The Australian Counselling Association (ACA) is a National progressive professional peak association of counsellors and psychotherapists with over 5,000 individual members

Professional Development

Event Details - POST TRAUMATIC SUCCESS: Solution-Focused Approaches to Trauma, Loss and Grief

Title: POST TRAUMATIC SUCCESS: Solution-Focused Approaches to Trauma, Loss and Grief
Type of Activity: Workshops & Seminars
Objective of Course / Workshop:

Many therapists are immobilised by the idea that therapy with clients who have experienced sexual abuse or severe trauma is somehow different or more specialised. Sexual abuse and trauma test the Solution-Focused assertion that problem and solution are not necessarily connected!

There has been an increased focus recently on the prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among people who have experienced abuse or trauma. PTSD is increasingly seen as the almost inevitable consequence of experiencing trauma and ideas about psychological and emotional damage and the importance of in-depth therapy (often with some form of re-experiencing).

However, there is a different view. Dr George Bonanno, from the Clinical Psychology Program at Columbia University in New York, concludes "Recent research indicates that the most common reaction among adults exposed to [traumatic] events is a relatively stable pattern of healthy functioning coupled with the enduring capacity for positive emotion and generative experiences". Prof Sandy McFarlane, from the Centre for Trauma Stress Studies at the University of Adelaide comments that, "The typical pattern for even the most catastrophic experiences is resolution of symptoms and not the development of PTSD".

Thus, Post-Traumatic Success may be an expected outcome. This does NOT mean ignoring the reality of pain and trauma — however, this perspective requires a therapeutic approach that builds on, and values, hope, possibility and strength.

This course will contrast notions of ongoing damage with the idea that people who have suffered abuse and trauma can build new views of self and possibilities for a successful future. Looking forward will be suggested as a more useful focus, although ideas for looking back in creative, helpful ways will also be addressed.

The course will focus on adolescents and adults who experienced sexual abuse, violence, natural disaster and other kinds of trauma and who present with difficulties of guilt, depression, poor self-esteem, relationship problems, etc. It will offer a practical framework for therapy derived from the Solution-Focused Brief Therapy approach and recent Strengths perspective and resilience research and a more hopeful and positive way to approach post-traumatic stress. The course includes practical exercises that can be used with individuals or groups that assist in identifying and strengthening personal strengths and resources.

Course / Workshop Outline:
OPD points: 10
Course / Workshop content:
Start/End Date: 13/06/2019 to 14/06/2019
Time: 09:30:00 - 16:30:00
Presenter / Provider: Michael Durrant
Contact Name: Compass Office
Contact Phone: 0455 544 577
Contact Email:
Qualifications: Psychology

Michael Durrant has extensive experience in applying Solution-Focused Brief Therapy to the consequences of various kinds of trauma. He has consulted to two different adult sexual assault services in Sydney, has conducted Solution-Focused training for STARTTS (The NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors), has published on the use of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy in working with children and young people who have suffered sexual abuse and has provided training and/or supervision in Soluton-Focused work with trauma to a number of child & family or CAMHS services. Michael presented an invited plenary address, After sexual abuse: Victimhod or competence, at two different American family therapy conferences and the workshop, Fitting the past into a future-focused therapy, at the European Brief Therapy Conference.

Following the Blue Mountains Bushfires (2013), Michael was the Clinical Supervisor for a government-funded Bushfire Recovery Counselling & Support Service. This service operated in a solely Solution-Focused manner with people who had lost their homes in extremely traumatic circumstances. Michael was also engaged by the NSW Ministry of Police and Emergency Services to provide "debriefing" to personnel who had coordinated the immediate bushfire disaster response.

Michael is a psychologist and Australia's leading international trainer of Solution Focused Brief Therapy. He is director of the Brief Therapy Institute of Sydney, President of the Australasian Association for Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, an Honorary Associate in the Faculty of Education and Social Work - University of Sydney, and a visiting faculty, to the Special Education Program - Fontys University, The Netherlands. He has published four books (including Creative Strategies in Schools) and numerous articles, and is particularly known for the application of Solution-Focused interventions in mental health and school contexts.

Address: Holiday Inn Parramatta
Address 2: 18 – 40 Anderson Street
Suburb: Parramatta
State: NSW
Postcode: 2150
Parking: Paid
Is there disability parking and entry? Yes
Are meals included with this event? Yes
If yes, what meals? Morning / Afternoon Tea & Lunch
Registration URL:
Cost ($): 399 - 600
Registration Instruction (if applicable):

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