Find out more about the Conference Speakers and Presentations.
Conversation Hour with Dan Hughes and Jon Baylin
Conversation Hour with Steve Porges and Deb Dana
Masterclass with Dan Hughes and Jon Baylin
Facilitating Integration of an Emerging Self in Therapy and in Therapeutic Care
When children have experienced relational trauma within their family, their sense of self is likely to be permeated with shame and fear. How else could they make sense of their world other than concluding that they are bad and unlovable and adults bring terror, not safety. Even worse, their sense of self is likely to be fragmented, has gaps, tends to disintegrate from one event to the next. With such a negative and fragile sense of self, it is no wonder that these children are very reluctant to become open and engaged with a new relational world, no matter how affirming and accepting that world is.
We will be presenting how their brains have developed to avoid new relationships and new learning and how deficiencies in their neurological development make it very difficult for them to trust enough to take advantage of relationships being offered by the various professionals and caregivers in their lives. Mistrust leads them to reject those who want to care for them, and when these rejections are intense and frequent, the best caregivers and professionals are at risk of resorting to ‘doing their job’ without the heart needed to make a difference.
We will present the needed psychological and neurological experiences that will enable these children to begin to feel safe, to accept comfort, to awaken to new possibilities of engagement and relating, while revising their sense of self and their sense of other. This is a slow process, a process of inviting reciprocal engagements that reduce the child’s defensiveness and invite him to become engaged, moment to moment, in ways that enable him to discover new meanings—meanings of comfort and joy, healing and thriving.
Along with describing an overview of the psychological and neurological theory and research, the presenters will include stories and videos to facilitate a deeper experience of this process.
Masterclass with Tina Champagne
The Impact of Developmental Trauma on Sensory Integration and Practical Tools Supporting Regulation and Resilience
Sensory approaches are often used with individuals with developmental trauma with the intention of fostering safety, development, self-awareness, and self-regulation as part of the healing process. All of these skills are foundational to the ability to adapt, relate, learn and participate in meaningful roles and activities.
The increased spotlight on sensory supportive approaches, as part of trauma and attachment frameworks, has led to the recognition of the need for additional training in order to offer sensory supportive approaches in a skilled and responsible manner. In order to do so, it is necessary to understand how the nervous system develops, including the overall structure and function of the sensory and motor systems, and the potential impact of developmental trauma.
Further, while many trauma and attachment-related therapeutic approaches emphasize the role of the autonomic nervous system and self-regulation, this is only one part of the nervous system and its overall capacity. Understanding more about the complexity of the nervous system and the impact of developmental trauma enhances the ability to intentionally and more skillfully identify and implement sensory supportive approaches as part of one’s clinical reasoning and practice. Research advancements as well as a variety of practical sensory supportive tools fostering development, regulation, and resilience will be explored.
Masterclass with Bethany Brand
The Finding Solid Ground Program: A Promising Program for Helping Stabilize Highly Dissociative Individuals
Traumatized individuals who struggle with severe dissociation are challenging to treat, yet they are excluded from treatment studies, so little evidence exists about beneficial treatment approaches. The TOP DD Network Study assesses a web-based educational program for traumatized individuals who are highly dissociative that has shown promise. This program, called the Finding Solid Ground program, aims to enhance dissociative individuals’ ability to
- understand, accept, and manage their emotions and trauma-based symptoms; and
- gradually improve their ability to maintain their safety while enhancing self-compassion.
It also aims to teach therapists a conceptualization of these patients’ symptoms and unsafe behaviors, as well as interventions that assist in stabilizing them. In this master class, Dr. Brand will present the Finding Solid Ground program and its model for stabilizing patients. She will review the research that indicates that this program, in conjunction with individual psychotherapy, is associated with reduced symptoms, improved safety, and enhanced emotion regulation. In the afternoon program, Dr. Brand will discuss and demonstrate some of the basic stabilization techniques taught in the program. She will discuss common roadblocks that highly dissociative patients may present including phobic reactions of their emotions, bodies, sensations, and, in some cases, dissociated self-states. Through role plays and discussion, Dr. Brand will demonstrate how to work with severely dissociative clients to gradually help them develop self-understanding and acceptance so they can tolerate feeling, knowing and experiencing disowned aspects of themselves.
