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Working with the adult child in therapy

The event

The term Adult-Child refers to those who have grown up in an environment of family dysfunction. This may include, but is not limited to, homes where a child is exposed to sexual, physical or emotional abuse, trauma, addiction, shame, neglect and abandonment. As defined by Pia Mellody (2003), abuse can include an experience where a child has received parenting from an adult, that is anything less than nurturing.

In families such as these, the dysfunction, or ‘secret’ is kept in-check by patterns of denial; an internalised code of conduct where members learn not to talk, not feel and do not trust anyone or anything outside of the family. Nowhere is safe. Siblings and other adults in the family become complicit and infected by these experiences.

Because of their trauma, Adult-Children might experience mild to complex PTSD in their adult lives. Most will dissociate from their bodies and minds, developing pseudo-feelings and survival traits to help them adapt, avoid or control their emotional distress. As adults, they experience unhealthy relationships, co-dependency and addiction to push down painful feelings. They might sense their lives are ‘out of control’, but because of their own pattern of denial, Adult Children find it difficult to ask for help. Untreated, they often go on to have dysfunctional families of their own, destined to repeat the same patterns. The next generation of Adult-Children are born. This cycle of dysfunction continues until an Adult-Child can finds the courage and strength to break-free and begin recovery.

In this experiential CPD workshop, you will be introduced to concept of the Adult-Child as a working model for recovery. With compassion and gentleness, you will be invited to understand the world through the Adult-Child’s eyes. You will learn about appropriate therapeutic models of recovery, including Trauma Reduction, Inner-Child Work and Dramatherapy. We will explore the journey of the Adult-Child as they move from hurting to healing, to re-parenting themselves with love and gentleness.

** Please Read before signing up to this workshop**

This workshop will name themes around childhood trauma and abuse – although not in explicit details or content. The session is designed and focused to help you learn about the language, tools, resources and recovery models available for working with, and supporting clients who might identify as an Adult-Child. During the workshop, you will be invited to take part in a short and safe Inner-Child creative exercise. You will need some blank paper, coloured pens/crayons with you to take part. This simple exercise can be used in your clinical work. While safe and contained, please be aware that the exercise may bring up your own material. For this reason, you may choose not to take part in, and instead just observe.


The trainer

Simon Marks is a Dramatherapist and addictions counsellor at Mount Carmel rehab. As part of the team, he delivers their addiction treatment programme, Simon also runs a private practice in Central London, specialising Inner-Child work, LGBTQ+ mental health, addiction, chemsex, trauma and co-dependency. He offers both individual and group work. Simon delivers a full range of training programmes in these areas. Simon also runs the long-running gay men’s discussion group, A Change Of Scene, and is himself in long-term recovery since 2007.