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  1. A Different Day



    We were pleased on World Mental Health Day to see the momentum gathering for a different conversation around mental health. There’s been a growing number of people talking about trauma informed support, as opposed to medical model based support. The latter labels people, puts a diagnosis on them and asks ‘what’s wrong with you?’


    In cases of sexual trauma a survivor can be invited to feel that they are the problem, and are powerless, disordered and broken, further exacerbating feelings of shame and blame they might feel. They can think that their only answer is medication and to understand ‘what’s wrong with them’ by using a medical label.


    World mental health day


    A trauma informed approach sees people’s struggles as understandable responses to the trauma and/or adversity they’ve faced, as ways to cope with the overwhelming, distressing nature of trauma.


    In cases of sexual trauma the question considered would be ‘what’s happened?’ A survivor would be invited to make their own connections between then and now, to value their resilience in coping with abuse and to see their feelings and behaviors as natural and understandable responses to an unnatural situation. This empowering and compassionate approach would build on the resourcefulness of survivors and give them the power to understand and change, dismantling feelings of powerlessness, shame and blame.


    At RSVP we are part of the movement to create a more trauma informed world. We deliver training which encourages professionals to respond to survivors of sexual abuse with belief, compassion, kindness and warmth. We provide frameworks so that professionals see survivors struggles and despair, not through the lens of stigma, shame or labels, but through the lens of humanity, as natural reactions to extreme distress. Our training uses the voices and experiences of survivors at the centre of what we do, as they are the experts of their experiences. If more people avoided giving labels and instead took the time to listen, hear and understand the stories of survivors we’d give hope and provide the compassionate support for them to thrive.


    If you’d like to know more about our trauma informed training, please contact us on: or 0121 643 0301


    Posted 10 October 2017
  2. The internet in the therapeutic space

    Below is an extract of a blog from Catherine Knibbs on internet use, social media and devices and the ethical questions that arise from counsellors in the therapeutic space.

    There are many approaches and guidelines around how to use equipment you find in the kitchen. Call them directions, user guides or instructions, aka destructions in my household as no one ever reads them. Therein lies the problem…#skimming or #ignoring or #doesntapplytome (I’m using hashtags # to highlight the fact that this can be trend/pattern.

    So if there was indeed a user guide for cyberspace would you ignore it? Skim over it? Throw it in the bin or digest every ounce of the contents? Did you know a document such as this actually exists for counsellors and psychotherapists and has done for a while?

    That’s the one. Have you read it? What do you think about it, what are your reflections and what rights do you think you have for using your social media accounts as you see fit? What do you think about your clients and their social media usage?

    Do you have rights? Do your clients? What might these be? What do you expect from the sites and applications (programs) that you use when it comes to privacy, harassment, location services and your right to express yourself as a human being on the Internet?

    Ethical dilemma after ethical dilemma right?

    What about the question that can often go unnoticed… What happens about your past or your opinions of today becoming your future? (or future past for that matter)

    What effect will this have on you or your clients?

    I have deliberately put questions forward in this article to get you thinking. Please feel free to feedback and let’s open this up for debate, I’m sure you will be surprised at both your response and others too. (I should also insert a comment about trolling and respect for each other, however the point is exactly that- – you never know the response that will occur after posting).

    Now onto working with clients who bring technology into the room, again what rights do you have a counsellor to insist that the device is turned off or not brought into your room? Why would this be ethical or unethical? Do you know about geolocation and tagging? (go and google these terms if you’re not sure)

    Would this have an effect on your practice? Do you have a right to have your device in the room?

    What about access to the Internet? What about the content a client may show you that is on their phone? (Think #sexting and #underageconsent). Do you know enough about the internet to know what  apps are safe, underage, ethical, secret or indeed coercive?

    Read the rest of Catherine’s blog on her website

    Catherine will be discussing these questions and more at the Cybertrauma training on Wednesday 8th March.

