Over the past decades, the growing synergy between the innovative research methods developed through Neuroscience and their clinical application has significantly contributed to the extraordinary advances that have been made in the field of Psychotherapy. If, on the one side, neuroscientific research has become more and more sophisticated and precise, thus allowing experts to identify new functions and interactions between different areas of the human brain, clinical studies, on the other side, have been exploring both its fields of application and the most effective interventions to deal with psychopathology and enhance psychophysical well-being.
The increasingly deeper knowledge about traumas and their effects on the human brain, behaviors, emotions, cognitions and social interactions is not only broadening the horizons of both research studies and clinical studies, but is also highlighting the crucial importance of conceiving the human being as a whole, as the result of the combination between life events, genetic predispositions, temperament, as well as cultural and educational heritage.
At present, trauma-focused clinical interventions have the opportunity to consolidate and validate their effectiveness based on the most recent discoveries in the field of Neuroscience. From the intergenerational transmission of traumatic events described by Epigenetics to the brain modifications induced by repairing therapeutic interventions, the correlation between clinical and research studies is now opening the way to unexplored treatment outcomes, thus increasing the number of possibilities to heal psychopathology.
The ninth edition of the well-known “Attachment and Trauma” Congress – “Attachment and Trauma: Effective Clinical Interventions and Research” – will provide the opportunity to integrate the most innovative aspects characterizing research studies in the field of Neuroscience and the most effective clinical interventions, with the aim of understanding, in a more and more precise way, how traumas can affect the healthy development of both individuals and communities, as well as how to repair traumatic experiences in a deep, long-lasting way.
After two years marked by the difficulties caused by the pandemic, the “Attachment and Trauma” Congress finally returns to Rome: a number of internationally well-known Experts will take the stage of the stunning Auditorium Antonianum, within walking distance of the Colosseum. Their lectures will give a complete and varied overview of both the most advanced neuroscientific research studies and the most effective clinical interventions in the field of trauma therapy and the treatment of attachment disturbances.
The Congress will be live-streamed online as well, so as to allow those who are unable/unwilling to travel to take part in the event while staying at home. The Congress will also be videotaped: recordings will be on sale on ISC website and accessible without time limits.
Besides being an important opportunity for professional development, the ninth edition of the “Attachment and Trauma” Congress will also be a valuable moment to share with other mental health professionals from all over the world: if you are fed up with online courses and feel the need to meet your fellow colleagues in person to have an enriching and engaging learning experience, then join us in Rome!
Friday, September 30th
9.30-11.00 Suzette Boon: “Self-Harm and Suicidal Ideation in Patients with Complex Dissociative Disorders: Attachment, Shame and Dysregulation”
11.15-12.45 Mary Jo Barrett: “The Collaborative Change Model: A Relational Model that Harnesses the Natural Process of Change”
12:45-14:00 Lunch break
14.00-15.30 Diana Fosha: “Stay with It and stay with me: undoing aloneness and the experiential processing of deep relational experience to transform trauma”
15.45-17.15 Roger Solomon (online lecture): “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Traumatic Attachment”
17.15-18.30 Panel discussion and Q&A
Saturday, October 1st
9.30-11.00 Vincenzo Caretti: “Psychosomatic self-regulation psychotherapy”
11.15-12.45 Elizabeth Warner: “Transforming Trauma in Children and Adolescents: An Embodied Approach to Somatic Regulation, Trauma Processing and Attachment-Building”
12:45-14:00 Lunch break
14.00-15.30 Jonathan Baylin: “Relational Reversal Learning: The Neuroscience of Helping Mistrustful Children Learn to Trust Caring People”
15.45-17.15 Skip Rizzo: “Virtual Reality Goes to War: Advances in the Prevention, Assessment and Treatment of Post-traumatic Stress”
17.15-18.30 Panel discussion and Q&A
Sunday, October 2nd
9.30-11.00 Alessandro Carmelita and Marina Cirio: “Beyond the Recovery for Trauma: Mindful Interbeing Mirror Therapy”
11.15-12.45 Ron Siegel: “Mindfulness and Compassion in Trauma Treatment: Fitting the Practice to the Person”
12:45-14:00 Lunch break
14.00-15.30 Christiane Sanderson: “How to Become a Trauma Wise Practitioner when Working with Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse”
15.45-17.15 Deb Dana (online lecture): “Navigating The Quest for Connection: A Polyvagal Guided Approach”
17.15-18.30 Panel discussion and Q&A
If the pandemic situation in the Fall of 2022 did not allow ISC to hold the Congress in person – while respecting all the needed safety measures – the event would take place anyway and would be replaced by a live conference on Zoom.
