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Dr Lea Crisante

Creating “Good Enough” Relationships: Dealing with Trauma in Couple and Family Relationships

20 November 2020 | Sydney

Workshop overview

This workshop provides an introduction to couple and family therapy for therapists wanting to enhance their skills in working with the complexity of managing multiple relationships in the therapy space.  It will explore the impact of overt and covert trauma on relationship functioning and how to respond therapeutically in a relational way to the emotional pain that arises from such experiences.

Participants will learn from examples from practice ways of assessing and responding to such relational difficulties in the context of conducting couple and family therapy.  The workshop focuses on practice and participants will be provided with ideas for managing common issues occurring in therapy including dealing with therapeutic boundaries and high affective expression in sessions when multiple parties are engaged in therapy.  Strategies for intervening in couple and family conflicts will be discussed, as well as ways to recognise therapy pitfalls that relate to slippage from one therapeutic modality to another, for example, moving from individual to couple work or inadvertent ruptures to the therapy process.  Clinical cases demonstrating the impact on couples and families of COVID 19 as an activator of past relational trauma will be discussed. The workshop draws a range of theoretical perspectives, including the work of John Gottman, Stan Tatkin, Dan Siegel and Joan Haliburn.

Counsellors, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, nurses, addiction counsellors, couple and family therapists, case managers and other mental health professionals working with traumatised clients.

  • A framework for therapeutic work with couples and families that promotes ethical and culturally appropriate practice that is sensitive to trauma
  • An integrative perspective to understand interpersonal process and relationship health
  • How to develop strategies to promote connection and to manage relationship conflict, particularly when it is related to trauma experiences
  • The significance of empathic responding in relationship functioning and how to teach this skill
  • A framework for dealing with trauma and its impact on relationships, eg., affairs, intergenerational trauma
  • How to understand relational processes from a family systems perspective
  • The application of a structured framework for dealing with families, especially when working with adult family members
  • How to set an agenda to conduct therapy with a family
  • Ways to be responsive to overt and covert, unrecognised traumatic experiences
  • About the impact of the COVID pandemic on relationships by activating past histories of enforced restrictions and separations

A PDF of the the detailed workshop program can be downloaded here.

Dr Lea Crisante is a Clinical Psychologist who has been a therapist, lecturer and supervisor for many years.  She currently teaches in the Master of Science in Medicine (Trauma-Informed Psychotherapy) conducted by the University of Sydney and has a private practice with a focus on couple therapy.  Lea has worked in community and hospital-based mental health services, community mental health prevention programs, psychotherapy education for psychiatry trainees, as well as the non-government sector.  Her clinical experience has involved children, adolescents, adults, couples and families.

Lea has completed extensive training and taught in a range of areas including couple and family therapy and parenting interventions.  She worked as a senior staff member at RANSW for 10 years during which time she coordinated the Graduate Program in Couple Therapy, as well as taught in the Masters of Couple and Family Therapy at UNSW.  She has completed training with John and Julie Gottman and had regular supervision from the Gottman Institute in Seattle.  Her PhD was on the topic of parenting in multicultural contexts as part of her work with the Triple P Parenting Program which included training more than 700 practitioners in this program in Australia and overseas.

Lea’s clinical area of expertise lies in the domain of the interpersonal from an integrative perspective including neurobiology, attachment and psychodynamic and systems theory.  She has a particular interest in working with couples in the child-birth year, as well as dealing with relationship issues relating to hurts of the past including affairs, experiences of abandonment and relationship impasses that such situations involve.  Working with the goal of “good enough” relationships, Lea has assisted people in diverse circumstances, including using videoconferencing with couples and families with partners and family members who live overseas.

$349 full | $249 concession

The workshop fee includes entrance to the workshop for the one day, a certificate of attendance, and a printed copy of the PowerPoint slides.

All individual registrations are online and payment is by credit card. Please click on the ‘Register now’ button above. A confirmation email will be sent to you automatically.

NSW Teacher’s Federation Conference Centre
37 Reservoir St
Surry Hills NSW Australia

Central station is the closest. It is only a couple of blocks walking.

Please check Sydney Transport for the best bus routes.

The closest cheap parking station is Secure Goulburn Street. You will need to walk for a couple of blocks. Please google for other options.

9.30am-5pm | Registrations open at 9am

Break morning: 10.45-11am
Break lunch: 12.45-1.45pm
Break afternoon: 3.15-3.30pm

A certificate will be emailed after the event to attendees who signed the attendance sheet.

CPD hours = 6

This workshop adheres to the continuing professional development standards of most professional bodies. Please check the CPD policy of your professional body.

CPD Endorsements

The AASW Endorsed CPD logo is a trade mark of the Australian Association of Social Workers Ltd used under licence. The AASW is not responsible for the course content.

Payment of the registration fee is online by credit card and a receipt/confirmation will be automatically emailed to you. Please bring your receipt to the seminar for proof of registration in case it is needed. An administration fee of $50 applies to all cancellations made more than one month before the event. Registration once paid cannot be cancelled one month or less before the event, regardless of personal circumstances. Registration can be transferred to another delegate only if STARTTS is informed of the name change. The concession price is for concession card holders only such as full-time students, pensioners and the unemployed. A photocopy or pdf of a valid concession card must be forwarded to the STARTTS training team upon registration. The STARTTS Training Team can be contacted at or (02) 9646 6700.

Phone: (02) 9646 6700  Ask for the Training Administration Officer

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