- Describe the Finding Solid Ground educational program for dissociative patients
- Discuss the findings of the TOP DD Network study program
- Demonstrate two ways of approaching clients who are resistant to letting go of unsafe behavior
Brand, B.L., McNary, S.W., Myrick, A.C. , Loewenstein, R.J., Classen, C.C., Lanius, R.A., Pain, C. & Putnam, F.W. (2013). A longitudinal, naturalistic study of dissociative disorder patients treated by community clinicians. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, & Policy, 5(4), 301-308. doi: 10.1037/a0027654
Brand, B. L., Myrick, A. C., Loewenstein, R. J., Classen, C. C., Lanius, R., McNary, S. W., Pain, C., & … Putnam, F. W. (2012). A survey of practices and recommended treatment interventions among expert therapists treating patients with dissociative identity disorder and dissociative disorder not otherwise specified. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 4(5), 490-500. doi:10.1037/a0026487
Brand, B.L., Schielke, H., Putnam, K., Putnam, F., & Loewenstein, R.J., Myrick, A., Jepsen, E.K.K., Langeland, W. Steele, K. Classen, C., Lanius, R.A. (2019). An online educational program for individuals with dissociative disorders and their clinicians: One-year and two-year follow-up. Journal of Traumatic Stress. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jts.22370
International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. (2011). Chu, J.A., Dell, P.F., Van der Hart, O., Cardeña, E., Barach, P.M., Somer, E., Loewenstein, R.J., Brand, B., et al. Guidelines for treating dissociative identity disorder in adults, 3rd revision. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 12,115-18. doi: 10.1080/15299732.2011.537248
Masterclass with Deb Dana
Engaging the Rhythm of Regulation: A Polyvagal Guide to Safety and Connection
The autonomic nervous system is the foundation for our lived experience. Guided by Polyvagal Theory, we have a deep appreciation of the ways experience impacts the nervous system and of the processes that lead to healing. A polyvagal guided approach offers strategies to help clients identify and interrupt their familiar patterns of protection and skills to find, and savor, experiences of safety. In this workshop you’ll learn the language of the nervous system as you map your own autonomic pathways, explore practices to reliably return to regulation, and ways to become a regulating resource for others.
Masterclass with Professor Anna Luise Kirkengen and Johanna Lynch
The lived body: Exploring the transformation from complex trauma to complex disease.
This master class will be co-facilitated by Professor Anna Luise Kirkengen and Dr Johanna Lynch. Both are General Practitioners who became researchers in response to the testimonies of traumatic experiences they were encountering in their clinical work. Both clinician researchers have developed an expertise in complex trauma’s impact on the body.
This master class, anchored in authentic sickness histories (shared with permission) and in current neuroscience, will focus on the intersection of lifetime experience and illness. Participants will be asked to interact as we think together about the central questions: How does life experience inform the whole person’s body? How is complex trauma transformed into complex disease presentations?
Along the way, we will discuss the pathways of lived violations as these are inscribed into bodily physiology by means of inflammation, infection and tumour development. We will also consider the limitations of the current biomedical diagnostic approach, typically fragmenting a person’s sickness experience into multiple diagnoses – what the field currently conceptualises as ‘multi-morbidity’, and what almost consistently leads to poly-pharmacy, implying a range of potential threats to health. Overarching these central topics, this workshop will also consider the way that medical theories of causation may actually create barriers to seeing the impact of experience on health.
Come to this workshop ready to participate and learn together as we consider our approach to the person, their history and their body.
Panel of First Nations Thought Leaders
First Nations Ways of Healing Trauma and the Connections with Neuroscience - A Talking Circle
This masterclass is unique combination of leading First Nations practitioners and researchers from around the globe. It is the first time that such a line-up has been assembled. It will be chaired by Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson from Australia.
The speakers include: Helen Milroy (Australia), Cindy Blackstock (Canada), Gavin Morris (Australia), Alayne Hall (New Zealand), Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela (South Africa), Lewis Mehl-Madronna (USA).
In the morning, each speaker will present their insights about traditional cultural ways of healing from trauma. They will explore how their experience of working with First Nations individuals and communities contributes to a much larger narratives about pain, dispossession, colonization, loss, connection and transformation.
In the afternoon, the panel will form a Yarning Circle and reflect on the challenges facing First Nations children, families and communities around the world. This will be a participatory opportunity to collectively discuss and explore shared intent and purpose with delegates.
