Shadowboxing with the Truth: Dispelling the Myths of Counseling Individuals who Have Been Trafficked


Susan Foster, PhD, LPC-S, NCC & Emily Dykes | September 19 | 10:15-11:15 AM

Topic: Direct Service | Knowledge Level: Intermediate | Location: TBD

Sex trafficking involves the intentional use of coercion, force, fraud, or exploitation of one person by another for the purpose of performing unwanted sex acts. With the advent of systemic factors such as increased dependence on technology, ambiguity in legislation and prosecution, unjust stigma, and other barriers and misconceptions, individuals who have been trafficked can struggle to access appropriate resources, such as counseling, to assist them. Rarely do trafficked persons seek counseling independently. Further, when they do present in counseling, they may present with a host of other symptoms that can mask or exacerbate their experiences or be indicative of co-occurring concerns. Thus, counseling trafficked persons tasks counselors and other mental health providers with possessing awareness of and competence to understand the dynamics of trafficking. Counselors must be attuned to and respond with trauma neutral language, appropriate assessment, crisis intervention, safety planning, and stabilization, the ability to address basic needs, and the ability to provide trauma informed and responsive identity, existential meaning, and grounding work with clients.

Presentation Objectives:

·  Explore the culture of trafficking

·  Explore systemic factors that perpetuate trafficking

·  Explore evidence-based techniques and strategies for counseling individuals who have been trafficked

About the Presenters