Treating Children with complex trauma

I am not currently offering the study group.  Please look at my other webinars and trainings!

After three cohorts (and 23 therapists!!) of teaching my “Adoption/Attachment/Trauma Master Class” I’ve decided to shake up the format a bit.  In the past, I’ve taught this master class over the course of nine months, meeting once a month for a six hour class.  By offering the study group every other week for two hours instead of once a month for a LONG day, I’m hoping to create deeper relationships with the group members as well as an environment that is more neurobiologically supportive of learning!  Meeting more frequently for a shorter length of time will allow the material to be more easily integrated into your already successful therapy practice with children. 



Who is it for? 

A maximum of six therapists who work with children and are longing for a new way to approach the complex child who leaves you feeling stuck.  These six therapist are excited to immerse themselves into theory (attachment, Interpersonal Neurobiology, and how trauma impacts development) as their crucial foundation, embrace the fact that the therapist (and the child’s parents) are the most important ‘toy’ in the therapy room, and then integrate new techniques and tools that will heal the brain. 


When is it happening?  

We will meet for the first time on August 31st (Wednesday) from 12:15 to 2:15.  Our next meeting will be September 21st (three weeks later) and will continue until May 17th on an every other week schedule- Wednesdays from 12:15 - 2:15.  Occasional holidays weeks will be canceled (December 28th for sure!) and will be discussed on the first week of class. 




Why did I develop this class?

Early in my career as a therapist, I found myself often feeling overwhelmed and frustrated that the tools in my toolbox were not working with children who had experienced early, chronic trauma such as abuse, neglect, and orphanage or foster care before adoption.  I was needing to involve parents and be more directive than I had been trained, and I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do.  Yearning for more support in working with this complex population, I plunged into intensive training courses and consultation, ultimately finding validation in my family based, directive yet child-centered and attuned approach. 


In 2013, my practice was completely full and I didn't know enough therapists trained in complex trauma to add to my referral list.  I wished that training and consultation was more accessible to therapists, especially therapists who preferred to attend local trainings due to finances or family commitments.  I took a plunge and decided I could try to create an intensive course for therapists, hoping to grow my list of referrals and develop a network of therapists that could support each other working with this complex population.  I’ve now taught three cohorts of the nine-month long class (and run an ongoing consult group comprised of graduates from the master class) and have decided that it’s time to change up the format. 








The complex trauma study group will meet for two hours every other week from September until the end of May.  Specifically, we will meet for the first time on August 31st (Wednesday) from 12:15 to 2:15.  Our next meeting will be September 21st (three weeks later!!!!) and will continue until May 17th on an every other week schedule.  We will reserve May 31st as an optional make-up day if needed due to an unexpected class cancelation.  Occasional holidays weeks will be canceled (December 28th for sure!) and will be discussed in the first week of class.  Please note that the every other week schedule begins from our SECOND meeting on September 21st, not the first meeting on August 31st.  Due to a previously planned vacation, there will be THREE weeks in between our first and second meeting. 



  • A small group experience will maximize experience and relationships (max of 6 therapists)

  • CEUs will be provided quarterly (end of November, end of February, end of May)

  • Didactic learning (course handouts will be provided) will be supported through experiential learning and case consultation 



  • Conceptualize attachment (in both children and their parents) as both a left brained (categories) and right brained (embodied) concept through the lens of attachment theory and Interpersonal Neurobiology (Bowlby; Ainsworth; Siegel; Badenoch, etc…)

  • Use the 7 Domains of Impairment in complex trauma as a foundation for assessment and treatment planning  (Cook, Spinnazola, van der Kolk, et al…)

  • Apply concepts of Affect Regulation and the Window of Tolerance to working with children and their parents (Schore; Siegel; Ogden)

  • Understand that the brain develops sequentially (from the bottom up) and learn how to target the brain stem in the psychotherapy room through body-based, sensory rich, and rhythmic, repetitive interventions, while also supporting parents to support the brain stem at home. (Many traditionally taught modalities of play therapy target the limbic brain, offering a layer of healing without healing the lower parts of the brain) (Perry)

  • Apply the Polyvagal theory and concept of neuroception, learning how to create both a physical environment of ‘felt safety’ as well as to track your own inner experience of activation (with and without fear) in order to offer regulation to a dysregulated client (Porges

  • Learn attachment & neuroscience supported behavior interventions, including Trust Based Relational Intervention®, Integrated Parenting, and The Circle of Security® so that you can both integrate these concepts into the therapy room as well as support parents shifting to a more connection-based and attachment-healing model of parenting (Purvis; Wesselmann; Hoffman)

  • Increase your tool-box with interventions (the answer to ‘What do I actually DO with all this information’) that target the brain-stem, limbic brain, and cortical parts of the brain, allowing you to fluidly move back and forth between top-down and bottom-up processing, while holding all interventions within the belief that the relationship and dyadic regulation are the most important ‘tools’ in the therapy room.

  • Class teachings can be supplemented by readings that will be provided but not required. 


SO what does this all mean?

Treating children with complex trauma is inherently complex.  Van der Kolk and colleagues have identified seven domains of impairment in children with complex trauma.  Seven!  My work with children is all grounded in attachment theory and Interpersonal Neurobiology and I have integrated my training to create an attachment-based, neuroscience supportive, and sensory sensitive healing environment.  I consider myself ‘directive’ while staying child-centered and attuned.  I believe the most important things in my therapy room are myself, the child, and their parents.  While I have many many props and activities because we PLAY, I do not have a child-led play therapy room and keep all my toys and props tucked away, bringing them out as appropriate.  I spend a lot of time with parents because children with complex trauma need their entire world to provide felt-safety- not just the one hour they spend with me every week.  I find my work intensely gratifying and an unbelievable amount of fun because of the privilege of seeing progress in children who have been severely hurt. 





The financial commitment is $1350 and is divided into nine monthly payments of $150/month.  The fee is applied regardless of attendance or how many meetings are in the month (some months will have three classes due to the calendar, some months may have one class due to a holiday).  Once your application for the class has been accepted, you will be asked to sign commitment paperwork, pay the initial, nonrefundable fee of $150 (counts as the September payment), and provide payment information that will be kept on file. 



Central Texas Attachment & Trauma Center, 1705 W. Koenig Lane, Austin, 78756



LPC, LMFT, LCSW, or Licensed Psychologists.  Clinicians should have experience working with children.  The class focuses on working with children under age 12, involving parents in treatment.



Given to clinicians who accept Traditional Medicaid (the medical insurance provided to children adopted through CPS), STAR Health Medicaid (for children in foster care) and have specialized training in trauma informed therapy models (i.e. EMDR, SE, TF-CBT, etc.).  This study group will be especially helpful to therapists who are trained in Trust Based Relational Intervention® and would like to integrate this into the therapy room. 



Robyn Gobbel, LCSW is a CEU provider with the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners. The LPC board and the LMFT board have both indicated that they will accept Social Work CEUs.  Please check with your respective board. A CEU Certificate will be provided every three months. 


About Robyn:

You can read my full bio on my About Page.  Some of my training highlights include:

  • Certified Therapist with Foster and Adoptive Children and Families

  • EMDR

  • EMDR and attachment trauma

  • Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI)®

  • Circle of Security®

  • The ALERT Program® (for sensory processing difficulties)

  • Interpersonal Neurobiology

  • Somatic Experiencing

  • DEEP Therapy












"Robyn—it was the best training I can remember in FOREVER and all my thoughts go to:  I could take that training every year and still learn more and more. " ~2014/2015 Master Class Participant

​© 2015 Robyn Gobbel, LCSW

Gobbel Counseling