International Speaker Seminars

International Speaker Seminars

DSAC acknowledges the wider psychosocial implications of sexual assault/abuse and runs a programme of International Visiting Speakers which is open to the wider therapeutic community. Details of previous International Speaker Seminars are listed in the Training History section of this website.

John Briere Ph.D - The Pain Paradox: Engagement, Acceptance, And Processing in a New Paradigm for Trauma Therapy

Auckland - 31 August 2015

Wellington - 2 September 2015

Christchurch - 4 September 2015

In the real world of clinical practice, therapists increasingly confront the limitations of current cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic techniques in work with survivors of severe and/or complex trauma. In an exciting turn of events, new research and practice increasingly supports the use of empirically-based mindfulness and compassion approaches that extend beyond classic medical model attempts to "fix" posttraumatic distress.

This workshop presents the Pain Paradox, a hybrid East-West theory of trauma-related suffering that suggests that the "solution" to unwanted states is not to avoid, suppress, or intellectualize, but rather to carefully engage, accept, process, and even use painful material in the context of a compassionate therapeutic environment.

This new workshop includes:

  • clinical implications of the Pain Paradox;
  • reduced self-identification with posttraumatic thoughts and feelings;
  • metacognitive and existential awareness, urge-surfing, and trigger identification;
  • mindfulness-based breath training;
  • Mindful processing;
  • self-compassion as it counters harsh self-perceptions and other-directedness;
  • the Buddhist notion of dependent arising as it informs compassion and facilitates the processing of anger; and
  • therapist compassion as it activates positive attachment neuro-circuitry and reprocesses early relational schema

Learning Objectives

Attendees will be able to

  • Describe the clinical implications of the pain paradox
  • Define metacognitive awareness
  • Describe "urge surfing" and "trigger work" as they relate to changed identification with internal states and processes
  • Describe the basic neurobiology of activated attachment schema
  • Implement a model of client-therapist interaction that is nonauthoritarian, client-focused, and yet empirically-based


John Briere, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine. A past president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, he is recipient of the Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Science of Trauma Psychology from the American Psychological Association. Dr. Briere is principle investigator of a federally-funded project to train clinicians in the treatment of adolescent trauma, and consultant/teacher in the burn and psychiatric inpatient services at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center. His recent work includes Principles of Trauma Therapy, 2nd edition, DSM-5 Update (2014), Mindfulness-oriented interventions for trauma: Integrating contemplative practices, (2015), and a book in progress, The Pain Paradox: Embracing the unwanted in the search for well-being.

Who Should Attend?

These seminars are for all clinicians who provide treatment/therapy for adults and adolescents who have experienced abuse/sexual abuse trauma.

Registration forms must be received by 21/8/2015.