Suzette A. Boon PhD, 1949, is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist specialized in the treatment of chronic traumatization and dissociative disorders. She translated and validated the Dutch version of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Dissociative Disorders (SCID-D) and received a PhD for her thesis “Multiple Personality Disorder in the Netherlands” in 1993. She has published several books, book chapters and many articles both on diagnosis as well as treatment of dissociative disorders. She has developed a skills training manual for patients with a complex dissociative disorder. The English version of this manual Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation with Kathy Steele, MN, CS and Onno van der Hart PhD has been published in March 2011 (Norton publishers). She has developed a new semi structured interview for complex dissociative disorders and trauma related symptoms: the “Trauma and Dissociation Symptoms Interview (TADS-I) “. A validation study has been started. She is co-author of the recently published book Treating Trauma-Related Dissociation, A Practical, Integrative Approach (Steele, Boon & Van der Hart, 2017) that won the Pierre Janet writing award of ISSTD in 2017. She is currently working as trainer and supervisor in different European countries. She is also working in private practice. She is co-founder of the European Society for Trauma and Dissociation (ESTD) and was the first president of this Society. The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) granted her the David Caul Memorial Award in 1993, the Morton Prince Award in 1994 and the President’s Award of distinction and the status of fellow in 1995 for her contributions to diagnosis, treatment, research and education in the field of dissociative disorders. In 2009 She received the Life Time Achievement Award and in 2011 the Pierre Janet Writing Award for the book Coping with trauma-related Dissociation a skills training for patients and their therapists. In 2017 she received the Pierre Janet Writing Award as second author of the book Treating Trauma-related Dissociation. A practical integrative approach. To get further information, visit her website: www.suzetteboon.com.
SELF-HARM AND SUICIDAL IDEATION IN PATIENTS WITH COMPLEX DISSOCIATIVE DISORDERS: ATTACHMENT, SHAME AND DYSREGULATION
Patients with trauma-related complex dissociative disorders usually suffer from many symptoms including depression and suicidality, both of which may be accompanied by severe self-harming behaviors. These symptoms may be the main presenting problem, with the underlying dissociative disorder often not even identified. They may put the therapeutic relationship under enormous pressure when the therapist feels the need to rescue. This presentation will explore reasons for self-harm and suicidal behavior in such patients, transference and countertransference, and ways to help the client stop these behaviors. Self-harm and suicidality may be related to different factors such as shame, abandonment, despair, a wish to be seen and understood by others, a fear to realize what has actually happened in the past, and/or a way of coping with unbearable feelings. Treatment often includes medication for depression, somatic approaches, as well as cognitive behavioral approaches that are often used to explore and change related negative cognitions. However, the more complex the dissociation of the personality, the less patients may benefit from these techniques, as emotions and cognitions are often “held” by different dissociative parts of the personality and are perceived to be ego-dystonic. Specific interventions, especially those using imagery, will be highlighted, so that treatment of dissociation becomes an integral part of standard of care approaches to serious self-harm and suicidality in traumatized individuals.
