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Trauma, Attachment

Attachment and Trauma 2015 - Personality Development and Psychotherapy
withEdward Tronik, Peter Fonagy, Kathy Steele, Arnoud Arntz, Allan Schore, Russel Meares
Recordings of the course available without time limits
Video recording available
Available in Italian and English


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Attachment, simple and complex trauma can determine what will be the development of a person's brain but also of his or her personality. In recent years the scientific community has been increasingly in agreement in outlining important links between Attachment, Trauma, Personality Development and pathology. Just as in recent years there have also been many developments in therapies that have shown and are showing to be effective in the treatment of those disorders related to attachment bonds and trauma suffered. There have also been numerous studies verifying what works and is important in the therapy of Trauma and Personality Disorders. The world's leading Experts in this field meet to present their vast knowledge about Attachment, Trauma, Personality Development and Psychotherapy. After the exceptional first edition, this Congress is an unmissable opportunity to participate in a 'historic' exchange of knowledge in the international psychotherapy scene. In addition to eleven lectures and three panel discussions, more space has been left for questions and for the first time an international prize for Research in the field will be awarded. In addition, it will be possible to participate in the cultural lunches with classical music performed by professional musicians, and on Saturday it will be possible to attend the Gala Dinner with subsequent Concert, all in the picturesque setting of the Brancaccio Theatre in the centre of Rome.

Eckhard Roediger


The Schema therapy model illustrates how unmet basic needs, traumatic experiences and insecure attachment lead to maladaptive schemas and coping behaviours. Unfortunately, pattern chemistry plays an important role when choosing our partners. We thus find ourselves in the same complementary, and sometimes retraumatising, roles we used to have in childhood and we com- municate our previous significant others into the figure of our partners, 'pushing each other's emotional buttons' in an escalating cycle of fashions.

Unlike most other approaches used in couples therapy, Schema therapy does not only work with the couple but includes sessions with a single partner as part of an individual treatment plan. This allows the treatment of even severe personality disorders or those associated with trauma while improving ongoing relationships. And even more: we can start working with one partner and later include the other to a lesser or greater extent. The inclusion of a healthier partner supports the course of therapy while they feel supported by the therapist. Schema therapy is very flexible in this respect. But balancing these relationships is complicated.

The presentation introduces the theoretical frame of reference and describes how mode cycles function and can be modified through the fulfilment of frustrated basic needs, emotional reconnection realised with imagery and connection discourses between modes Healthy adult.

Neurologist, psychiatrist and psychotherapist. He was trained in psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioural therapies. He then headed the Department of Psychosomatics at a clinic in Berlin and has been in private practice since 2007 and chairs the specialised centre for training in Schema therapy in Frankfurt. Since 2008, he has been a member of the ISST board, of which he is the current president.
Allan Schore


Dr Schore will discuss how recent studies on the right brain - dominant for implicit, non-verbal, intuitive and holistic processing of emotional information and social interactions - can explain the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the relational foundations of psychotherapy. The evidence to be provided, drawn from various disciplines, documents the functions of the right brain hemisphere in: early attachment processes; emotional communications within the therapeutic alliance; reciprocal therapeutic enactments; and therapeutic change processes. This work highlights how the current emphasis on relational processes is conditioned by both psychology and neuroscience, allows for a fruitful exchange between the two disciplines, and is transforming them, with important consequences for clinical psychology models of psychotherapeutic change.

Author of numerous articles and texts on emotional regulation theory. Currently, he teaches at the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences (UCLA).
Daniel J. Siegel


Psychotherapy allows the clinician to assist individuals in identifying the pathways of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that may be limiting them from living a full and rewarding life. Some of the aspects that make up the individual's current project may be due to experiences derived from attachment relationships, while others may exist as a function of innate neural inclinations called temperament. The presentation will dive into the analysis of how experiences and temperament interact throughout life in the unfolding human personality. It will focus on how clinicians can distinguish these important but distinct aspects of human development in order to optimise therapeutic outcomes.

He is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, where he teaches at the Center for Culture, Brain, and Development. He is also co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center.
Kathy Steele


A large number of chronic trauma patients experience crises, distress, dysregulation and confusion that linger over time and can be transmitted to the therapist. These patients often make use of defence strategies and disorganised attachment that make the stability of the therapeutic relationship difficult. Clinicians do not always respond best when confronted with, for example, humiliated rage, deep dissociation and denial, demands and needs, regression, pretensions, sadomasochism, unbearable suffering and loneliness, feelings of emptiness and insensitivity, avoidance and extreme silences, and patients' intense self-injury and suicidal behaviour. Even experienced therapists can become overwhelmed and have difficulty remaining firm, present and efficient with difficult patients. This presentation will deal with integrated approaches to highly 'resistant' patients. We will explore the protective nature of resistance, particularly with those who, in order to escape inner experiences and relational difficulties, have developed persistent personality-related strategies. We will examine different types of resistance and the various approaches to coping with them. We will also consider strategies for "joining the resistance" with the patient, prompting the patient to become a participant-observer with us therapists in the joint development of a mentalising approach to "resistant" behaviour. The use of a particular form of collaborative, rather than nurturing, attachment supports regulation and mentalisation. These are essential skills ne- cessary for the patient to be involved in the hard work of understanding: that the trauma was there, that it is now over, and that ingrained beliefs and emotional and attachment strategies can be safely transformed into more effective and meaningful ways of being. Finally, we will examine the difficulties of continuing our relational involvement with such patients, attentive to our defences but not immersed in them.

A member of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, she has received numerous awards for her research. She is co-author of the book Ghosts in the Haunted Self.
Edward Tronik


Human beings are creators of signification about themselves in relation to the world of per- sons, the inanimate universe and the self. Such signifiers are held within each individual's states of consciousness, and expand when people, engaged in signifying exchanges, form dyadic states of consciousness. The failure to create signification about one's self in relation to the world of people and things constitutes a psychological catastrophe, a trauma. It is important that meaning-making about oneself in the world is constructed on multiple levels, brain and body - psychobiological. Each of these multiple levels of signification is conditioned by stressful and traumatic experiences. In order to exemplify this psychobiological conceptualisation, new human studies from my laboratory on genetics, fifisio- logy, emotions, epigenetics and caretaker-child interactions will be presented. Implications for therapeutic interventions will also be outlined. The presentation will make use of video recordings of the still face experiment in infants and children; other contexts will also be used to illustrate my thinking.

Associate Professor in the Department of Society, Human Development and Health and the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the Harvard School of Public Health.


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