Connecting Neuroscience and First Nations Ways of Healing Trauma – A Talking Ceremony
Judy Atkinson (Australia)
Steve Porges (USA)
Helen Milroy (Australia)
Ngaire Brown (Australia)
Cindy Blackstock (Canada)
Gavin Morris (Australia)
Alayne Hall (New Zealand)
Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela (South Africa)
Lewis Mehl-Madronna (USA)
Professor Emeritus Colwyn Trevarthen
Musicality of a Body Made for Celebrating Stories of Social Life In Imaginative Dance, and Its Use In Therapy
Walking on two legs leaves the upper body free to share feelings of fear or joy in what we intend to do. Eyes, face, voice and hands make moving stories, which leave traces through millennia in treasures of art and industry. These creative talents are cared for in education and therapy. I was helped to discover the rhythms of language in infancy by Stephen Malloch, an Australian musician who applied computer technology to reveal the vitality forms of proto-conversations and baby songs of mothers with babies. We published a book on Communicative Musicality: Exploring the Basis of Human Companionship.
Developmental Trauma & Sensory Integration: Where Have We Been and Where are We Going?
Over the last two decades, advancements in the understanding of the impact of early childhood trauma on neurophysiology, the emergence of one’s sense of self, and the ability to self-regulate and self-organise has evolved exponentially. In addition, advancements in the conceptualisation of sensory integration and related taxonomies, research and therapeutic approaches, as part of trauma and attachment-focused interventions, has progressed.
This presentation will provide an overview of the history and recent advancements in sensory integration as it relates to developmental trauma, dissociation, relational, and other functional capacities. The value of using sensory supportive approaches when working with individuals with developmental trauma will be explored.
Empowerment and Recovery for Trauma Survivors
Trauma destroys the social systems of care, protection, and meaning that support human life. The essential features of psychological trauma are disempowerment and disconnection from others. The recovery process, therefore, is based on empowerment of the survivor and restoration of relationships. This lecture will describe the principles upon which a collaborative therapeutic alliance may be established and outline a three-staged approach to the treatment of trauma survivors. The complementary roles of bio-behavioral treatments, individual psychotherapy, self-help, and social action will be discussed and illustrated with case examples.
The Famine of the Ancestors: A Fairy Tale of One Family’s Multigenerational Addictions as a Clinical Intervention in Dyadic Therapy.
“She’s dead!” the ten-year old child scowled, her dark eyes squeezed into little angry slits.
“My mother’s dead. She’s dead and your keeping it a secret from me.”
“Perhaps there can be more than one explanation,” I said.
“Well there’s not. She won’t see me cause she knows I’m bad. She knows I keep having to go away to those homes for bad kids.”
This talk will examine the therapeutic effects of telling the whole gory mess of one child’s real-life familial story of addiction and deliverance as a fairy tale.
Listening Through the Lens of Polyvagal Theory: Hearing the Embodied Story
The autonomic nervous system is at the heart of daily living powerfully shaping experiences of safety and influencing the capacity for connection. Polyvagal Theory offers an updated understanding of the autonomic circuits that underlie behaviors and beliefs and a roadmap to help clients move out of adaptive survival responses into the autonomically regulated state of safety that sets the stage for connection. In this talk we’ll explore ways to listen with curiosity and compassion to emerging autonomic states to answer the essential question, “What does my client’s nervous system need in this moment to find safety in connection?”
Evaluation of the Evidence for the Trauma and Fantasy Models of Dissociation
The relationship between trauma and dissociation has been accounted for by two conflicting models. In the Trauma Model of dissociation, dissociation has been conceptualized as a response to traumatic stress and/or severe psychological adversity. In the Fantasy Model of dissociation, theorists argue that dissociative individuals are prone to fantasy and suggestibility, thereby creating false memories of trauma, and that some individuals falsely develop the belief that they have dissociative identity disorder; this is the “Fantasy Model” theory of dissociation. It is important that mental health professionals and researchers understand this debate and can speak knowledgeably about relevant research. Bethany Brand will present an overview of the research related to this debate. Individuals with dissociative identity disorder are not more prone to false memories nor more suggestible than other groups. Overall, dissociation is not highly associated with suggestibility, nor is there evidence of greater inaccuracy of recovered memories of trauma compared to continuously remembered memories. In summary, research shows that that there is strong support for the hypothesis that trauma causes dissociation and complex dissociative disorders.
