trauma processing
  • recognize how working with the “Window of Tolerance” can help reduce the likelihood of re-traumatization
  • describe how “top-down” and “bottom up” interventions can speed up or slow down the pacing of trauma treatment
  • practice at least three interventions for  working with somatic symptoms in trauma treatment
  • recognize how client’s “parts” related to early developmental trauma can contribute to somatic symptoms
  • understand how to work with preverbal memories by attending to somatic sensations
  • identify self-care practices for therapists to manage somatic countertransference and vicarious trauma

Our focus will be on the following skills:

  • Reclaiming Choice and Containment
  • Somatic Release and Grounding
  • Breath Awareness Practice
  • Developing Dual Awareness
  • Create your Resilience Recipe
  • Relational Resourcing and the Tree of Life
  • Increasing Affect & Sensation Tolerance
  • Imagining a Reparative Experience 


Module 1: Understanding Complex PTSD

  • Defining Complex PTSD
    • Diagnostic Clarification and Differential Diagnosis
    • Contributing Factors of C-PTSD
    • Symptoms of C-PTSD
    • Skill: Reclaiming Choice and Containment
  • Realities of Working with Complex PTSD
    • Skill: Self-Awareness and Self-Care for Therapists

Module 2: The Neurobiology of C-PTSD

  • The Neurobiology of C-PTSD: Beyond Fight and Flight
    • Polyvagal Theory
    • Mobilization and Immobilization
    • 6 Stages of Trauma Response
    • Conditioned Immobilization
    • Skill: Somatic Release
  • Dissociation and Dissociation
    • Preverbal and Nonverbal memories
    • Clinical Assessment tools: Triggering Events, Avoidance Behaviours, and Dissociative Symptoms
    • Skill: Grounding

Module 3: Implications for Therapy

  • Interpersonal neurobiology
    • Neuropsychotherapy: The 6 R’s of Healing Trauma
    • “Window of Tolerance”
    • Top-Down and Bottom-Up Processing Interventions
    • Psychobiological Tools in Therapy
    • Skill: Breath Awareness Practice

Module 4: Phase Based Treatment 

  • Stabilization and Safety
  • Skill: Anchoring the Adult Self
  • Working Through Complex PTSD
  • Skill: Develop Dual Awareness
  • Integration and Meaning Making
  • Skill: Create your Resilience Recipe 

Module 5: Integrative Model of Care

  • Introduction to the Integrative Approach
    • Biopsychosocial Model of Treatment
  • Relational Therapy
    • Co-Regulation
    • Psychobiological Regulation and Applied Polyvagal Theory
    • Skill: Relational Resourcing
  • CBT, ACT, & NET
    • Skill: The Weather Report and Forecast
    • Skill: Tree of Life

Module 6: Integrative Model Part 2

  • Dialectical Behavioural Therapy
    • Skill: Cultivate Wise Mind
    • Skill: Build Boundaries
    • Skill: Increase Affect and Sensation Tolerance
  • Parts Work Therapies
    • Skill: Identify Allies
    • Skill: Imagine a Reparative Experience

Module 7: Integrative Model Part 3

  • Exposure and EMDR Therapy
    • Skill: Reprocessing the Past
    • Skill: Pendulation
  • Somatic Psychology
    • 5 Stage model of Trauma Processing
    • Skill: Sequencing and Somatic Re-Patterning
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Acceptance and Compassion Practices
    • Skill: Mindfulness of the Moment
    • Skill: EFT
    • Skill: Gratitude and Loving Kindness Meditations

Module 8: Integration and Closure

  • Integration and Closure
    • Existential Considerations
    • Fostering Resilience
    • Integration and Installation of Positive Change
    • Skill: Golden Nugget Practice
  • Case Conceptualization, Discussion, and Questions

CPD Hours: 10

Ticket prices:

Individual ticket for 2 year access: £220
(note: if you face any problems booking online, please call us at 020 7096 1722)