TREATING TRAUMA-RELATED DISSOCIATION: PRACTICAL APPROACHES TO STABILIZATION
This practical workshop will focus on stabilization skills and attachment issues for adult survivors of severe childhood abuse and neglect who experience significant dissociation across the spectrum of complex developmental trauma disorders, from Complex PTSD to the Dissociative Disorders. We will first discuss three major ways in which dissociation is currently defined: as an alteration in awareness, a physiological shutdown, and a division or fragmentation of self or personality, and the implications of each definition for treatment. The widely accepted treatment of PTSD emphasizes immediate working through of traumatic memories. However, those who have endured developmental trauma across childhood require a more prolonged and complex phase-oriented approach that first emphasizes a relational approach that supports stabilization 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 specific and practical strategies for helping clients (1) become more mindful and present; (2) increase their ability to reflect on their own inner experience and that of others; (3) learn and practice the appropriate use of both relational and self-regulation; (4) resolve inner-directed phobias, such as the phobia of inner experience (e.g., thoughts, feelings, sensations, wishes, needs); (5) develop inner calmness, safety, and self-compassion; 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.