Mary Jo Barrett is the Founder of The Center for Contextual Change. She holds a Masters in Social Work from the Jane Addams School of Social Work and has served on the adjunct faculties of The University of Chicago, The Chicago Center for Family Health, and the Family Institute of Northwestern University. Ms. Barrett was the Clinical Director of Midwest Family Resource and has been working in the field of family violence since 1974 beginning with Parents Anonymous. Ms. Barrett’s latest book, Treating Complex Trauma: A Relational Blueprint for Collaboration and Change, was co-authored by Linda Stone Fish. Ms. Barrett has also coauthored two books with Dr. Terry Trepper: Incest: A Multiple Systems Perspective and The Systemic Treatment of Incest: A Therapeutic Handbook. She created the Collaborative Change Model, a contextual model of therapy used to transform the lives of those impacted by abuse and/or traumatic events. Her trainings and published works focus on the teaching of the Collaborative Change Model; Family Therapy and Interpersonal violence Adult Survivors of Abuse and Trauma; Complex Developmental Trauma and Compassion Fatigue. Ms. Barrett founded the Family Dialogue Project, a mediation program which strives to redefine relationships within families that have been impacted by allegations of abuse or differences that appear irreconcilable.
THE COLLABORATIVE CHANGE MODEL: A RELATIONAL MODEL THAT HARNESSES THE NATURAL PROCESS OF CHANGE
No two traumas are identical: the dynamics of interpersonal trauma and violence vary from situation to situation. Yet there are some common variables. One of the key ingredients in complex developmental trauma is that it is embedded within a relationship that should have had healthy protective attachment. The traumatic events result in an experience of betrayal in the attached relationship. This accounts for much of the fight, flight, freeze and submission, difficulties of our clients. And the myriad of difficulties account for the abundance of innovative interventions and treatment approaches that have been developed in recent years. The presentation will present the Collaborative Change Model; a practical three-tiered, cyclical strength-based meta blueprint; CCM is a relational contextual model. The CCM is a blueprint that can be applied to all the models of trauma treatment as it harnesses the universal recursive nature of change. We will explore the repetitive cycles of trauma and will learn the Collaborative Change framework that utilizes the cycles of change when working in any and all treatment modalities.
Diana Fosha, Ph.D. is the developer of AEDP (Accelerated Experiential-Dynamic Psychotherapy), healing-oriented, transformational experiential model of therapy, and Founder and Director of the AEDP Institute. For the last 20 years, Diana has been active in promoting a scientific basis for a healing-oriented, attachment-emotion- and transformation-focused trauma treatment model. Fosha’s work focuses on integrating neuroplasticity, recognition science and developmental dyadic research into experiential and transformational clinical work with patients. Her most recent work focuses on flourishing as a seamless part of the process of transforming emotional suffering. She is the author of The transforming power of affect: A model for accelerated change (Basic Books, 2000); co-author, with Natasha Prenn, of Supervision essentials for Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (APA, 2016); 1st editor, with Daniel Siegel and Marion Solomon, of The healing power of emotion: Affective neuroscience, development & clinical practice (Norton, 2009), and editor of the soon to be released AEDP 2.0: Undoing aloneness and the transformation of suffering into flourishing (APA, in press). Four DVDs of her live AEDP clinical work, including one documenting a complete 6-session treatment, and one on clinical supervision have been issued by the American Psychological Association (APA). Described by psychoanalyst James Grotstein as a “prizefighter of intimacy,” and by David Malan as “the Winnicott of [accelerated experiential] psychotherapy,” Diana Fosha’s writing style is powerful and precise, yet poetic and evocative. Her phrases, —” undoing aloneness,” “existing in the heart and mind of the other,” “stay with it and stay with me,” “rigor without shame” and “True Other” — capture the ethos of AEDP. Many of her papers are available through the AEDP website at www.aedpinstitute.org
STAY WITH IT AND STAY WITH ME: UNDOING ALONENESS AND THE EXPERIENTIAL PROCESSING OF DEEP RELATIONAL EXPERIENCE TO TRANSFORM TRAUMA
Aloneness in the face of overwhelming emotion is the epicenter of traumatic suffering, it is what brings our patients to seek help. Undoing aloneness is key to being able to process the overwhelming emotions of trauma. Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP), one of the fastest growing approaches to working with attachment trauma, has developed rich, creative, systematic interventions for doing precisely that: i.e., undoing the patient’s aloneness and working dyadically to heal emotional suffering. Unlike psychopathology-based models, AEDP roots itself in a transformational change-based theory of therapeutic action. A four-state model of the transformational process, and a descriptive state-specific transformational phenomenology guide moment-to-moment clinical decision making. AEDP methodology has patient and therapist emotionally engaged, closely following the edge of emergent relational and transformational experience, all the while processing trauma. AEDP is fearless in working with the experience of the patient-therapist attachment, moment-to-moment tracking it and processing it rigorously. Crucial to rewiring relational experiences, are AEDP’s relational metaprocessing techniques for systematically processing in-session relational experiences They are used to expand relational capacity, and deepen receptive affective experience of feeling safe, seen, helped, and changed. Using videotaped material from actual psychotherapy sessions, Diana Fosha will demonstrate relational metaprocessing in clinical action with a trauma patient. She will show how to experientially work with in-session relational experience as systematically and as deeply as we do with other kinds of emotional experiences. The goal is to help patients stay with and experience the receptive affective experiences of feeling seen, loved, cared for, and delighted in that emerge from the work. By engaging in relational processing and working directly with felt experiences of attachment and intersubjectivity, the AEDP therapist foster new experiences of the emotion-in-connection that re-wire internal working models, and support the emergence of a vital vibrant and relationally engaged self. Empirical findings from research on the transdiagnostic effectiveness of AEDP based on over 75 therapeutic dyads within AEDP’s worldwide PRN (Practitioner-Researcher Network) will be woven into this presentation.