Brand, B.L., Schielke, H., Putnam, K., Putnam, F., & Loewenstein, R.J., Myrick, A., Jepsen, E.K.K., Langeland, W. Steele, K. Classen, C., Lanius, R.A. (online 2019). An online educational program for individuals with dissociative disorders and their clinicians: One-year and two-year follow-up. Journal of Traumatic Stress. https://doi.org/10.1002/jts.22370
Brand, B. L., Schielke, H. J., & Brams, J. S. (2017a). Assisting the courts in understanding and connecting with experiences of disconnection: Addressing trauma-related dissociation as a forensic psychologist, part I. Psychological Injury and Law, 10, 283-297. doi:10.1007/s12207-017-9304-8
Brand, B. L., Schielke, H. J., Brams, J. S., & DiComo, R. A. (2017b). Assessing trauma-related dissociation in forensic contexts: Addressing trauma-related dissociation as a forensic psychologist, part II. Psychological Injury and Law, 10, 298-312. doi:10.1007/s12207-017-9305-7
Brand, B.L., Dalenberg, C.J., Frewen, P.A., Loewenstein, R.J., Schielke, H.J., Brams, J.S. & Spiegel, D. (2018). Trauma-related dissociation is no fantasy: Addressing the Omissions and Errors in Merckelbach and Patihis. Psychological Injury & Law.11(4), 377-393. doi: 10.1007/s12207-018-9336-8
Brand, B.L., Loewenstein, R.J., & Spiegel, D. (2014). Dispelling myths about dissociative identity disorder treatment: An empirically based approach. Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes, 77(2), 169-189.
Dalenberg, C. (2006). Recovered memory and the Daubert criteria: Recovered memory as professionally tested, peer reviewed, and accepted in the relevant scientific community. Trauma, Violence and Abuse, 7, 274-310. doi:10.1177/1524838006294572
Dalenberg, C. J., Brand, B. L., Gleaves, D. H., Dorahy, M. J., Loewenstein, R. J., Cardeña, E., . . . Spiegel, D. (2012). Evaluation of the evidence for the trauma and fantasy models of dissociation. Psychological Bulletin, 138(3), 550-588. doi:10.1037/a0027447
Lynn, S. J., Lilienfeld, S. O., Merckelbach, H., Giesbrecht, T., McNally, R. J., Loftus, E. F., . . . Malaktaris, A. (2014). The trauma model of dissociation: Inconvenient truths and stubborn fictions. Comment on Dalenberg et al. (2012). Psychological Bulletin, 140(3), 896-910.
Merkelbach, H., & Patihis, L. (2018). Why “trauma-related dissociation” is a misnomer in courts: A critical analysis of Brand et al. (2017a, b). Psychological Injury and Law, 1-7. doi:10.1007/s12207-018-9328-8
Dan Hughes and Jon Baylin
The Emerging Self: Psychological and Neurobiological Origins
In the first year of life, the child’s way of making sense of himself is tightly linked to what it feels like to be in the eyes, voice, and touch of his caregiver. The child exposed to poor care develops a mistrustful stance toward others rather than a sense of basic trust. The infant’s emergent sense of self is fragmented and poorly developed, rooted in feelings of being devalued rather than unconditionally loved and a source of delight to his parents. Recently neuroscientists have learned about a brain circuitry they call the Default Mode Network or DMN, a brain system dedicated to the process of self-relevant thinking. It appears that we may use the DMN for revising our sense of self through integrating experiences that carry “news of a difference”. These experiences, primarily of safe, synchronized, reciprocal relationships facilitate the development of a self that includes a core sense of unconditional worth and ‘loveability’.
Jon Baylin and Dan Hughes will present how attachment-focused therapy, with the consistently compassionate eyes and rhythmic voices of the parent and therapist the child will begin to form new stories of self. By first buffering the child’s defense system, the therapist and parent then help the child to feel safe enough to go into the DMN, to update old memories of self and others and ultimately revise the core story of “who I am” and what I’m worth. Within these stories, the child is able to integrate the many conflictual experiences of his past, reduce his pervasive sense of shame and fear, discover hope, develop resiliency, and begin to thrive.
Professor Judy Atkinson
We Al-li: Fire and Water - Anger and Grief. Indigenous Healing is Communal.
