Using a trauma informed approach to recognise and address the impact of complex trauma on families


28th June

Leeds Town Hall, Leeds


Dr Sheena Webb
Consultant Clinical Psychologist


June 28, 2017 - 10:00 am


June 28, 2017 - 3:45 pm


Leeds Town Hall, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3AD   View map

FDAC Central London

Complex trauma poses a challenge to many service providers, where repeated contact with service users yields little or no satisfactory outcome. Individuals ricochet between services but never have their problems fundamentally addressed. One example of this is parents who have multiple issues relating to mental health, substance misuse and domestic violence, and who may have successive children taken into care.

Trauma Informed Services offer an approach to service delivery which works more effectively with individuals experiencing complex trauma. It is not a treatment model, rather a shift in culture which makes it more likely that a service can create a good outcome for the service user. The approach is common sense based and is gaining ground.

Complex trauma refers to the complicated and ongoing effects which a person experiences following certain prolonged life experiences, such as childhood sexual abuse or severe neglect, being in captivity, or prolonged exposure to domestic abuse or sex work. A common feature tends to be that the victim is ‘imprisoned’ and controlled. A key aspect of complex trauma is that the effects can be intergenerational.

Complex trauma is different to trauma which arises from a single incident such as experiencing a loved one’s death or a sexual assault. People who experience complex trauma are more likely to turn to dangerous coping strategies such as substance misuse or self-harm, and to experience social problems such as homelessness and joblessness.

Mainstream services tend to be organised around solving specific problems such as drug use, accommodation or finance.  Trauma Informed Services work by creating an awareness among ALL staff of the underlying difficulties related to trauma and how to respond. The key philosophies are:

  • Do not harm
  • A ‘what has happened to you?’ approach rather than ‘what is wrong with you?’

Trauma Informed Services offer service providers the opportunity to intervene throughout an individual’s lifecycle, and service users (and their families) the prospect of being able to deal with issues they have not previously been able to deal with.

This is a learning day aimed at professionals who would like to know more about the impact of complex trauma, and how a trauma informed approach to providing services can improve outcomes for service users with chronic difficulties. It will particularly focus on working with families.

It will include:

  • An analysis of complex trauma, how it differs from trauma based on a single event, and what the symptoms can be
  • The life cycle of complex trauma and its intergenerational implications
  • Explanation of how to develop your service into a Trauma Informed Service, and how this can benefit your service users
  • The experience of introducing a trauma informed approach to FDAC (The Tavistock & Coram’s Family Drug and Alcohol Court)

Please note: the learning day does not offer accreditation in TIS, and is not recommended for professionals who already have a high level of knowledge in this area.

The learning day with be facilitated by Dr Sheena Webb, who is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and the Service Manager at Coram and Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust’s Family Drug and Alcohol Court.

Agenda (subject to change)

9.30 – 10.00

Registration and coffee

10.00 – 10.10

Welcome and introduction

10.10 – 11.10

Understanding complex trauma

  • the impact of repeated traumatic experiences
  • the difference between PTSD and ‘complex trauma’
  • social and psychological problems faced by those who have suffered complex trauma
  • how complex trauma manifests through the life course, and the response of mainstream services to complex trauma

11.10 – 11.30

Coffee break

11.30 – 12.45

How complex trauma impacts upon our services

  • the core difficulties in complex trauma which affect how people engage with services and how services in turn engage with them
  • what impact complex trauma has on us as professionals
  • relating these findings to specific service concerns of participants

12.45 – 1.35


1.35 – 2.45

Specific issues through the lens of complex trauma

  • some common issues in working with children and families and how an understanding of complex trauma can cast a light on why these issues can be so hard to treat
  • the ‘toxic trio’: substance misuse, domestic violence and mental health
  • how trauma in and of itself affects parenting

2.45 – 3.00

Quick break – collect tea and biscuits!

3.00 – 3.45

Building a trauma informed approach into your service

Finally we will bring together what we have discussed throughout the day and consider how this applies to the services which participants work in.  We will look at what specifically participants can implement to help their service be more responsive to this challenging group of people



  • Parent and family support workers
  • Children’s social workers
  • Specialist family support professionals in schools
  • Children’s charities including those that work with young carers
  • Troubled families’ services
  • Successive removals specialist services
  • Adult services professionals
  • Drug and alcohol specialists
  • Services which work with victims of domestic and sexual abuse
  • Midwives, health visitors, and other community health professionals
  • Mental health services
  • Probation staff
  • Other women’s services working with vulnerable women including female offenders
  • Services working with sex workers and modern slavery
  • Support services within social housing

Delegate fee:

 £130 + VAT = £156

Team of 3 (3rd person attends for half price) £325 + VAT = £390

Team of 5 (5th person attends for free) £520 + VAT = £624

ring 0115 916 3104 for details.


Included in the delegate package:

  • Delegate pack
  • Lunch
  • Refreshments available throughout the day


Booking Terms and Conditions

Cancellations received up to and including 7th June 2017 will be refunded in full less an administration fee of 25%. Cancellations received after this date will be liable for payment in full.

Team bookings are non-cancellable but substitute delegates will always be accepted.

The full invoice amount will remain payable if you fail to attend the event, however, substitute delegates will be accepted up until, and including, the day of the event.



Confirmation of booking:

Your booking will be confirmed by email where possible (and by fax or post otherwise), and you will be provided with directions to the venue and details on nearby hotel accommodation. If you do not receive such acknowledgement, please contact Central Conference Consultants Ltd on 0115 916 3104.

The learning day takes place at Leeds Town Hall, right in the centre of Leeds.

The full address is: Leeds Town Hall, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3AD

It is a five minute walk from both the rail and bus stations and a 10 minute drive from the M1 and M62 motorways.

Leeds Town Hall is situated on the Headrow (next to Leeds Art Gallery), across the road from the Leeds Central Library.

The nearest car park to the Town Hall is the 24 hour secure car park in The Light accessible via Great George Street. However, disabled parking can usually be arranged on the Town Hall site.

Location map of the area immediately surrounding the venue can be found at this link



Details of nearby accommodation will be provided with confirmation of booking.