Roger Solomon is a psychologist specializing in the areas of trauma and grief. He is the Program Director and Senior Faculty with the EMDR Institute and teaches EMDR therapy internationally. He is a consultant with the US Senate, and has provided consultation to law enforcement and government agencies, including the FBI, Secret Service, NASA, US Attorney’s Office, and US Army. In Italy he consults with Polizia di Stato and University of Rome (La Sapienza), and is a visiting professor with Salesian University in Rome. For the past 15 years, he has focused on the utilization of EMDR therapy in the treatment of complex PTSD and trauma related dissociation, as guided by The Theory of Structural Dissociation of the Personality. Dr. Solomon has authored or coauthored 45 articles and book chapters pertaining to EMDR therapy, grief, complex trauma, acute trauma and law enforcement stress.
EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITIZATION AND REPROCESSING (EMDR) AND TRAUMATIC ATTACHMENT (online lecture)
EMDR therapy is an evidence based therapeutic approach for treatment of trauma. The Adaptive Information Processing Model, which guides EMDR therapy posits that present symptoms result from distressing experiences that are maladaptively stored in the brain, unable to be fully processed and integrate within the wider memory network (Shapiro, 1995, 2001, 2018). EMDR therapy is an eight-phase method that involves processing the past memories underlying present problems, present triggers, and installing a future template for adaptive behavior. EMDR can be utilized to not only treat major trauma but also the ubiquitous “seemingly small” but quite impactful memories (e.g. mother’s angry look, asking dad for help but he ignores me). Such memories underlie negative beliefs such as “I am not good enough”, “I’m not loveable”, “I am powerless”, or “I am not safe”.
Disorganized attachment occurs when the caregiver is both the source of safety and terror, and underlies complex PTSD and dissociative disorders (Brown and Elliot, 2018). Not only does the trauma (abuse or neglect) have to be treated, but also the traumatic attachment to the abuser. EMDR can be utilized to treat both the trauma and the traumatic attachment. This workshop will present basic principles of EMDR therapy, and illustrate how traumatic attachment can be treated with clients who have been sexually abused. Video presentations of sessions will illustrate treatment principles.
Vincenzo Caretti is Clinical Psychologist, Psychoanalyst and Professor of Dynamic Psychology at the LUMSA University in Rome. He is also the Director of the Post-Graduate Program in “Clinical Criminology and Forensic Science” at the LUMSA University in Rome, as well as the Director of Forma Mentis, the Specialization School in Integrated Psychodynamic Psychotherapy of the Agostino Gemelli Teaching Hospital in Rome. Furthermore, he is the Director of the Italian Institute of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (IIPP) in Palermo. Over the years, his research studies have been focusing on different subjects: alexithymia, developmental trauma, psychopathic personality, the application of Polyvagal Theory to psychosomatic approaches in Psychotherapy. He is the author of several publications and has standardized various psychometric tests and semi-structured interviews (such as PDSS, ABQ, PDI, PCL-R and HCRv3), which are commonly used for assessment purposes and in the clinical practice.