In conversation, Judy Atkinson and Gavin Morris will discuss the deep listening – educaring approach used by them both – “Dadirri – a special quality a unique gift of the Aboriginal people is inner deep listening and quiet still awareness”. They will outline the research methodology which is also an Indigenous Therapeutic or Healing Practice (to know the other first we must know the self). But healing happens in relationships. In the Truth-Telling which was fundamental to their research and subsequent healing work, relationships formed. Judy’s resulted in the establishment of We Al-li – we all. Acknowledging the words of Bernard Narakobi – welcome to the university the ancient timeless university of Melanesia, the Village where courses are offer in living, and in speaking to the concept of the Ancient University, grounded both in Judy’s work in Aboriginal Australia and in Papua New Guinea, and Gavin’s work in Nauiyu – Daly River NT, truth telling can be painful and courageous. More importantly however their separate and interlinking processes opens doors for conversations about the Ancient Universities of Indigenous cultures and healing practices. This is supported by the establishment of the College of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Practices (CATSIHP) within the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA). Their conversation will outline the diverse Indigenous Healing Practices as critical to generational recovery from colonial trauma.
The Comforted and the Uncomforted: a whole person approach to trauma.
Sometimes the language we use around pain can divide and separate us. Our ways of seeing can become fragmented as we try to hold the whole person in mind near their pain. Bringing the findings of her paradigm-changing doctoral research in whole person approaches to distress, Johanna Lynch will outline the new transdisciplinary language of ‘Sense of Safety’. This language, designed for use by clinicians in everyday practice (including general practice), and answers the questions: What do all humans need when we are distressed? How widely do we need to see to be able to understand and respond? and What patterns will help us to discern the next steps?
Spirit Bear's Guide to Reconciliation: Engaging children in social justice
In First Nations cultures, bears often represent family and so it is proper that Spirit Bear, a symbol of children’s reconciliation work, guides us through practical and uplifting strategies to engage children of all diversities in addressing contemporary injustices experienced by Indigenous children. Embedded in approaches that promote love, respect, critical thinking and child agency, we facilitate children’s direct access to elected and judicial decision makers in international and domestic fora. Examples of how children’s advocacy has had a direct impact on Canadian public policy are discussed.
The Neurosomatic Ways We Make Meaning About Our Sense of Self in the World
I believe we typically have misconstrued the nature of meaning and the processes making meaning in deep ways that limit our understanding of how humans function. Based on my research on infant development and how infants and young children make meaning of themselves in the world I will discuss meaning making as a neurosomatic biopsychological process in which different systems (epigenetic, genetic, autonomic, HPA) make different kinds of meaning. The talk will be illustrated with data and video tapes from my laboratory.
The Emergence of a Polyvagal-Informed Therapy: How Music and Voice Contribute to Healing Following Trauma
This presentation will focus on how Polyvagal Theory provides a plausible model to explain how and why music and prosodic vocalizations can help support physical and mental health and enhance function during the compromised states that follow trauma. The Polyvagal Theory provides a strategy to understand the neural mechanisms that enable listening to music and prosodic vocalizations to improve social engagement behaviors and to enhance the regulation of bodily and behavioral state. Polyvagal Theory enables the deconstruction of therapies that involve ‘listening’ into two components: 1) social engagement through the interpersonal relationship between therapist and client to promote feelings of safety and trust, and 2) the acoustic features of context (background sounds), vocalizations, and music that can trigger a physiological state supporting trust and feeling safe that can be used in the therapeutic setting. The Safe and Sound Protocol will be described as an example of an intervention that incorporates these two components.
Emeritus Professor Colwyn Trevarthen (UK)
Care For Loneliness and Recovery of Belonging: Overcoming Shame In Joyful Pride Shared With a Kind Companion
I illustrate a psychobiology and brain science of the human spirit as ‘a conscience that cares’. We come to life as an embryo shaped for intimate companionship aware of others’ awareness. All we learn as the tools and beliefs of our culture are conceived as stories for a life invented in affectionate projects of dreaming in company, loss or abuse of which is sad and painful. It requires deliberate kindness by a person we admire, sharing an active conscience that has faith in recovery of prideful adventure. I take advice of therapists who practice responsive care in relationship.
