Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Self-Alienation

November 9th and 10th, 2017
The Brattleboro Retreat
8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
Brattleboro, Vermont

Janina Fisher, PhD

What attendees said about Dr. Fisher's 2015 presentation on "Transforming Trauma-Related Shame and Self-Loathing":

• Janina’s presentation continues to be top notch, clear, effective, easy to follow and full of immediate, ready to use strategies that we can take back to our practice.  

• Loved the organization and structure.   Great use of breaks; the calming and empathetic voice of presenter throughout was great.   Great use of humor when speaking about painful topics.  

• I was really impressed overall, but perhaps most particularly with the presenter's ability to establish immediate rapport with the audience.   Very responsive to questions.

• Her passion for the subject was infectious.  

• Janina does a great job of making more difficult material and concepts accessible.  

Click here to Register

Course Description 

Alienation from self in the context of abusive or dysfunctional parenting is a survival strategy that maintains children’s attachment to caregivers by disowning themselves as “bad” or “unlovable.”   This deeply painful failure of self-acceptance results in lifelong shame and self-loathing, difficulty self-soothing, and complications in relationships with others.  Without internal compassion and a sense of worth, it is difficult to take in the compassion and acceptance of others.
To overcome this alienation from self, therapy must focus on cultivating clients’ ability to observe painful emotions as signs of their disowned selves and disowned experience.  When clients discover their trauma-related, structurally dissociated younger selves and bring them “home,” they spontaneously begin to feel an internal sense of warmth and safety that changes their internal experience.  In this workshop, using strategies inspired by Structural Dissociation theory, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and Internal Family Systems, we will explore the therapeutic power of fostering internal secure attachment to clients’ most deeply disowned selves.

Learning objectives
At the end of this conference, participants will be able to:

• Describe the relationship between early attachment failure or trauma and alienation from self
• Explain the structural dissociation model and its applications with clients
• Identify at least two signs of disowned parts in clients
• Interpret internal struggles or conflicts as manifestations of parts
• Utilize ‘parts’ language to help clients mindfully study their actions and reactions
• Discriminate parts that communicate via distressing emotions
• Identify parts that sabotage self-compassion or self-acceptance
• Apply new skills for internal dialogue and negotiation
• Re-contextualize self-destructive behavior as a manifestation of parts driven by animal defenses
• Describe interventions that create an increased somatic sense of connection or attachment to the body or self
• Utilize visualization techniques that foster self- and part-soothing
•Incorporate an ‘earned secure attachment’ as the outcome of attachment bonding between adult and child selves

Janina Fisher, PhD, is an instructor at the Trauma Center founded by Bessel van der Kolk. MD. She is also past president the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation, an EMDR International Association Credit Provider, a faculty member of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and a former Instructor, Harvard Medical School. Her latest book, Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors, was just published in March.