Pathways from power to intimacy

Elie, Gestalt Centre Training Campus
May 2, 2024 9:30 AM
A 2-day workshop exploring power struggles within relationships, their roots in traumatic emotional wounds in infancy, & pathways to healing

For psychotherapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors & mental health professionals.

Presented by: Dr Jackie Amos, Joanne Walker & Dr Liz Coventry

Date: 2-3 May, 2024

Why attend this event

Take a deep dive into understanding attachment theory and responses to threat in relationship. Gain a comprehensive understanding of how trauma in infancy and early childhood shapes individuals' relational maps and the ways our responses to threat are different when we perceive we can’t escape. We will provide detailed theoretical insights, as a foundation for utilising this model in therapeutic work.

Learn a practical mapping process for your work with clients. Acquire a toolkit for bridging theoretical knowledge with the lived experiences of clients. We will present a mapping process to help identify and address embodied relational wounds, fostering a nuanced approach to working with individuals trapped in distressing intimate partnerships.

Participate in experiential learning with experts in the field. This experiential process will enhance your ability to navigate and effectively engage in this challenging space. We will emphasise the importance of managing your presence, providing practical skills to support you in your work with people who are experiencing the painful struggle between self-preservation and maintaining healthy relationships.

Program structure

Day One

In the first day of this training we will introduce, in detail, the theoretical framework that explains the links between relational trauma in infancy and, power and powerlessness in adult intimate relationships. We will outline the elements of the practical mapping process.

Day Two

Drawing on the participants own experiences (personal or professional) we will deepen our understanding of the map by practicing using the map. This will support a discussion of common themes encountered in practice and the relationship of the mapping process to Gestalt concepts

Venue | Elie, Gestalt Centre Training Campus, 27 Royal Parade, Parkville, Victoria

Date | Thursday & Friday 2–3 May 2024,

Time | 9.30am - 4:30pm

Cost | Full registration $750 / GTA Student $650. Fee includes GST.

Disclaimer: because the workshop focuses on relational threat and power, participants need to be willing and resourced for this journey.


Attachment theory reminds us that long before we make cognitive maps of relationships, we make embodied maps, including maps of relational threats, relational wounds, and the associated creative adaptations. Identifying these embodied relational wounds, resulting from millions of moment-to-moment interactions, can be difficult in practice. Mapping how these harmful interactions impact us as adults, either in subtle everyday ways or in situations of extreme violence, is the portal back to the wound. One of the impacts is the painful struggle between maintaining the self or being in relationship, a common reason for people to seek therapy. In its most intense form, this struggle manifests as intimate partner violence.

In this workshop, the presenters will offer an integrated theoretical and practical guide to navigating this territory. We will provide a novel way to understand and work with individuals trapped in distressing intimate partnerships, with or without overt violence, outlining a pathway from power and powerlessness to healthy intimacy.

We will explore 3 inter-related themes. We will provide detailed theory about the impact of trauma in infancy and early childhood to provide scaffolding for practitioners wanting to use this model. We will offer a practical mapping process that acts as a bridge between the practitioner’s knowledge and the lived experience of clients. We will facilitate an experiential process that supports therapists to manage their presence and work effectively in this space.

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About the presenters

Dr Jackie Amos

Jackie is a child, adolescent and family psychiatrist, gestalt psychotherapist and clinical academic with more than 25 years experience working psychotherapeutically with adults, children and families caught in intergenerational cycles of neglect and abuse. She has worked in both government child and adolescent mental health and intensive family support service settings. Jackie is now leading the implementation of her doctoral research in Centacare, a large NGO in Adelaide, using her theoretical model to inform the development of therapeutic case workers.

Joanne Walker

Joanne is a gestalt psychotherapist with 10 years’ clinical experience. Joanne has worked in community and organisational settings including to provide clinical services to people effected by complex, relational and intergenerational trauma both in the community and in the child protection sector. Whilst Joanne has worked within heavily traumatised systems, it was within her general practice that she developed the usable map presented in this course which is both relevant as a model for understanding extreme violence and a normal developmental model which has value across a variety of regular therapeutic issues.

Dr Liz Coventry

Liz is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and psychotherapist. They are a specialist in infant mental health and working with parent-child dyads caught in cycles of intergenerational trauma and abuse. They have previously worked in government perinatal and infant mental health services, providing care to women with severe mental illness and their infants. They are currently working with Dr. Jackie Amos to implement her doctoral thesis into a comprehensive therapeutic framework and training package for Centacare. They also provide support to teams in Centacare that work with traumatised families. Liz has a small private psychotherapeutic practice.