Concurrent Paper Presentations
Concurrent Paper Presentations
Women and Trauma – A Special Closing Panel
Facilitator: Janise Mitchell, Australian Childhood Foundation
Panel: Sue Carter, Helen Milroy, Christine Courtois, Bethany Brand, Marilyn Davillier, Deb Dana, Ruth Lanius, Cindy Blackstock, Tina Champagne, Johanna Lynch
Conference Networking and Poster Presentation Evening
Paul Gilbert (UK)
Compassion and its evolutionary origins
Compassion has its roots in the evolution of humanity. It serves functions and purpose of relationships and collective acts of meaning making. In the opening plenary, I explore how compassion is a deep and rich resource to our work and how it has been incorporated into standard psychotherapies within compassion focused therapy, especially as it relates to trauma.
Tracy Westerman (Australia)
The origins and development of compassion focused therapy.
How does compassion emerge from mammalian caring behaviour? How does mammalian caring behaviour become compassion when directed by new brain competencies? I will look at how compassion has to partly regulate other motivational system such as competitiveness. I will explore the role of attachment theory in understanding the functions and forms of the compassionate mind.
Empowerment and Recovery for Trauma Survivors
Trauma destroys the social systems of care, protection, and meaning that support human life. The essential features of psychological trauma are disempowerment and disconnection from others. The recovery process, therefore, is based on empowerment of the survivor and restoration of relationships.
This lecture will describe the principles upon which a collaborative therapeutic alliance may be established and outline a three-staged approach to the treatment of trauma survivors. The complementary roles of bio-behavioral treatments, individual psychotherapy, self-help, and social action will be discussed and illustrated with case examples
The Messy Process of Engagement With Others and Its Positive Effects
I will argue that the meaning made by infants and adults is made up of multiple forms of meaning that are at best messily put together into a more or less coherent sense of themselves – what I call a state of consciousness. Moreover, that a primary way that meanings get made or changed is when individuals and others – parents and children, interventionist and client – bring together their individual states of consciousness to form dyadic states of consciousness. It will be illustrated with video tapes of infants engaging with objects and people, including the still-face in young infants and toddlers, and recent studies of stress and memory. This presentation aims to
– understand how infants are makers of meaning about themselves in relation to the world in typical and pathological settings;
– identify different levels of processes – emotions and physiology – that make meaning for the infant and child;
– understand how multiple meaning levels suggest changes in conceptualizations of transference and state of the patient and therapist.
“Attach Here”: Examining the role of attachment in the etiology and treatment of sexual behavior problems.
Neurodevelopmental research has highlighted the important role that early attachment experiences play in facilitating neurological and emotional health. Attachment disruptions can contribute to a range of developmental and behavioral difficulties including sexual behavior problems. This talk examines the central role that individual experiences of attachment relationships can play in understanding and treating sexual behavior problems. We will also discuss an approach to addressing attachment issues from a developmental context that seeks to enhance specific attachment related skills and promote resiliency.
Adjunct Professor Tracy Westerman
Details to be confirmed.
Traumatic Dissociation, Emotion Dysregulation, and the Loss of Self: Toward a Pathway of Recovery
Four dimensions of consciousness, time, thought, body, and emotion often show drastic alteration as the result of traumatic experience. Although these alterations in consciousness may be adaptive during traumatic events, when sustained following traumatic exposure, tremendous hardship may occur. How do we recognize such trauma-related alterations in consciousness? What predicts the occurrence of altered states of consciousness? Does the emergence of the self arise through the integrated experience of these four dimensions of consciousness? This lecture will describe how we can intervene effectively to overcome such altered states of consciousness and how are those changes are represented in mind, brain, and body.
Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders in Adults: Scientific Foundations and Therapeutic Models
Complex trauma is the result of repetitive and layered forms of attachment trauma and childhood abuse, along with other forms of prolonged and repetitive trauma often in conditions of entrapment. The aftereffects are themselves complex and span the neurobiological/somatic, psychological, interpersonal, and spiritual and extend beyond the symptoms of classic PTSD. This keynote will first provide an overview of aftereffects, with emphasis on the neurobiological and dissociative. The new freestanding diagnosis of Complex PTSD now included in the World Health Organization International Classification of Disorders and will be described.