PSYCHOSOMATIC SELF-REGULATION PSYCHOTHERAPY
Psychosomatic Self-Regulation Psychotherapy is an integrative, body-oriented and trauma-informed therapeutic approach that integrates the dynamic model with the cognitive-behavioral and psychosomatic ones. It aims to heal dysregulated emotions (Mind) and sensations (Body), by promoting mentalization and psychosomatic regulation, in order to increase the patient’s autonomy in the relationship with the Self, as well as in their interpersonal and attachment relationships.
The patient’s emotional dysregulation originates from the unprocessed traumas that they experienced in their primary relationships system. These traumas are then unconsciously perpetrated and lead to the development of behavioral schemas and dysfunctional reflexes – even bodily ones (fight-flight-freeze) – in the patient’s here-and-now, as well as to the coaction to repeat.
Psychosomatic Self-Regulation Psychotherapy aims to transform the patient’s dysfunctional emotional states and the negative feelings they experience in the present moment (self-regulation), by replacing them with more functional ones supporting their wellbeing and the development of new interpersonal skills related to social engagement. All this allows the patient to gradually shift from a closed relational system to an open and safe one. The clinical process of emotional and psychosomatic regulation is a relational process; the latter aims to promote the patient’s growth (body-mind insight) and is mainly based on therapist’s interventions to regulate the patient’s emotional and psychosomatic states while building a therapeutic alliance and repairing ruptures.
Elizabeth Warner is a licensed psychologist with 40 years of experience working with children and families in the full range of mental treatment settings as well as in her private practice. Early in her career, she used innovative treatment methodologies and videotape for process study of autistic and other severely disordered children using The Miller Method. In the last 12 years, her focus has been on development of innovative treatment for children from 1.5 years to 22 years and caregivers whose lives have been impacted by chronic stress and complex trauma. For 10 years, as project director at the Trauma Center at JRI, a center of excellence in trauma treatment, training and research, she oversaw the development of Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART) for outpatient, community-based in-home therapists, therapeutic day school, and residential treatment settings and trained and consulted in the U.S., Canada and Hong Kong. She also constructed two videotape coding systems for studying regulatory processes in SMART treatment. As a founding partner in SMARTMoves LLC, she continues to train and consult to therapists, and is beginning to pilot use of SMART in early intervention with traumatized young parents and their very young children, and with adults. Dr. Warner maintains a private practice for adult psychotherapy and parent consultation in Brookline, Massachusetts. She is co-author of Transforming Trauma in Children and Adolescents: An Embodied Approach to Somatic Regulation, Trauma Processing, and Attachment-Building.
TRANSFORMING TRAUMA IN CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS: AN EMBODIED APPROACH TO SOMATIC REGULATION, TRAUMA PROCESSING AND ATTACHMENT-BUILDING
Children and adolescents with histories of complex developmental trauma challenge the most seasoned trauma therapists, as well as their families, schools, and communities, with their behavioral and affect dysregulation. Sensory integration occupational therapy offered a team of trauma therapists inviting and effective tools for regulation and an alternative lens on the hyperactivity and the shut-down states of the traumatized child. With this new method, and a specially designed room, co- and self-regulation was accelerated within therapy sessions. Then, children and youth, with proper support, spontaneously expressed and processed traumatic experience in both fully embodied and symbolic forms, surprising therapists with the organic way this showed up in a session. Furthermore, the child’s accessibility for social engagement, a sense of connection with the therapist, and ready opportunities for co-creating new rhythms of engagement through sensory motor play facilitated the work of developing a ‘safe enough’ relationship. A case study using videotape of therapy sessions in such a trauma therapy with a young child will illustrate these therapeutic processes. Videotape is an essential tool for the therapist using this model of trauma therapy that relies on regulation through body-based, rather than verbal or symbolic processes. However, it has also provided a form of clinical data that suggests a hypothesis that so-called ‘bottom-up’, or somatic, regulation is the neurobiological precondition for the regulation of behavior, affect, cognition, and a core sense of self.
