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(NEW) Online Training – Working with Avoidance and Intellectualization

December 5 Login to Zoom 12:30pm ; Training 12:45pm-4:00pm (EST) $109, 3 CEUs Presenter: Janina Fisher, Ph.D. Zoom, MD + Google Map

Abusers capitalize on their victims’ vulnerability.  Without the power to escape or fight back, children are helpless in an unsafe world.  They can’t cry, look frightened or voice any emotional needs for fear of punishment.  They instinctively develop strategies to avoid showing emotion because they have no other choice than appearing “fine.”

These strategies are adaptive in a threatening unsafe environment, but they become impediments in treatment.  Years later, traumatized clients come for ‘help,’ but their phobias of emotion and vulnerability pose obstacles for the therapist.  Although most survivors of abuse can intellectually acknowledge that they were traumatized, talking about the events is overwhelming and frightening.  Feeling emotion or acknowledging the hurt they experienced as little children automatically leads to shutting down or intellectualizing.  We are trying to help them process the memories and emotions, only to get blocked by clients’ inability to ‘go there.’

Successfully working with intellectualized and avoidant clients begins with the therapist facing the degree to which our interest in vulnerability stimulates fear.  Understanding the role of avoidance in survival and acknowledging their reluctance to feel overwhelmed is also key.  The perpetrator was only interested in their vulnerability.  Therapists need to be equally interested in how they survived.  Fortunately, modern trauma treatment affords us many ways to help survivors, including those who cannot ‘go there.’  In this webinar, Janina Fisher will share strategies for developing strong therapeutic alliances with intellectualized and avoidant clients, including how we manage our own need for them to be vulnerable.

Registration for each workshop closes one day before the workshop date.

If you want to sign up for this course and missed the registration deadline, please don’t worry. You can still contact Gerri Baum at gerrib@theferentzinstitute.com or call 410-409-7061 to inquire about joining the class. We will do our best to accommodate you. We appreciate your interest in our workshops and look forward to seeing you soon!

The Ferentz Institute, Inc. is an approved sponsor of the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners for continuing education credits for licensed social workers in Maryland. CEU approval for all trainings is also granted to Psychologists, LCPC’s and MFT’s and approved by the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists and the Board of Examiners for Psychologists in Maryland. Reciprocity has also been granted for clinicians in Washington, DC, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, Georgia, Massachusetts, Texas, and Michigan.  If your state is not among this list, we encourage you to check with your state licensing board to see if they will grant reciprocity.
The Institute maintains full responsibility for all programming. In order to provide Category 1 CEUs for all of our trainings, the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners requires online workshops to be live, interactive, and experienced in real time. Therefore, none of our trainings are recorded for later viewing.


Learning Objectives

  • Articulate the role of avoidance in surviving childhood abuse
  • Describe the adaptive value of intellectualization under threat
  • Identify 3 techniques for decreasing intellectualization
  • Implement 2 interventions for increasing client ability to tolerate vulnerability



  • Adapting to abusive environments


  • Vulnerability in a dangerous world


  • Emotion and psychotherapy

2:15-2:30    BREAK


  • Techniques for challenging intellectualization


  • Mindfulness-based techniques for increasing access to emotion

3:30 -4:00

  • Questions and discussion
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