We will review several newly developed sets of Clinical Practice Guidelines for the treatment of PTSD (American Psychological Association, Australia Phoenix, International Society for the Traumatic Stress Studies, and US Department of Defense/Veteran Affairs) based on the systematic review and evaluation of available research. The applicability of their recommendations to the treatment of complex trauma/CPTSD is currently the subject of heated debate. This keynote will provide information about dimensions of this debate and how the recommendations can be incorporated into the treatment of CPTSD. We will also discuss recently developed Professional Practice Guidelines for the treatment of complex traumatic stress disorders (American Psychological Association Division 56/International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, Australian Blue Knot Foundation, International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies, United Kingdom), that are more broadly based on research findings, authoritative clinical writing, and preferences and values of clients. These documents and the presenter’s recently published revision of her 2009 book on complex trauma will provide the foundation for a newly developed integrative, transtheoretical treatment model for complex trauma which will be provided.
– Attendees will be able to identify several dimensions of complex trauma.
– Attendees will be able to describe three aftereffects of complex trauma.
– Attendees will be able to identify 3 criteria of the ICD diagnosis of CPTSD.
– Attendees will be able to identify 1 set of Clinical Practice Guidelines for PTSD and 1 set of Professional Practice Guidelines for CPTSD.
Love as Embodied Medicine
Humans are on the threshold of novel insights into the origins of the magnificent obsession we call “love.” It is well established that healthy relationships can protect against disease and restore the body in the face of illness. Without positive relationships, especially in early life, humans fail to flourish, even if all of their basic biological needs are met. “Love lost” is one of the most powerful forms of stress and trauma. However, the mechanisms through which love protects and heals are only now becoming apparent. Love is most easily understood through the lens of our evolutionary past and in light of our contemporary physiology. At the epicenter of this story is a mammalian hormone, oxytocin, and an even more ancient molecule, known as vasopressin. These biochemical building blocks of love are not unique to humans and are shared with other highly social species. Through the study of social behavior in other mammals, we are also learning that the same physiology that lies behind the healing power of love, reduces inflammation, regulates the autonomic nervous system, the immune system, and even regulates the microbiome. Furthermore, the oxytocin-vasopressin system is regulated by experience across the lifespan, helping to explain the lasting physical consequences of both love and adversity. By examining the biology of social bonds and parenting, we are uncovering pathways that allow humans to experience and embody love.
Conference Closing Plenary with Dr Dan Siegel
In this keynote address we will explore the consilient findings of interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB) and how current empirical research can be synthesized in understanding the impact of trauma on the mind, the embodied brain, and relationships and how psychotherapy can harness these insights to enhance psychotherapeutic interventions. Recent findings in the field of neuroscience can be combined with our understanding of consciousness, cognition, and culture to see how the lack of belonging in various forms of developmental trauma—from abuse to neglect—involve the isolation of the individual from a sense of connection with others. The lack of trust in such a relational field of disconnection can be exacerbated by what researchers call a violation of “epistemic trust,” the ways we turn to our attachment figures to rely on the nature of what is real and true. The research on the impacts of such developmental assaults on secure attachment reveal impediments to the growth of the brain’s interconnectedness—as see in effects on the hippocampus, the corpus callosum, the prefrontal cortex, and the connectome. Each of these integrative neural systems, while impaired in trauma, can also be healed and stimulated to grow with interventions such as mind training that involves the focus of attention, the opening of awareness, and the cultivation of compassion and kindness. The keynote will explore each of these aspects of relational and neural integration at the heart of healing.
Masterclass with Paul Gilbert
Using compassion to transform trauma.
This Masterclass will introduce people to the core concepts of compassion focused therapy including its origins. It will outline the evolutionary and physiological mechanisms of how compassion influences our bodies and brains work. We will then look at how we build a compassionate mind and how we can use our compassionate mind to address problems such as self-criticism and trauma.
Masterclass with Dan Siegel
Trauma and the Adolescent Brain
The adolescent brain changes in ways that surprised scientists and clinicians alike, going through a period of massive remodeling that involves pruning down existing connections and then laying down myelin to enhance the interconnectivity of remaining networks. The ESSENCE of the changes during this important period of adolescent brain development include an Emotional Spark, Social Engagement, Novelty-seeking, and Creative Exploration. In this workshop we will explore each of these four aspects of this important period of life, the transition from childhood dependency to adult interdependency. Each of these domains has a reason for existing, a downside of vulnerability, and an upside of opportunity. When trauma is added to the individual’s early life history, or to ongoing life experiences, unique challenges exist in their development and in their treatment. We will explore the nature of neuroplasticity and the ultimate “goal” of adolescent brain development being neural integration—the linkage of differentiated regions. Differentiation is enhanced with pruning, and linkage is cultivated with myelin formation. When integration is compromised by early developmental trauma of abuse or neglect, the important pruning that arises may lead to the exposure of excessively reduced regions of regulation making this period one of increased vulnerability for the traumatized youth. Therapeutic considerations and strategies will be explored with these new understandings of trauma and adolescent brain development.
