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Fri, Sep 15


Steadfast Center

Trauma Learning Group

The Trauma Learning Group is a space for mental health professionals to deepen their knowledge of working with adult clients who have experienced trauma.

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Time & Location

Sep 15, 2023, 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Steadfast Center, 701 Devonshire Dr Suite B1, Champaign, IL 61820, USA

About the event

Facilitated by Melanie Marklein, PhD and Heather Pierce, LCPC

Fridays 9:30-11:30am, in person at Steadfast Center

Meeting dates:

(2023) Sep 15, Oct 20, Nov 17, Dec 15,

(2024) Jan 19, Feb 16,  Mar 8, Apr 19, May 17

18 CEs offered for licensed counselors and social workers

Fee: $950 for the series

Group will be limited to 8 participants

The Trauma Learning Group is a space for mental health professionals to deepen their knowledge of working with adult clients who have experienced trauma. Often these clients present with depression and anxiety that is rooted in early experiences that involve a range of abuse or neglect. Their symptoms may also be related to PTSD, OCD, dissociation, or personality disorders resulting from early trauma, which can be particularly challenging work for therapists.

The group is designed to be a supportive environment for learning, processing experiences, presenting case material, and being in compassionate connection with colleagues.

The group is open to mental health professionals of all theoretical orientations and experience levels who are interested in gaining additional trauma-informed clinical skills and exploring the impact of clients’ trauma in the therapy relationship.

The Trauma Learning Group has several areas of focus:

1) Facilitators will engage participants in trauma-informed learning on topics such as:

  • Safety and stabilization
  • Building trust in the therapy relationship
  • Working with resistance and rigid ways of coping
  • Grief and loss in the process of change
  • Managing trauma reenactments in the therapy relationship
  • Coping with client self-harm and suicidality
  • Trauma-related dissociation
  • Ensuring healthy endings/terminations

2) Participants will engage in interactive discussions about these topics and may connect the material to their own clients. In addition, each group member will have a dedicated hour to discuss and receive support for a specific case.

3) Group members will have a place to explore the impact they experience from working with clients who present with trauma, including vicarious trauma, coping with our own triggers, maintaining boundaries, managing burnout, holding hope, and benefitting from vicarious resiliency.

Goals for participants in the Trauma Learning Group include:

  • Increasing the use of insight, emotions, and awareness in service of clients
  • Managing triggers, countertransference, and boundary issues
  • Finding greater peace with vicarious trauma, stress/anxiety, and overwhelming feelings
  • Feeling more competent and skilled
  • Improving client retention and/or building stronger client relationships
  • Achieving greater fulfillment and personal growth

Please contact Heather Pierce at or Melanie Marklein at if you would like more information about the group.

About the facilitators:

Dr. Melanie Marklein is a licensed clinical psychologist with nearly 15 years of experience working with adult survivors of trauma. She has specialized interest and training in the treatment of complex PTSD and co-occurring issues, such as eating disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, addiction, and dissociative disorders. As the Clinical Director at Steadfast Center, she oversees the internship training program and provides supervision for interns and pre-licensed trauma therapists. She also has a passion for facilitating group psychotherapy and has experience leading different types of groups, including trauma groups focused on safety and stabilization, trauma processing groups, interpersonal process groups for women struggling with eating disorders, skills-based DBT and ACT groups, and equine-experiential learning groups for trauma survivors.

Heather Pierce is the Founder and Director of Steadfast Center. She has more than 30 years in helping roles, including the past 13 years as a trauma therapist, restoring hope and creating lasting change in people impacted by victimization and neglect. Heather completed a two-year fellowship in the feminist-relational treatment of trauma, and she is known for her presentations on trauma-related topics for the Illinois Society for Clinical Social Work (ISCSW), International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), and the Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma (IVAT).

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