31st Annual ISSTD Conference
STABILIZING TREATMENT FOR ADULTS SURVIVORS OF CHRONIC CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT (with Joan Turkus, MD)
This practical workshop will focus on stabilization skills and a helpful therapeutic approach for adult survivors of severe childhood abuse and neglect. The widely accepted treatment of PTSD emphasizes immediate working through of traumatic memories. However, adult survivors of serious abuse and/or neglect in childhood require a more prolonged and complex phase-oriented approach that first emphasizes stabilization, and relational and skills building. In fact, treatment is as much, if not more, about developmental and relational repair as it is about confrontation of traumatic memories for these individuals. Participants will learn the importance of psycho-education in empowering clients to be collaborative team members in their treatment, and how to pace the therapy so that clients remain within a window of emotional tolerance. You will also learn specific and practical strategies for helping clients: (1) increase their ability to reflect on their own inner experience and that of others; (2) learn and practice relational and self-regulation and activation of positive emotions; (3) learn to accept and tolerate inner experience (e.g., thoughts, feelings, sensations, wishes, needs); (4) develop inner calmness, safety, and self-compassion; (5) reduce self-harm behaviors; and (6) resolve dissociation. We will practice integrative ways of working with dissociative parts in the context of the whole person of the client. In addition, we will discuss practical ways to address the client’s “resistance” to change, reframing it as protection, and then increasing the capacity of the client to approach change with a sense of safety and curiosity.