Complex Trauma & Dissociation


Theory, Clinical Assessment, and Stabilization

Fridays: June 5, June 12, June 19, July 3, & July 10 2020 - 10am - 1:00pm Pacific time

Part 1

Pandemic stresses are further activating dissociative and other entrenched defenses in clients of all ages with complex trauma and dissociation. This may cause significant dysregulation and distress, making treatment more challenging than usual. This training offers a unique integration of approaches across the lifespan, from children to the elderly, providing clinicians with the basic theory, clinical assessment skills, and stabilization strategies to support clients coping with the effects of early and chronic trauma.

Clinicians attending this training will be able to:

Friday, June 5, 2020

  • Differentiate between complex developmental trauma and acute or “single incident” trauma
  • Cite various theories that address dissociation
    • Describe the biological and psychological underpinnings and the theories that address it
    • Describe how dissociation manifests in various stages of development
    • Discuss what constitutes dissociative parts
    • Similarities and differences in dissociation in children and adolescents and adults.
    • Special issues in working with the elderly dissociative client
  • Describe phase-oriented treatment of complex PTSD and dissociation
    • Compare approaches to PTSD to those for Complex PTSD and dissociative disorders like DID
    • List principles and goals throughout the phases
  • Describe use of language in speaking with children, adolescents and adults about dissociation

Friday, June 12, 2020

  • Employ clinical assessment strategies for dissociation in children, adolescents, adults and the elderly
  • Identify similarities and differences in working with CPTSD and dissociative disorders across the lifespan
  • Identify relational resources and roadblocks for clients and their parents, caregivers, support systems, dissociative families
  • Differentiate ego states in cPTSD and dissociative parts in dissociative disorders
  • List differences between dissociative amnesia and failures to encode: distinguishing between different types of memory problems
    • Memory issues in young children
    • Substance abuse in adolescents and adults
    • Medical issues and memory in the elderly
  • Describe Schneiderian symptoms indicating lack of voluntary control, including hearing voices
  • Describe signs of switching from one part to another

Friday, June 19, 2020

  • Describe manifestations of disorganized attachment in children, adolescents and adults: Problems with too much closeness or distance
  • Describe preoccupied and dismissing attachment schemas and tendencies in the therapeutic relationship
  • Employ a collaborative relational approach that treats all parts as aspects of one person and honors the client’s protective needs while promoting realization and integration
  • Discuss the challenges of caretaking and rescue
  • Discuss therapeutic boundaries, limits and the therapeutic frame, including how to reset appropriate boundaries
  • Develop therapeutic relationship and boundaries with child client’s parents and caregivers
  • Demonstrate understanding of how to use attunement, resonance and synchrony
  • Apply principles of mentalizing: Holding the client’s mind in mind as well as our own

Friday, July 3, 2020

  • Utilize various entry points to access the self-system with children, adolescents and adults
    • A sequenced approach
    • Using externalization and “physicalization” techniques (drawing, action figures, Sandtray techniques and playful approaches…)
    • Demonstrate how to use techniques for inner communication, such as the conference room or Fraser’s table
  • Discuss capacities required for therapy
    • Working with the adult or “bigger” self in session
    • Modifications for children (limited mentalizing, regulation, etc.)
  • Apply principles on how to start working with parts
    • Stabilizing by working with parts: which parts and system conflicts to start with
  • Discuss basic approaches to resolving inner conflicts across the lifespan
  • Describe ways of helping clients find effective ways to communicate internally

Friday, July 10, 2020

  • Discuss how to restore safety: external safety and neuroception of safety
  • Describe caveats about working with dissociative clients
  • Demonstrate work with parents and caregivers to improve stabilization and safety in children and adolescents
    • Describe working withing dissociative family systems
  • Discuss methods to increase emotion regulation and tolerance and tolerance for ambiguity
  • Describe tools to improve mentalizing capacities
  • Describe how to help the client’s whole system access and utilize skills and capacities
  • Apply approaches to support titrated co-consciousness.
    • Beginning with functions and coping in daily life while containing sharing of traumatic memory

CE Information

  • The American Psychological Association (APA) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • The Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling Provider #852 BAP-Expires 3/31/2021
  • The California Board of Behavioral Sciences. The California Board of Behavioral Sciences, BBS, recognizes relevant course work/training that has been approved by nationally recognized certifying bodies, such as APA, to satisfy renewal requirements.
  • California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP) Provider Number OS-12-147-0221 Expires 2-2021
  • The Texas Board of Social Work Examiners, Continuing Education Provider – 5674 expires 4/30/2021.
  • The Texas Board of Professional Counselors, Continuing Education Provider
  • Massachusetts Authorization Number: 2117
  • Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board – Provider # RCST031201 Expires 5/31/2021
  • New York Social Work Board – is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0120.
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