252 –  Helping Clients with Trauma Bonding

252 – Helping Clients with Trauma Bonding

Changing Your Ethical Body – Using Empathy in Counselling

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In Episode 252 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, your hosts Rory Lees-Oakes and Ken Kelly are back with this week’s three topics:

  • Up first in ‘Theory in Practice’, we’ll take a closer look at helping clients with trauma bonding.
  • Then in ‘Practice Today’, we discuss changing your ethical body.
  • And lastly in ‘Practice Matters’, Rory speaks with Sally-Anne Armitage about the use of empathy in counselling.

Helping Clients with Trauma Bonding [starts at 02:30 mins]

This segment of the Counselling Tutor Podcast is sponsored by


  • WebHealer are the go-to provider of websites for private practitioners in the UK.
  • Established over 20 years, WebHealer offers a non-technical and fully supported service to help therapists grow their private practice.
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Trauma bonding is when an individual, maybe in some kind of abusive relationship, either can’t leave or keeps going back.

The key features of this discussion on helping clients with trauma bonding include:

  • This response to an abusive relationship is a natural survival strategy e.g. going back to the abuser.
  • It’s important to be patient, consistent and understanding of that process – try to alleviate the shame.
  • A client within this relationship may be experiencing, gaslighting, emotional abuse, criticism, and/or violence.
  • They may have thoughts such as ‘it’s my fault, not theirs’ and defend their abuser.
  • You should have patience and empathy for the victim.
  • You need to tread carefully with trauma – it’s not good to dig deep if you have not had proper CPD.
  • When helping clients with a trauma bond, explain to them how the brain works – normalise their behaviours, help them to recognise there is not something wrong with them.
Theory to Practice is sponsored by

Counselling Skills Academy

Learn counselling techniques by seeing counselling skills used in real sessions by qualified therapists.
Real sessions – real-life presentations – real skills.

Changing Your Ethical Body [starts at 16:03 mins]

It can feel like a daunting task to change your ethical body, but Rory and Ken discuss the true ease of the change, and what you might want to consider when it comes to making that choice.

The main points of this section include:

  • It’s important to find an ethical body that fits your values.
  • It’s actually a simple and painless process.
  • Understand the value you're getting from your ethical body.
  • There are 6 different bodies in the UK, just make sure the one you choose aligns with professional standards.
  • Think what are the benefits, what are you offered, what do you gain access to, and how do they align with your way of working.
  • If you choose to make a change to your ethical body, make sure you update this change with your insurer.
Get on-demand Certified CPD that is implementable in your practice

Counsellor CPD Library

  • Over 150 hours of on-demand CPD lectures to help you stay current with your CPD ethical requirements
  • Support, and be supported, by thousands of other counsellors as a member of the exclusive online community.
  • Access your learning anytime you want ... anywhere you choose ... using any device type — desktop or mobile.

Counsellor CPD Library - computers and mobile phone showing what is inside the CPD library for counsellors

Using Empathy in Counselling [starts at 28:57 mins]

In this week’s ‘Practice Matters’, Rory speaks with Sally-Anne Armitage about the use of empathy in counselling.

The key points of this discussion include:

  • Without empathy, there can’t be a successful therapeutic relationship.
  • Empathy isn’t ‘I’ve been through something similar and it gets better’ - it’s about putting your own frame of reference aside.
  • Giving a reflection or paraphrasing are both good ways of being empathetic.
  • When we reflect and paraphrase, the client can start to say more.
  • It can allow them to open them up on their own terms.
  • Try not to ask too many questions – this leads a person out of their own experience. The client will go from internal to external, telling you what youwant to know instead of what they want to tell.
  • Observe tone of voice and body language, pay close attention to detail – is this telling you something different from the client’s words?
  • Ensure you create an atmosphere where the client can speak freely.

The National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society is proud to sponsor Practice Matters.

NCPS (formerly NCS) are really excited to have launched their Children and Young People Therapist Register for counsellors working with the younger age group.

To find out more, visit nationalcounsellingsociety.org or simply click the button below.

Free Handout Download

Major Indicators of Trauma Bonding

Links and Resources

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