Dr. Baylin received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 1981. For the past twenty years, while continuing his clinical practice, he has immersed himself in the study of neuroscience and in teaching mental health practitioners about the brain. He has given numerous workshops for mental health professionals on “Putting the Brain in Therapy” and has delivered keynote addresses internationally and nationally at conferences on childhood trauma and attachment. Several years ago, Dr. Baylin began a collaborative relationship with Daniel Hughes, a leader in the field of attachment-focused therapy. Their first book, Brain Based Parenting, was released by Norton Press in 2012. In 2016, their second book, The Neurobiology of Attachment-focused Therapy, was released by Norton. Both books are part of the Norton series on Interpersonal Neurobiology.
Psychologist Skip Rizzo conducts research on the design, development and evaluation of virtual reality (VR) systems targeting the areas of clinical assessment, treatment rehabilitation and resilience. This work spans the domains of psychological, cognitive and motor functioning in both healthy and clinical populations. Rizzo, whose work using virtual reality-based exposure therapy to treat PTSD received the American Psychological Association’s 2010 Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Treatment of Trauma, is the associate director for medical virtual reality at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. He also holds research professor appointments with the USC Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and at the USC Davis School of Gerontology. Rizzo is working with a team that is creating artificially intelligent virtual patients that clinicians can use to practice skills required for challenging clinical interviews and diagnostic assessments. His cognitive work has addressed the use of VR applications to test and train attention, memory, visuospatial abilities and executive function. He is currently designing VR scenarios to address social and vocational interaction in persons with autistic spectrum disorder. Rizzo is currently examining the use of VR applications for training emotional coping skills with the aim of preparing service members for the stresses of combat.
VIRTUAL REALITY GOES TO WAR: ADVANCES IN THE PREVENTION, ASSESSMENT, AND TREATMENT OF POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS
War is perhaps one of the most challenging situations that a human being can experience. The physical, emotional, cognitive and psychological demands of a combat environment place enormous stress on even the best-prepared military personnel. Numerous reports indicate that the incidence of posttraumatic stress (PTS) in returning OEF/OIF military personnel is creating a significant healthcare challenge. This situation has served to motivate research on how to better develop and disseminate evidence-based treatments for PTS and other psychosocial conditions. In this regard, Virtual Reality delivered exposure therapy for PTS is currently being used with initial reports of positive outcomes. This presentation will detail how virtual reality applications are being designed and implemented across various points in the military deployment cycle to prevent, identify and treat combat and sexual trauma-related PTS in OIF/OEF Service Members and Veterans. I will also present recent work being done with artificially intelligent virtual humans that serve in the role as “Virtual Patients” for clinical training of healthcare providers in both military and civilian settings and as online healthcare guides for breaking down barriers to care. The projects in these areas that will be presented have been developed at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies, a U.S. Army University Affiliated Research Center, and will provide a diverse overview of how virtual reality is being used to deliver exposure therapy, assess PTSD and cognitive function, provide stress resilience training prior to deployment and its use in breaking down barriers to care. The talk will conclude with a discussion of how the urgency of war has provided the context and funding for the advancement of these technologies that will soon translate to civilian needs.
Alessandro Carmelita is a Psychologist and a Psychotherapist, as well as a Trainer and Supervisor in Schema Therapy certified by the ISST. After having been trained by some of the most important experts in the field of Psychotherapy and Interpersonal Neurobiology, he has created an innovative therapeutic approach named Mindful Interbeing Mirror Therapy (MIMT) and has developed it together with Marina Cirio. He has traveled around the world to train Psychologists and Psychotherapists in using this revolutionary approach with their clients. Besides this, Dr. Carmelita has conducted 56 editions of the international training program in Schema Therapy and has trained/supervised hundreds of therapists.
Marina Cirio is a Psychologist and a Psychotherapist. She has enriched her professional training with recent contributions in the field of Psychotherapy and Neuroscience. She has developed Mindful Interbeing Mirror Therapy (MIMT) together with Alessandro Carmelita, thus contributing to expand both the clinical implications and the research work on the therapeutic interventions that can be used with different types of patients. After using this innovative approach for years, Dr. Cirio is going to conduct – together with Dr. Carmelita – a new training course in MIMT that will allow many other therapists to learn and understand this new way of relating to clients, which can facilitate a real and profound change.
