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Treating Adult Clients of Emotionally Immature Parents: How Your Clients Can Reclaim Their Lives from the Toxic Legacy of Controlling, Rejecting or Self-Involved Parents

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Lindsay C. Gibson, PsyD
6 Hours 19 Minutes
Audio and Video
Sep 15, 2021
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Digital Recording
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No matter what you treat, we all work with clients trying to overcome the wounds inflicted by emotionally immature, insensitive, self-absorbed, and controlling parents.

As a therapist, working with these clients can leave you feeling frustrated and ineffective as they make the same self-destructive choices again and again, struggle to set healthy boundaries, find themselves unable to walk away from the role of “rescuer” in toxic relationships, and only say what they think others want to hear – including in therapy.

Lindsay C. Gibson, PsyD is the Amazon #1 Best Selling Author of Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting or Self-Involved Parents. A psychotherapist for over thirty years, her work has been translated into 14 languages and has helped thousands of people reverse their toxic psychological legacy and reclaim their lives.

Watch her as she shows you how you can find greater therapeutic success with clinical strategies to help your clients take control of their relationships and lives, break free from harmful patterns, connect more deeply with themselves and others, and become the person they were always meant to be.

The invaluable tools Dr. Gibson will share can help all therapists:

  • Skillfully guide clients in how they can restructure toxic relationships with parents and others
  • Free clients from the fear, shame and self-doubt that traps them in a life of emotional coercion
  • Teach clients to protect themselves from hurtful behaviours without completely severing all ties
  • Give clients the courage to set boundaries without feeling guilty

This is one training you can’t afford to miss! Purchase today!



This online program is worth 6.25 hours CPD.



Lindsay C. Gibson, PsyD's Profile

Lindsay C. Gibson, PsyD Related seminars and products

Lindsay C. Gibson, PsyD, is the Amazon #1 Best Selling Author of Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting or Self-Involved Parents (New Harbinger, 2015.) It has sold over 100,000 copies, been translated into 14 languages, and has helped thousands of people reverse their toxic psychological legacy and reclaim their lives.

Dr. Gibson’s unique contribution to the field was to recognize that the anxiety, obsessions, and depression of her clients were often rooted in distorted beliefs and emotional coercions induced by emotionally immature parents.

A psychotherapist and psychodiagnostician for over thirty years, Dr. Gibson came to realize how prevalent emotional immaturity was in the family members of her clients. Many had parents who were functional people, not extreme on the spectrum of mental health conditions, yet the destructive phenomenon of parental emotional immaturity had devastating consequences for those who grew up in its wake.

Dr. Gibson continues to work as a clinical psychologist in private practice. Her follow-up book Recovering from Emotionally Immature Parents: Practical Tools to Establish Boundaries and Reclaim Your Emotional Autonomy was released in 2019. (New Harbinger).

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Lindsay Gibson maintains a private practice. She is a published author and receives royalties. Dr. Gibson receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Lindsay Gibson has no relevant non-financial relationships.


  1. Distinguish between psychopathology and emotional immaturity, and establish how a disease concept model can impede therapeutic progress.
  2. Demonstrate practical communication skills that clients can use to protect themselves and redirect interactions with emotionally immature people.
  3. Utilize cognitive and emotional techniques to teach clients how they can set boundaries without feeling guilty.
  4. Employ interventions that help clients regain self-trust and the ability to identify emotionally immature control maneuvers.
  5. Formulate a treatment strategy that teaches clients how to evade attempts to undermine their mental freedom, inner-world connection, sense of goodness, and ability to reach out to others.
  6. Apply effective therapy approaches to release clients from emotional coercion and self-doubt in emotionally immature relationships.


Spotting Emotional Immaturity: Teach Clients to Understand Emotional Immaturity

  • Importance of describing over diagnosing
  • Projective identification and the Emotionally Immature Relationship System
  • Characteristics of emotional immaturity and maturity
  • What relationships feel like with emotionally immature people

How Emotionally Immature Parenting Impacts Your Clients: What You Can Expect When They Come for Therapy

  • Emotional loneliness and the fear of non-being
  • Good coping, emotional suffering; polyvagal effects
  • Self-disconnection and distrust of the inner world
  • The four horsemen of self-defeat
  • Loss of emotional autonomy and mental freedom
  • Healing fantasies, role-self, internalizer vs. externalizer styles

Cognitive and Emotional Techniques: What Works and What Doesn’t

  • Why clients find it so hard to break free from exploitation and emotional neglect
  • Why CBT and psychodynamic approaches aren’t enough
  • Exercises to help clients express themselves without anxiety
  • Teach clients to simultaneously disengage and become relationship leaders
  • How to define and use values as guideposts for the future
  • Phrasing suggestions, encouraging agency and showing how it’s done

End Emotional Takeovers and Coercion: Help Clients Achieve Emotional Autonomy from Emotionally Immature People

  • The emotionally immature person’s “distortion field”
  • Emotional coercion: how clients can spot and deflect control maneuvers
  • Communication skills to establish boundaries without guilt
  • When to sever ties with someone

Release Self-Doubt, Shame, and Fear: Clinical Tools and Interventions to Help Clients Find Their True Selves

  • Techniques to release clients’ feelings of personal “badness”
  • Interventions to address fears of being selfish and incapable of love
  • Tuning into energy shifts to track safety, unreliability, and threat in others
  • Repurpose self-doubt, shame, fear and guilt
  • Practising experiencing emotionally intimate connection

Practice Tips for Working with the Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents

  • Using countertransference effectively
  • Honouring personal style
  • Invitation, collaboration and celebration vs. direction and persuasion
  • How to phrase suggestions
  • Research and treatment limitations

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Case Managers
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Therapists
  • Physicians
  • Other Mental Health Professionals


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