Event Details

Cognitive therapy for women survivors of sexual assault

Presented by Dr Sharif El-Leithy and Dr Hannah Murray

About the event

This is an online, participative event on the Zoom meeting platform, organised by the Women's Equality and Gender Diversity Specialist Interest Group (WOMGEND SIG). For more details on the WOMGEND SIG please see here.

A certificate of attendance will be issued for 6 x hours CPD.

The event will not be recorded.

Registration closes - Midday Friday 6 October. Places are limited though so book early to avoid disappointment.


Up to 50% of women who have been sexually assaulted will develop PTSD. Sexual assault is the most frequent cause of PTSD in women and tends to lead to particularly severe symptoms (Smith et al., 2016).  Cognitive therapy for PTSD has been extensively evaluated with excellent results, including with women who have been sexually assaulted.

The workshop is aimed at psychological therapists working with PTSD in their clinical practice, who are seeking to further their understanding and skills in working with female survivors of sexual assault. It will focus primarily on trauma-focused CBT, more specifically cognitive therapy for PTSD, providing a refresher on this model and treatment and explaining how to apply it for women who have experienced sexual assault. It will outline some of the challenges in working with survivors to treat PTSD following sexual assault, and formulate them within the cognitive model of PTSD (Ehlers & Clark, 2000).

The following areas will be discussed in the workshop:

• Working with cognitive themes such as self-blame, ‘rape myths’, mental contamination, shame, defeat and loss of trust
• The nature of trauma memories following sexual assault, with particular reference to drug-facilitated rape, non-fatal strangulation and multiple victimisation
• Working with the consequences of sexual exploitation and grooming, including secrecy, ambivalence and loyalty to the perpetrator
• Coping strategies following sexual assault, including avoidance, self-harm, risky sexual behaviour and dissociation
• The relational impact of sexual assault, including reclaiming intimacy and sexuality
• The impact of media coverage, social and political discourses
• Issues within the therapeutic relationship, including obstacles to disclosure, therapist gender and adapting for diversity
• Practical issues such as legal processes and safeguarding

The workshop will describe and demonstrate how to adapt cognitive therapy for PTSD to address these issues, and invite participants to practise key skills. The training will also focus on the experience of women who have been sexually assaulted and will use examples which illustrate various backgrounds.

Learning outcomes:
• Identify common themes and challenges in treating PTSD in women following sexual assault
• Apply principles from existing cognitive models of PTSD to formulate these presentations
• Learn practical ways to implement cognitive therapy techniques with survivors of sexual assaults

About the presenter(s)

Dr Sharif El-Leithy is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Lead for the Traumatic Stress Service in South-West London.

Dr Hannah Murray is a Research Clinical Psychologist based at the Oxford Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma, University of Oxford.

Between them they have 30 years of experience in working with PTSD using Cognitive Therapy and both supervise, teach and research widely in the field. They have authored a number of research and practice papers in aspects of treating PTSD and a clinical handbook, ‘Working with complexity in PTSD: A cognitive therapy approach’.


By registering on this BABCP event you accept the following terms and conditions:

All cancellation requests must be made in writing by emailing workshops@babcp.com

Online workshops and webinars
An event booking cancelled up to 5 days prior to the scheduled event will receive a full refund.

No refunds will be granted if a cancellation is made fewer than 5 days prior to the scheduled event, or for failure to attend.

BABCP cancels events only when necessary, but reserves the right to do so, as well as to reschedule events and substitute presenters.  If an event is cancelled you will be given a full refund of registration fees paid.

Online Event
11 Oct 2023
70.00 GBP (ex. VAT) - BABCP Member
85.00 GBP (ex. VAT) - Non Member
This event is closed.

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