MINDFUL INTERBEING MIRROR THERAPY: BEYOND THE RECOVERY FROM TRAUMA
The study of human personality has shed light on the undeniable impact that attachment relationships, as well as early traumatic experiences – and the consequent dissociation – have on the construction of the Self. Psychological suffering can be analyzed from two different, but interrelated, perspectives: the level of integration of the Self, on the one side, and the individual’s ability to interact with the external world, on the other side. Starting from this premise, identifying and defining the various parts of the client’s personality – especially if the latter has experienced trauma and starts therapy with severe symptoms – is crucially important. As a matter of fact, Psychotherapy is more and more conceived as a series of interventions aimed at integrating the dissociative parts of the client’s personality, in order to support them building a unified Self. At the same time, the therapeutic relationship plays a central role in the treatment of the dissociation caused by early relational traumas, regardless from their seriousness. Mindful Interbeing Mirror Therapy (MIMT) is a completely innovative therapeutic approach based on the use of a mirror within the therapeutic setting, which is placed in front of both the client and the therapist, thus allowing them to interact through their reflected image. The validity of this unique modality of intervention is supported by its theoretical underpinnings, which include not only the most recent research studies in the field of Neuroscience, but also a series of effective clinical studies. The construction of the Self and the individual’s relational reality – starting from the very beginning of the identity construction process, that is the ability to identify themselves in front of a mirror, to the capacity to acknowledge the other’s emotional states – are two parallel processes characterizing each human being’s development. Therefore, Mirror Therapy can be seen as a unique combination of therapeutic interventions helping the client reconstructing an integrated Self, while at the same time working on the relationship with the other. Over the past five years, Mindful Interbeing Mirror Therapy has been studied in depth and a specific procedure of intervention has been created; additionally, thanks to MIMT, therapists have discovered a new and extremely accelerated way to connect with the client, as well as an effective approach to help the latter integrating their inner parts through a deep, transformative self-compassion. Finally, yet importantly, the theoretical and application aspects emerging from clinical practice offer new opportunities of intervention that Research can keep supporting and validating.
Dr. Ronald D. Siegel is an Assistant Professor of Psychology, part time, at Harvard Medical School, where he has taught for over 35 years. He is a long-time student of mindfulness meditation and serves on the Board of Directors and faculty of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He teaches internationally about the application of mindfulness practice in psychotherapy and other fields, and maintains a private clinical practice in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Dr. Siegel is coeditor of the critically acclaimed text, Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, 2nd Edition; author of a comprehensive guide for general audiences, The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems; coeditor of Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy; coauthor of the professional guide Sitting Together: Essential Skills for Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy; coauthor of the self-treatment guide Back Sense, which integrates Western and Eastern approaches for treating chronic back pain; and professor for The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being produced by The Great Courses. He is also a regular contributor to other professional publications, and is co-director of the annual Harvard Medical School Conference on Meditation and Psychotherapy.
MINDFULNESS AND COMPASSION IN TRAUMA TREATMENT: FITTING THE PRACTICE TO THE PERSON
Mindfulness-based psychotherapy is the most popular new treatment approach in the last decade—and for good reason. Mindfulness and compassion practices hold great promise not only for our own personal development, but also as remarkably powerful tools to augment virtually every form of psychotherapy. They are not, however, one-size-fits-all remedies. Researchers are now differentiating the effects of focused attention, open monitoring, loving-kindness, compassion, and equanimity practices. These practices need to be tailored to fit the needs of particular individuals—and this presentation will show you how. This presentation will explore important clinical decisions to consider when deciding when and if to introduce different practices into treatment of individuals with different needs. Once you understand the components of mindfulness and compassion practices and how they work to alleviate psychological distress, you will be able to creatively adapt them to meet the needs of diverse people and conditions, especially those with unresolved trauma histories. You will learn the contraindications for various techniques, as well as their potential psychotherapeutic benefits.