    Posted 23 February 2017
  3. Working with people who experience trauma related dissociation

    On Thursday 16th February, we will be welcoming back First Person Plural to continue their excellent training on trauma related dissociation.

    Using a mix of experiential, group discussion, audio visual media and didactic training tools the day aims to further improve understanding of the complexity and contradictions in how people who experience dissociation may present. It supports and develops participants existing professional knowledge and training through providing complex dissociation specific information and practical suggestions. It encourages development of participants’ practice when supporting a person who dissociates who is in crisis.

    The training is delivered by Kathryn Livingstone and Melanie Goodwin from First Person Plural, who are experts by experience. They deliver a professional training day that provides a unique perspective with generous sharing of lived experience to enhance theoretical learning.

    Attendance on the introductory day is the ideal prerequisite for entry onto this training. However, if you have not attended the first part of the training, we can share resources with you to view in advance: First Person Plural’s training film “A Logical Way of Being” and the chapter on Stabilisation from “No Two Paths The Same”. Please contact to request these resources, after booking.

    Thursday 16th February

    Priory Rooms, 40 Bull Street, Birmingham, B4 6AF

    Voluntary organisations/individuals – £75 + booking fee

    Statutory/private organisations – £90 + booking fee

    Book via

    Posted 8 November 2016
  4. Working with Self-Harm

    Spaces are available for a one-day training event on self-harm and trauma, on Friday 10th June in Birmingham city centre. This workshop is aimed at practitioners working with clients who self-harm. It is intended that by the end of the day practitioners will have an understanding of why people self- harm and how to approach the subject in a meaningful and useful manner. Practitioners will be encouraged to think about how they might assess the seriousness of the harm and offer alternatives for dealing with the issues their clients face.

    Course outline

    • Outline, Intros, expectations
    • What is self-harm
    • Functions of self-harm
    • Understanding the behaviour
    • Alternatives to self-harm
    • Addressing other issues
    • The Script System
    • The Feelings Loop
    • Feedback, closing remarks, endings.

    Trainer: Lesley Parker MSc, CTA is a registered Psychotherapist and Supervisor with over 20 years’ experience of working with clients presenting with these issues amongst others. She currently works as a supervisor and also runs a small private practice offering training and supervision.

    Tickets: £80 for voluntary organisations and individuals, £95 for statutory/private organisations. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.  Please note that we need 7 working days notice before the event for cancellation refunds.

    For more information, and to book a place go to

    Posted 29 March 2016
  5. Training: Developing a therapeutic awareness of the impact of trauma on the body

    We’re delighted to host a one-day course with Berlin based therapist Julianne Appel-Opper on Friday 8th January 2016 in Birmingham.

    In psychotherapy/counselling practice it is important to be aware of the body and how to work with this without exposing or shaming clients. The workshop will focus on the cultural language of the body.

    Julianne Appel-Opper has developed the ‘Relational Living Body Psychotherapy’, where therapist and client introduce mindful interventions (not touching the client) to acknowledge and validate the messages the client’s body is conveying. This approach avoids re-traumatising and makes healing and change possible.

    This training is thoroughly recommended to counsellors/psychotherapists who work with survivors of trauma. Attendees will develop enhanced awareness of the body in therapeutic environments through live supervision and group work.

    The training costs £85 + booking fee for individuals and voluntary organisations, £100 + booking fee for statutory and private organisations. The event will take place at The Priory Rooms,  40 Bull Street Birmingham B4 6AF.

    Book tickets via


    Posted 17 November 2015
  6. Training event: Working therapeutically with survivors of sexual trauma, with Zoe Lodrick

    Saturday 7th November 10am – 5pm

    The Priory Rooms
    Quaker Meeting House, 40 Bull Street, Birmingham, B4 6AF

    Trainer: Zoe Lodrick

    Tickets: £85 + booking fee for voluntary organisations and individuals. £100 + booking fee for statutory and private organisations.

    Book tickets via

    What will be covered?

