When a young child grows up in an environment of perpetual threat – abuse, emotional neglect and abandonment, an attachment figure who is also a perpetrator – then how else can they survive psychologically except by saying, ‘This isn’t happening’ and ‘This isn’t happening to me?’ This is the essence of dissociative identity disorder – a separation of the psyche into parts of the personality who know about the trauma and are permanently on the defensive against it, and parts of the personality who don’t, and whose role is to get on with daily life free of that crippling consciousness.
DID is therefore the natural outcome for a childhood of unremitting unsafety: the child learns to hide what is going on, even from themselves. As adults with DID, then, there may appear to be no sign at all of the trauma, as the mind successfully segregates awareness of it away from conscious thought. Clients with dissociative identity disorder don’t always know that they have been traumatised. And that’s why it’s essential that every counsellor and psychotherapist should have a good grounding in dissociative disorders, so as not to collude with dissociation and avoidance, and thereby fail to help the client for whom hiddenness has become a way of life.
Working with dissociative disorders is working with trauma; working with complex trauma often involves working with dissociative disorders. This training therefore provides a grounding in working with all clients, not just those whose trauma is evident, or have clearly identified DID.
DID is by its very nature confusing, contradictory and hard to pin down. What better insight therefore into therapy for DID than ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ – because this course is based on Carolyn’s first long-term stint of psychotherapy, starting before either she or her therapist were aware of dissociative disorders, and working extensively over a number of years to begin to bring the dissociated trauma to light and to regulate and integrate it.
The course will take a neurobiologically-informed approach, meaning that we will look at how the body and brain’s natural defences have been stimulated by overwhelming threat, and how that response has become stuck and then manifests in the complex behaviours of a trauma-related disorder. We’ll look at the brain science behind this and various paradigms which help to make the complex simple, including the concept of the back brain and front brain, and how recovery from trauma involves a continual shift away from survival-based, back brain reflexes into more adaptive, elective, front brain choices.
This course won’t just present the theory in a disembodied, abstract way, but will explain it with insightful metaphors and Carolyn’s own experience, answering the burning questions that so many therapists have when working with this client group, including:
- How should you engage with ‘parts’?
- How can you avoid ‘retraumatising’ the client?
- How do you work with the client who can’t properly remember the trauma?
- What do you do with the client who cannot stay present during a session?
- How do you deal with dependency?
- Is integration the goal?
- How do you pace sessions?
- What do you do if you can’t get the adult ‘back’ at the end of a session?
- How do you deal with stuckness?
- How do you avoid traumatic reenactments within the therapy room and the therapy relationship?
- What pitfalls are there in this work?
- How do you look after yourself whilst working with such demanding and at times overwhelming content and trauma?
- How do you deal effectively and empathically with self-harm and suicidality?
- How do you process traumatic memories?
- Do you allow the client to ‘switch’ or do you keep the ‘adult’ present?
- And many other questions
This course is for you if:
- You want more confidence in the work you’re doing, or plan to do, with traumatised clients
- You want practical, effective suggestions on how to work in the session
- You want to better understand the mechanics of trauma and how they can be applied to work with your individual, unique clients
- You want to feel less alone and isolated in your work
- You want to understand your dissociative clients better, and know how best to support them
- You want to have a roadmap for the work you are doing, rather than taking each session as it comes
- You want to expand your toolkit for working with dissociative states
- You want to gain a theoretical framework to direct and support your work, which will enhance not only your work with your client but also help you to take full advantage of supervision
- You want to be encouraged and inspired – that recovery is possible, and is possible for your clients
- You already have some understanding and experience of trauma and dissociative disorders but you want to go deeper and sharpen your skill
- You want answers to the questions listed above.
This course is aimed specifically at counsellors, psychotherapists, psychologists and other professionals working in a clinical setting (including private practice) with clients who have experienced childhood trauma. You will also find the course of relevance if you do not directly work with traumatised people in a clinical setting but you have an interest in this field, including as a survivor yourself. Please just be aware that the emphasis will be on the therapy session, although many of the principles could be extrapolated into other settings.
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.
“Even though I have had a good amount of training in trauma and the aftereffects on the body and nervous system, I found your course incredibly helpful and useful. The language you use is free of jargon, and not only does that help me deepening my understanding of the complex neurobiology, but it also helps me deliver simpler and more succinct psychoeducation to my clients. The value of the course is exceptional, I very much appreciate that it is affordable. Also, for me it is fantastic that I can watch it again and again, as my brain doesn’t retain information as well as it used to. I do have great respect and admiration for your work, how much you share your own personal experience, and that in itself is such an empowering example for us as therapists as well as for our clients with DID.”
“The language used was just right and the analogies were so clear and easy to understand even complex things. I loved how personal experience was linked into this to help in our understanding of things by not just a trainer but also survivor. The lessons were succinct and so length felt sufficient, a lot of basics was covered in the length of lessons and all was looked at as a whole. Nicely structured. Other links were also really insightful, relevant and helpful.”
“Incredibly helpful. Both reassuring to the clinician who may be inexperienced with DID, and full of concrete pointers for my most urgent questions (e.g. ‘How to address the parts?’) The videos were the right length to get in-depth to a subject matter without making me tune out (I have trouble staying focused on a video lecture for too long.) I appreciated the additional reading resources to give me a sort of intuitive, case-study grip on the material.”
“I think it was all totally brilliant, I loved listening to Carolyn, the quality of her voice and the calm measured delivery, full of confidence in the possibility of recovery from such horrendous, life-threatening abuse.”
“It was truly exceptional. Carolyn makes things easy to understand without missing out the complex and meatier subject matter or the science behind it.”
“A very good experience to equip me to work with dissociative disorders in my practice. It has helped my understanding and given me more confidence in my being able to be more with DID clients. It was easy to use and I could pace it to suit my own needs. It could be done at home and was very user friendly. I was very impressed by the whole training.”
“A very thought-provoking, insightful course, one in which I’ve taken some useful information to use with current, and future clients in my therapy sessions. It was also a very emotional experience for me as an individual. Thanks, Carolyn, keep up the good work.”
“I have been extremely impressed Carolyn with your course Working with Dissociative Disorders in Clinical Practice and look forward to using your strategies with my clients. I found the course very user friendly and enjoyed completing it and look forward to accessing more of your online courses. The course will be invaluable in my practice.”