Christiane Sanderson is a senior lecturer in Psychology at the University of Roehampton. With over 30 years’ experience working with survivors of childhood sexual abuse interpersonal trauma and domestic abuse. She has run consultancy and training for parents, teachers, social workers, nurses, therapists, counsellors, solicitors, the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Committee, the Methodist Church, the Metropolitan Police Service, the NSPCC and the Refugee Council and in prisons. She is the author of several books: Counselling Skills for Working with Shame; Counselling Skills for Working with Trauma: Healing from Child Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse; Introduction of Counselling Survivors of Interpersonal Trauma; Counselling Survivors of Domestic Abuse; Counselling Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (3rd 3 Edition) and The Seduction of Children: Empowering Parents and Teachers to Protect Children from Child Sexual Abuse, all published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, and The Warrior Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence; The Spirit Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Religious Sexual Abuse Across All Faiths; Responding to Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: A pocket guide for professionals, partners, families and friends and Numbing the Pain :A pocket guide for professionals supporting survivors of childhood sexual abuse and addiction, all published by One in Four.
HOW TO BECOME A TRAUMA WISE PRACTITIONER WHEN WORKING WITH SURVIVORS OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE
Survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) are commonly terrified of closeness and intimacy and can be mistrustful of attachment as they strive to protect themselves either through excessive independence and self-reliance, or dependency making it difficult to engage in the therapeutic relationship. This presentation will highlight the factors that inhibit attachment such as the trauma bond, dissociation, shame, and fear of abandonment. The enduring hyper or hypo activation of the attachment systems and concomitant trauma symptoms and relationship difficulties requires practitioners to be more mindful of the impact of trauma on attachment, the developing sense of self and future relationships. In order to become trauma wise practitioners, clinicians will benefit from adopting the Power Threat Meaning Framework and the fundamental principles of Trauma Informed Practice. This will enable clinicians to view the impact of CSA through the lens of trauma and focus on ‘what happened to the child’ rather than ‘what is wrong with the survivor’ allowing them to view symptoms as adaptations to living under prolonged and inescapable threat. The emphasis in this presentation is on how practitioners can use Trauma Informed Practice and the Three Phase Model of Trauma Recovery as a scaffold to support their preferred therapeutic model to manage trauma symptoms and minimize the replication of power and control dynamics and relational inhibitors in the therapeutic relationship to minimize distancing and facilitate connection. Equipped with this, they will be more able to create a respectful, consistent, collaborative, and non-hierarchical therapeutic space in which they will be able to reverse the threat and power dynamics associated with trauma to allow survivors to reconnect to self and others, and restore relational worth.
Deb Dana, LCSW is a clinician and consultant specializing in working with complex trauma and is Coordinator of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium in the Kinsey Institute. She developed the Rhythm of Regulation Clinical Training Series and lectures internationally on ways Polyvagal Theory informs work with trauma survivors. Deb is the author of The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy: Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation and co-edited, with Stephen Porges, Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies. For more information please visit rhythmofregulation.com.
NAVIGATING THE QUEST FOR CONNECTION: A POLYVAGAL GUIDED APPROACH (online lecture)
The autonomic nervous system is at the heart of daily living powerfully shaping our experiences of safety and influencing our capacity for connection. Polyvagal Theory provides a guide to the autonomic circuits that underlie behaviors and beliefs and an understanding of the body to brain pathways that give birth to our personal stories of safety and survival. In this presentation we will use a Polyvagal roadmap to explore ways to listen with curiosity and compassion to emerging autonomic states and answer the essential question, “What does the nervous system need in this moment to find safety in connection?”.
Most presentations are expected to be given by the Presenters in person, except for those that are clearly marked as “online lectures”. Nevertheless, because of travel restrictions and/or other limitations caused by COVID-19, other Presenters may be unable/unwilling to come to Rome and may have to give their presentations online. If that was the case, their lectures would not be pre-recorded; instead they would give them live, via Zoom, so as to be able to interact with the audience as much as possible. Istituto di Scienze Cognitive (ISC) is committed to informing the participants about any variations to the following program as fast as possible.
If the pandemic situation in the Fall of 2022 did not allow ISC to hold the Congress in person – while respecting all the needed safety measures – the event would take place anyway and would be replaced by a live conference on Zoom.
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