Trauma and the Struggle to Open Up: From Avoidance to Recovery and Growth


SKU: 9780393712261 Categories: , , ,

In therapy, we see how relationships are central to many traumatic experiences, but relationships are also critical to trauma recovery. Grounded firmly in attachment and trauma theory, this book shows how to use the psychotherapy relationship, to help clients find self-understanding and healing from trauma.

Offering candid, personal guidance, using rich case examples, Dr. Robert T. Muller provides the steps needed to build and maintain a strong therapist-client relationship –one that helps bring recovery and growth. With a host of practical tips and protocols, this book gives therapists a roadmap to effective trauma treatment.


  • Acknowledgments
  • CHAPTER 1: When the Story Is Too Painful to Tell
  • CHAPTER 2: How Traumatized Clients Avoid the Past, Painful Feelings, and Relationships
  • CHAPTER 3: What Underlies Avoidance in Trauma?
  • CHAPTER 4: The Dangers of Rushing In: When the Client-Therapist Relationship Is Unprepared
  • CHAPTER 5: Cultivating Safety Within a Relational Framework
  • CHAPTER 6: How Not to Face Trauma: Strained Apologies and the Rush to Forgive
  • CHAPTER 7: Mourning the Losses That Trauma Brings
  • CHAPTER 8: Change by Way of Relationship
  • CHAPTER 9: Reclaiming Identity

Author Bio:

Robert T. Muller, Ph.D. is author of the award-winning psychotherapy bestseller, Trauma & the Avoidant Client, as well as numerous articles on trauma, attachment, and psychotherapy. Professor of Clinical Psychology at York University, & Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation, Dr. Muller is lead investigator on several multi-site programs to treat interpersonal trauma. An international speaker, with over 30 years in the field, he practices in downtown Toronto.


“Building on his first book—Trauma and the Avoidant Client—this second beautifully written book, with skillfully drawn cases, guides therapists toward an understanding of work with clients suffering from unresolved traumatic experiences. With moving and relevant vignettes, Dr. Muller masters the nuances of how to work toward healing, and how we unwittingly hinder healing. This book is essential reading for therapists of all disciplines who work with clients struggling with unresolved traumatic experiences.” – Clare Pain, MD, Director of the Psychological Trauma Program, Mount Sinai Hospital.