Recorded workshop

Treating Chronically Traumatized Children. The Sleeping Dogs method


The Sleeping Dogs method is a trauma treatment for children who were severely and chronically traumatized in early childhood. Many chronically traumatized children do not receive adequate treatment. They can refuse to participate in therapy or become very aggressive, avoidant or dissociate when the trauma is mentioned. Some children just never talk about is and it seems they have forgotten. It is difficult to know where to start, often it is advised to focus on symptom management and behaviour, rather than trying to address the trauma, out of fear to ‘wake up sleeping dogs’ and dysregulate or upset the child. It is thought the child will start talking about his traumatic memories when he is ready, but children rarely do without help, and if the trauma is not addressed, these ‘sleeping dogs’ (traumatic memories) damage the child’s development in all areas.

These children, who are called ‘resistant’ or ‘not motivated’ usually have good reasons not to engage, such as unsafety, instability in daily life, unsafe attachment relationships, lack of emotion regulation skills and negative core beliefs. The Sleeping Dogs method analyses these barriers systematically and then provides a structure to address and remove these barriers so the child becomes able to engage in a form of trauma processing such as EMDR or TF-CBT. The Sleeping Dogs method describes interventions to support the child and prevent it from dropping out and afterwards address the consequences of developmental trauma. Interventions can be done with the child, caregivers or biological parents and because the child is reluctant to engage, the caregivers, residential staff, parents, foster care workers, or child protection workers are also part of treatment in trying to engage the child. The structure of the Sleeping Dogs method can also guide decision-making by child protection services around disclosures, safety, contact arrangements with biological parents, contact between foster parents and biological parents, and reunification.

In this practical two-day workshop the Sleeping Dogs method is explained and illustrated with case examples and video material. The theory will be explained in straightforward language and participants practice the use of the method their own cases.

Who is this workshop for?
Professionals, psychologists, family therapists, social workers, residential staff, foster care workers and caseworkers in child protection, who work with chronically traumatized children and their families.

Learning Objectives
Participants will learn about the Sleeping Dogs Method and will be able to apply it to their clinical cases.
Participants will be able to identify when the use of the Sleeping Dogs Method is appropriate.
Participants will be able to identify all potential barriers for chronically traumatized children to commence with therapy.
Participants will be able to make a structured assessment of the potential barriers for their cases with the Sleeping Dogs method.
Participants will learn to analyze cases by using the Barriers Form to discover possible reasons why the child is resistant.
Participants will be able to identify the necessary elements of the treatment plan to overcome the barriers for their cases.
Participants will learn how to stabilize children and adolescents as quickly as possible so they can start processing those traumatic memories.
Participants will learn how to involve family members, even when they have abused or neglected the child and may have little or no contact with them, and when reunification is no option.

Register and pay

Australian with GST

Non-Australian (no GST)

The ICTC uses Tickettailor for registration and payment. Payments can be made with Stripe or Paypal and with Applepay. Payments with IDEAL can be made via Stripe. Multiple participants can be registered at the same time.

About the trainer

Arianne Struik is a clinical psychologist, family therapist and EMDR consultant, originally from the Netherlands and director of the Institute for Chronically Traumatized Children (ICTC) from which she provides specialized trauma treatment in remote areas, as well as workshops, training, supervision and research. She developed the award-winning Sleeping Dogs method, described in the book Treating Chronically Traumatized Children and teaches internationally on the treatment of trauma and dissociation in children. She is member of the ESTD Child and Adolescent Committee and the Australian Psychological Society EMDR Interest Group national committee.






250 AUD ex GST including the e-book Treating Chronically Traumatized Children (Struik, 2019)