Northern Ireland Counselling Forum

Conference 2023

Saturday 20th May 2023
Main Speaker: Carolyn Spring

Do counsellors really matter in the process of recovering from trauma?

Or is it the tools they’re using (such as EMDR), their techniques (such as rewind, or grounding) or their theoretical approach (such as trauma-focused CBT, or Internal Family Systems)? Could we do without counsellors and make do with the cheaper alternatives of chatbots, apps, memes and infographics? Or do you really matter?

Carolyn Spring believes that being traumatised involves, amongst other things, the lack of a ‘regulating other’ at the moment of, or in the direct aftermath of, a traumatic event. And so she believes that it’s the counsellor as human being who makes the biggest difference to a trauma survivor: counsellors really do matter.

This day conference will explore the nature of trauma, its roots in our evolutionary neurobiology, and why ‘being human’ is a fundamental and necessary requirement of all counsellors working with trauma. We will explore the key role of the counsellor in helping the nervous system of a trauma survivor move through fight, flight and freeze, into a process of re-regulation and integration – a process that cannot adequately be achieved without the presence of another human being.

Specifically we will look at what this ‘being human’ means in the counselling room:

  • the importance of attachment and the provision by the counsellor of a secure base and a safe haven: and how to do that and be that, both safely and ethically
  • the need for attunement and ‘finding the frequency’: what does this client need right here, right now?
  • how regulation must precede integration – and what this therefore requires from the counsellor
  • how we can use the unique power of the homo sapiens brain to insert the ‘regulating other’ into the trauma narrative, in order to recode memory. 

We will also address the ubiquitous sense of overwhelm and powerlessness experienced by counsellors when faced with their clients’ enormity of suffering after trauma, and how this can be transformed into a liberating expression of empathy and compassion which facilitates the healing cycle.

The day will be a mix of presentations by Carolyn and then opportunities to reflect on the material, discuss it with peers, ask questions, and find ways to apply it to your own work and life.

This is the first time that Carolyn will be speaking again in public at a live event following the pandemic, and so is not to be missed.

Date: 20th May 2023

Time: 9.30am – 4.30pm

Venue: Dunsilly Hotel
20 Dunsilly Rd,
BT41 2JH

Contact: 07775947991 for further details
Cost: £60 NICF members £70 Non-members