Masterclass with Kevin Creeden
Can We Teach These Kids to Dance: A Developmental Treatment Approach to Understanding and Treating Problematic Sexual Behavior in Youth
Children and adolescents with histories of trauma and attachment difficulties often present as the most challenging cases within the social service, mental health, and educational systems. Many of these youth have problems effectively meeting the demands of their daily lives, experiencing crisis in their homes, failure in their classrooms and disruptions in the community. Frequently, service providers and educators try to address the symptoms and behavioral issues these youth present without a context for understanding the kind of obstacles and triggers the child may be struggling to manage.
Research has shown a connection between early trauma experiences, attachment difficulties and disrupted neurological development in children. The effect of these early developmental experiences can have a significant impact on specific brain functions such as emotional and behavioral regulation, language processing, and adaptive decision-making. Given that many of the youth that we treat come from backgrounds with histories of abuse, neglect, and/or family dysfunction; this research is particularly pertinent to not only how we understand sexually problematic behavior in youth but also how we come to view treatment goals and interventions.
This training looks at the connections between adverse childhood events and problematic sexual behavior from a developmental perspective. We will present a treatment approach that seeks to integrate the brain based research on trauma and attachment and our understanding of “healthy” childhood development with an emphasis placed on interventions that help the child achieve developmental progress rather than those that “solely” look to find a means for stopping negative behavior.
Masterclass with Ruth Lanius
Healing the Traumatized Self: Overcoming Challenges in Trauma Treatment
This workshop will discuss treatment challenges frequently encountered in trauma assessment and treatment from a clinical and neurobiological perspective. Practical strategies on how to deal with these difficulties will be outlined throughout the seminar through clinical case examples and role plays.
Integrative therapeutic interventions aimed at restoring the self through resolution of key symptoms (dissociative flashbacks, dissociative voice hearing, out-of-body experiences, fragmentation of the self, self-mutilation, affect dysregulation, including high intensity emotional states, positive affect intolerance, and emotional numbing) will be described and demonstrated through role plays.
Moreover, treatment approaches focusing on re-establishing interpersonal functioning and preventing the inter-generational transmission of trauma will be reviewed. Finally, effective means of preventing vicarious traumatization in therapists will be identified.
Masterclass with Adjunct Professor Tracy Westerman
Details to be confirmed.
Masterclass with Christine Courtois
Treating Complex Trauma with Complex and Integrated Treatment: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach
This workshop will be in follow-up to the keynote presentation on Complex PTSD. Complex posttraumatic conditions develop in the aftermath of chronic cumulative trauma, particularly severe child abuse and neglect. It can also develop over the course of adulthood in response to other types of trauma.
The objective of this workshop is to provide clinicians with an increased understanding of the various recommendation s for treatment of these conditions, drawing upon recent clinical writings and empirical findings. The literature on treatment will be reviewed and the recommended sequence of treatment with associated hierarchical tasks will be articulated.
Treatment customization according to client characteristics and preferences and the client’s stage of change and motivation will be discussed. The importance and significance of the therapeutic relationship to the treatment of victims of interpersonal trauma will be stressed; transference and countertransference and vicarious trauma issues will be interwoven throughout the presentation.
- Attendees will be able to identify the aftereffects of chronic cumulative trauma (particularly during childhood) as a complex posttraumatic condition and will be able to identify the criteria of this condition.
- Attendees will gain an understanding of the sequencing of treatment for complex posttraumatic conditions.
- Attendees will be able to identify a variety of treatment strategies and techniques for complex posttraumatic conditions.
- Attendees will gain an understanding of some of the major transference and counter-transference issues in treating these conditions and the need for attention to self-care.
Highlights from Past Conferences
A Highlight Reel of Quotes, Speakers and Entertainment
The 2018 International Childhood Trauma Conference was the biggest held so far. Featuring 18 International speakers, more than 250 papers presented and 297 hours of programmed content.
Building on the success of the 2014 event, the 2016 Conference was an exciting week showcasing the latest in the trauma field. You can watch the 2016 highlights here.