Engaging Traumatized Clients Who Avoid Attachment, Closeness, & Painful Feelings


Schedule: April 26th & 27th, 2018
                  9:00 am – 5:00 pm
        Cost: $450.00
  Included: Book, coffee breaks, & certificate of attendance
  Location: Holiday Inn South,
                    4206 MacLeod Trail,
                                                     Calgary, Alberta
                   Room Reservation: If needed, a room can be reserved at a rate of
                                                     $119.00 per night using group code TTA or
                                                     group name Talk Therapy by calling
                                                     403-287-2700 or 1-866-554-0162, or
                                                      on-line at Holiday Inn
                                   Presenter: Robert T. Muller, Ph.D., C.Psych.

Workshop description

This practical workshop, led by Dr. Robert T. Muller- a leading expert on therapy for Trauma and globally acclaimed author of the psychotherapy bestseller: Trauma & the Avoidant Client, Attachment-Based Strategies for Healing’ – is aimed at building our therapeutic understanding of clinical work with avoidant clients.

While there has been considerable research into effects and treatments of trauma, surprisingly little work has been focused on specific intervention strategies to help traumatized clients who are avoidant of attachment. Many clients cope with traumatic intra-familial experiences by minimizing painful feelings, by becoming emotionally distant, and by devaluing interpersonal closeness, intimacy and feelings of vulnerability. With individuals who adopt a self-protective help-rejecting stance, psychotherapy can prove extremely challenging for client and therapist alike.

Drawing upon attachment theory and research, and upon a wealth of clinical experience, Dr Muller explains how, as psychotherapists, psychologists, counsellors and psychiatrists, we can work with such hard-to-treat clients, how we can find points of entry and ways in which we can make contact. Using a relational, psycho-dynamic approach, the workshop discusses and demonstrates strategies for developing the therapeutic relationship, such that we can assist the client to regain a sense of trust in others. We explore therapeutic techniques through which the client is encouraged to take interpersonal risks, to mourn losses, and to face vulnerabilities. Uniquely, Dr. Muller illustrates how the frustrating challenges that arise in the therapeutic relationship can in fact be used as a productive force in the therapeutic process.

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

Learning Goals and Objectives

The workshop aims to provide an integrative training approach that enables practitioners using different therapeutic modalities to integrate the relevant elements of Attachment Theory and Research with their existing skills, which they can then apply to their work.  Participants will learn:

  • How to recognize characteristics of avoidant attachment
  • How to productively use trauma-related symptoms
  • How to maximize client engagement throughout the process
  • How to work with affect
  • How to recognize and utilize client transference
  • How to effectively manage and use therapist counter-transference
  • How to plan for the termination phase of treatment


Workshop attendees receive a complimentary copy of Dr. Muller’s award-winning book Trauma & the Avoidant Client, (winner of the 2011 ISSTD award for the year’s best written work on Trauma).

About the Presenter:

Robert T. Muller, Ph.D., C.Psych.. Robert completed his clinical fellowship at Harvard, was on faculty at the University of Massachusetts, and is currently Professor of Clinical Psychology at York University in Toronto. Dr. Muller was recently honored as a Fellow of the International Society for the study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD) for his work on trauma treatment. And his bestseller, Trauma and the Avoidant Client: Attachment-Based Strategies for Healing is in its third printing, has been translated, and won the 2011 ISSTD award for the year’s best written work on trauma. As lead investigator on several multi-site programs to treat interpersonal trauma, Dr. Muller has lectured internationally (Australia, Europe, U.S.), and has been the keynote speaker at mental health conferences in New Zealand and Canada. He founded an online magazine, The Trauma & Mental Health Report, that is now visited by over 100,000 readers a year. With over 20 years in the field, he practices in downtown Toronto, working with adults, children, and families.