    The neurobiology of threat: including, why people do not usually react in ‘logical’ or ‘active’ ways when faced with intimate interpersonal threat, how, and why, people become vulnerable to repeated victimisation, specific vulnerabilities of children and teenagers to sex offenders.

    The ‘replay’ in the therapy room: including, how neurobiology can help us to understand what will get ‘re-enacted’ in the therapeutic work.

    The psychology of the offender: including, the process that precedes offending, the ‘socially skilled’ sex offender, how, and why, they target certain people.

    Suggestions for utilising the above to inform how we structure our therapeutic work and how we support disclosure.

    Working with guilt and shame: including, the psychological underpinnings of guilt, how to hear guilt and challenge it.

    About Zoe Lodrick.

    Zoe is a UKCP registered psychotherapist and an experienced trainer.  She has over 19 years experience of providing psychotherapy to women and men who have experienced rape, sexual assault and/or childhood sexual abuse; and providing training and consultation to professionals who work with victims/survivors of sexualised traumas. Zoe has specialist knowledge/expertise with regard to human behaviour/response when faced with a perceived threat (especially sexual threat).

    Zoe held the full time position of Senior Practitioner at Portsmouth Area Rape Crisis Service (PARCS) from 1994 to 2009.  Since April 2009, Zoe has been a self-employed trainer and consultant.


    Posted 17 September 2015
  7. The Rewind Technique for Post-Traumatic Stress

    RSVP are offering training for all professionals working in rape and sexual abuse support services on Saturday 18th July, 9.30am-4.30pm in Birmingham city centre.

    The Rewind Technique has become internationally recognised as an effective treatment for PTS/PTSD. The treatment is different to other imaginal exposure therapies as details of trauma don’t need to be disclosed to the therapist, reducing the risk of clients being re-traumatised.

    This event is suitable for practitioners working with clients that have been traumatised by surviving or witnessing trauma, such as sexual abuse, and are consequently suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress. The course is suitable for statutory, voluntary and private organisations, as well as individual counsellors/therapists.

    By the end of the course participants will have:

    • Competence in applying the Rewind Technique,
    • A clear understanding of how and why the Rewind Technique works,
    • A solid grounding in recognising and treating PTSD.

    The full-day course costs £100 for voluntary organisations and individuals + booking fee/ £120 for statutory organisations + booking fee. Price includes lunch and refreshments.

    Places can be booked at

    Venue: 7th Floor, Grosvenor House, Bennett’s Hill, Birmingham, B2 5RS. 5 minute walk from New Street station.

    The session will be run by Dr David Muss. Prior to his involvement in developing the Rewind Technique Dr Muss was a Paediatric Surgeon and a family doctor. Since 1988 Dr Muss has worked as the Director of the PTSD UNIT at the BMI Hospital, Birmingham.

    Posted 23 June 2015
  8. Training for sexual violence support workers


    The aim of the course is to explore a model linking experiences of violence and abuse with mental distress and draw implications for practice.

    The course is aimed at practitioners delivering services to people who are, or may be, experiencing mental distress as a result of experiences of sexual violence, trauma and abuse.

    Participants will learn about the connections between childhood sexual abuse and later mental health distress. The course will look into the impact these connections have on service delivery and develop tools for participants’ practical application.

    Wednesday 3rd June. Arrival from 9.00am, training 9.30am-4.30pm

    Mailbox, Wharfside St, Birmingham, B1 1RD. 10 minute walk from New Street and Moor Street train stations.

    The full-day course costs £75 for voluntary organisations and individuals + booking fee/ £95 for statutory organisations + booking fee. Price includes lunch and refreshments.

    The session will be run by Sally Plumb, an independent trainer in mental health law and practice. Sally has worked as a mental health training officer and mental health specialist social worker and has facilitated self-help groups for women who have been sexually abused.

    Places are very limited. To book a place on the course, go to



    Posted 2 April 2015

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