Dissociation and DID: The Fundamentals Online Training


Dissociation is a normal response to trauma, but its consequences can be devastating, especially if it’s not understood. This course – aimed not just at mental health professionals but also at trauma survivors themselves – delves into the fundamental neuroscience and lived experience of trauma, showing how healing and recovery are possible when we understand why the brain and body have responded the way they have.

Concessions are available here

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I believe that recovery from trauma is possible. That’s not some kind of rah-rah empty statement intended to inspire and draw a cheer whilst lacking substance. It’s a simple statement of fact based on the logic of how trauma impacts the brain.

By divorcing the symptoms of trauma – what we often refer to as mental illness – from the trauma itself, and from the brain and body’s evolutionary survival instincts, we create a narrative of hopelessness and powerlessness: I’m too messed up to heal. My symptoms are too bad. I’m too crazy.

For sure, trauma has devastating impacts. I’ve lived and still live those impacts myself. But the main reason we become stuck with those impacts is because we haven’t understood the basic neurobiology of trauma, and we’ve tried to fix the symptoms on their own, rather than the cause. It would be like trying to deal with an infectious disease outbreak (pandemic, anyone?) without a basic understanding of germ theory.

This course shows that there is nothing crazy or even ‘mentally ill’ about the traumatised brain. ALL of our symptoms make perfect sense in the light of our evolutionary response to life-threat. And if they make perfect sense, and we can understand them, then we can also work with our brains and bodies to heal from the symptoms of trauma. That’s the hope for recovery right here.

On this course we look at the trauma narrative of my own life expounded through the lens of neuroscience and clinical theory. We cover topics such as:

  • The trauma traffic light – polyvagal theory made simple, and in a way that makes a difference to a trauma survivor’s life as soon as we grasp it
  • The window of tolerance, and how to develop strategies to bring ourselves back into it when we are triggered outside of it
  • Why in helping someone it’s absolutely crucial that you are able to stay in the ‘green zone’ yourself – and why safety is the ultimate antidote to the unsafety of traumatisation
  • Why it’s ‘dissociation’ not ‘disassociation’!
  • How dissociation is a survival strategy based upon a denial of reality
  • How dissociative identity disorder (DID) solves a paradox, of knowing about the trauma to protect ourselves from it, and not knowing about the trauma so that we can get on with everyday life
  • How, why and when dissociation may develop into the way of processing information that we refer to as ‘dissociative identity disorder’
  • How depersonalisation and derealisation are the brain’s attempts to manage overwhelming distress by switching off the limbic brain

This is a course designed not just for counsellors and psychotherapists but for anyone working with or coming alongside trauma survivors. It’s also aimed specifically at trauma survivors themselves, providing a wealth of psychoeducational material that aims to reduce shame by making sense of our way of interpreting and responding to the world. (Spoiler alert: we’re neither bad nor mad!)

This course looks at the neurobiological fundamentals of our trauma response. Dissociation happens to everyone, in varying degrees, whenever there is trauma, and so this course is relevant to everyone. It is not a basic course, but a deep dive into the way that our symptoms of trauma are our best attempt to survive and how and why we get stuck with them – and what to do about it.

The speaker is Carolyn Spring.

What you get:

  • 6 hours of CPD with certificate upon completion
  • Lifetime access (return to the course again and again)
  • Start/stop and replay as often as you like
  • Easy to use: only requires a web browser
  • Downloadable resources and further reading for a comprehensive learning experience

All online courses are priced individually and offer a single-user licence only. Information about group bookings and discounts for organisations is available here.