320 – When Victims Victimize Others

Treating Clients Who Challenge Our Capacity for Compassion
Noel Larson

How do you encourage clients who’ve been perpetrators to take responsibility for the pain and suffering they’ve caused? It can be a daunting task, especially since such clients can’t develop the capacity to accept responsibility for having done harm without first having had the experience of being the object of empathy and care from others. This workshop will provide a model for opening them to the possibility of responsibility and compassion. You’ll explore:

  • Strategies to help perpetrators use their own painful experiences to begin to understand what it’s like for another person to go through a similar experience
  • Attunement techniques to encourage and mirror empathic responses and build a therapeutic relationship
  • How to assess the developmental deficits that separate clients who can be more easily treated with direct approaches from those who require a much slower, more remedial therapeutic approach


Noel Larson, PhD, is a licensed psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and independent clinical social worker with over 45 years of experience working with what were called Axis II disordered individuals. She consults and trains therapists, and is the coauthor of Incestuous Families: An Ecological Approach to Understanding and Treatment.

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