common barn owl ( Tyto albahead ) head close up

Sharpen your skills. Improve your outcomes.

Become a trauma wise couple therapist.

Working with couples with trauma presents a particular set of challenges for therapists.

This eight-session consultation group addresses issues facing couples therapists working with trauma.

Raise your confidence and comfort level working with the most challenging couples.

Increase capacity.

Build your own affect tolerance and improve your self-regulation skills. Keep your seat in session with highly activated couples so you can better regulate them. 

Refine case conceptualization.

Broaden your knowledge of defenses, latent content, the unconscious therapeutic alliance, and monitoring affect regulation to better understand the overall case presentation.

Develop emotional integration.

Utilize Dan Siegel's nine domains of integration to cultivate greater intrapsychic and interpersonal integration in your coulples.


We approach this work through a lens informed by Stan Tatkin’s Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT), Terry Real’s Relational Life Therapy, Intensive Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy, somatic psychotherapy, Interpersonal Neurobiology, and attachment and polyvagal theories. To the best of our ability, we seek to create a trauma-informed group experience. This includes awareness of and sensitivity to racial and cultural trauma and inclusivity of marginalized voices. Together, we'll explore many of the aspects that makes working with couples with trauma so challenging therapist self-regulation, maintaining therapeutic frame, regulating partners and building capacity, managing acting out, differentiating acting out from client limited capacity, working with defenses, rapport vs. therapeutic alliance, working with countertransference and projective identification, and utilizing Dan Siegel’s nine levels of integration.


In this hybrid training/consultation group we’ll split time between didactic presentation with brief group discussion and case consultation. Group meetings will start with an overview of a concept or intervention specific to working with trauma in couple therapy. The remainder of the time will be dedicated to participants’ case consultation and answering clinical questions. We’ll provide reading materials to support your learning. Reading should require no more than 30 minutes per week. The group is limited to eight participants. Each participant will have the opportunity to bring a case for at least an hour consultation, in addition to ongoing discussion and case questions each week.

Participant Criteria

Participants should have a minimum of level one training in any of the following couple therapy models: PACT, EFT, RLT, Gottman, or Imago and at least two years experience as a couple therapist. Additionally, group members will need a basic understanding of attachment theory (differences between avoidant, anxious ambivalent, etc.) and polyvagal theory.

We recognize that working with couples often brings up our own family of origin issues. Working with complex trauma clients does even more so. Participants will bring cases for consultation with which they've struggled and we'll explore issues of transference and countertransference. Some of this may be difficult material. Our expectation is that group members will have done a fair degree of their own personal therapy and we encourage participants to have their own support  including friends and family.

We require a financial commitment to all eight sessions, regardless of attendance. 


We'll meet online (so you don't have to be in Austin!) on alternate Mondays from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. beginning March 21 and ending June 26. The cost is $120 per session. We require a commitment for all eight sessions, even if you have to miss one.

Click here to apply for the consultation group.

Have questions? Send us an email.

Your Trail Guides

Kathryn Barksdale, LPC & Margaret Martin, LCSW, SEP

We met online in August 2020, brought together by a common interest in PACT couple therapy and the treatment of complex trauma. We geeked out over all things neuro-nerd and bonded over our mutual frustration with the lack of trauma-informed, trauma-focused training available for couples therapists. We began meeting regularly and explored things like “How do we adjust our work with couples when PTSD and dissociation take over a session?” and “When working with traumatized partners how do we maintain the couple therapy frame rather than shifting to individual therapy with the partner present?” As we shared experience and information, we discovered answers to many of our own questions, and thus the birth of this hybrid training/consultation group.

Our strength as partners in this project lies as much in our separate perspectives as in our shared passion. We explore problems from different angles, often coming to the same conclusion, and occasionally not. We learn from each other in areas of common ground and in areas where we differ. Together, we’ll create room for questions, curiosity, and a variety of opinions.

Margaret Martin, LCSW, SEP

Margaret Martin, LCSW is a PACT Level 3 therapist in private practice in Austin, Texas, where she specializes in complex trauma and works with couples and individuals. She’s been a student of Stan Tatkin, Psy D, MFT since 2012 and receives regular supervision of video recorded sessions from a master therapist as part of her ongoing training and deliberate practice. Margaret is a founding member of a video-based peer-led consultation and process group. She coaches and trains fellow therapists in the clinical use of video recording techniques, provides training to clinicians and organizations on trauma-informed care, and provides consultation and coaching in PACT couple therapy. A self-described training junkie, Margaret completed the three-year core training in ISTDP and recently started advanced ISTDP training. She is also trained in Somatic Experiencing, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing, Emotional Transformation Therapy, and Accelerated Resolution Therapy.

Kathryn Barksdale, LPC

Katie Barksdale, LPC is an individual and couples therapist in private practice in Austin, Texas. She specializes in the treatment of complex trauma and dissociative disorders utilizing EMDR, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Internal Family Systems, Trauma Focused Therapy, attachment theory, and parts work. Katie approaches her work with couples through a lens informed by Stan Tatkin’s PACT model, Terry Real’s Relational Life Therapy, and the work of Esther Perrel. A sex positive trauma therapist armed with a background in research and human sexuality, Katie is passionate about removing the stigma and shame that prevents individuals and couples from experiencing sex and sexuality joyfully. She is a walking library and has an almost encyclopedic knowledge on trauma therapy and the intersection of trauma and sexuality. Although she might deny this, Margaret can attest to it.

Exit mobile version