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Friday Lunchtime Program: Working with Partners and Survivors in the Aftermath of Childhood Abuse, Presented by Scott Nelson, PhD, LMFT

  • Fri, November 14, 2014
  • 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM
  • Corte Madera Town Center, Room 201 - 770 Tamalpais Drive, Corte Madera, CA



Friday, November 14, 2014


Presented by Scott Nelson, PhD, LMFT

Adult couples with a history of any kind of childhood abuse, including severe neglect and maltreatment, are at greater risk for experiencing a wide variety of emotional, psychological, physical, and sexual difficulties, as well as interpersonal challenges. Regardless of the difficulties and challenges experienced, these adult couples have yet to receive the professional attention they deserve in the research literature and clinical presentations. Even though the most common symptom experienced by survivors of abuse is their struggle with interpersonal relationship difficulties, particularly with their intimate mates, little has been done to understand the challenges confronting survivor couples and more specifically the nonabused PARTNERS. Without the proper support, education, and therapy they need, nonabused partners are left to fend for themselves, with a plethora of psychological and emotional difficulties, most often increasing their vulnerability to developing secondary traumatization symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, sexual confusion, and even PTSD symptom patterns.

In this presentation, Scott Nelson will focus on highlighting and elucidating the challenges, which are unique to survivor couples and in particular to nonabused partners. Survivor couples are confronted with unique, intense, and painful issues, which may help to explain why they are three times more likely to divorce than the wider population. Having worked extensively with this population, Scott Nelson will draw from his professional experience to illustrate the issues challenging survivor couples and nonabused partners with the hopes of raising awareness and offering supportive consultation and information to therapists wanting to serve PARTNERS and their survivor mates.


Scott Nelson, PhD, LMFT, has worked in the field of mental health for over 40 years. He received his doctorate from the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley. He began his career as a first responding street worker, later working as an inpatient psychiatric technician for over 12 years. He was Director of the Family Coping Project and Research Director at the Mental Research Institute (MRI) in Palo Alto. Scott Nelson has held his own private practice in Mill Valley since 1981, and he has been intimately involved with the challenges confronting abuse survivors and their PARTNERS throughout most of his career. In 1985, he started and facilitated the first ongoing support group for partners of childhood abuse survivors. During the past three decades, he has worked with partners and survivor couples in private therapy, workshops, and ongoing support/growth groups.

Scott Nelson has written numerous scientific journal articles on a variety of subjects, including psychiatric hospitalization criteria, community treatment, family stress and coping, and self-trust. He is author of Lost lovers, found friends: Getting over a romance without losing a friend (Simon & Schuster, 1991). His latest upcoming book is What Can I Do? Help for PARTNERS and Survivors in the Aftermath of Childhood Abuse. To learn more about his work and practice in Mill Valley, please visit his websites at or

Date: Friday, November 14, 2014

Time: Networking is from 11:30 to 12:00 p.m. Presentation begins at 12:00 pm and ends at 1:30 p.m.

Cost: $10 fee for non-Marin CAMFT members.

CEUs: 1.5

Location: Corte Madera Town Center, Room 201 - 770 Tamalpais Drive, Corte Madera, CA (map)

Information: For more information about the Friday Lunchtime Program Series and about joining the Committee, please contact the Chair, Nerina Cecchin.

Marin County Chapter of CAMFT                  

PO Box 9065 San Rafael, CA 94912-9065     

(415) 459 3484

Marin CAMFT is approved by  the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT Provider #56895) to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and LEPs

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