Childhood abuse necessitates self-alienation: we must disown the humiliating ‘bad child’ and work harder to be the ‘good child’, acceptable to our attachment figures. In the end, we survive trauma at the cost of disowning and dissociating from our most wounded selves. While longing to feel safe and welcome, traumatized individuals find themselves in conflict: alternating between clinging and pushing others away, experiencing self-hatred or hostility toward others, yearning to be seen yet yearning to be invisible. Years later, these clients present in therapy with symptoms of anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, diagnoses of bipolar and borderline personality disorder, and a distorted or absent sense of identity.
This two-day training workshop offers a practical, hands on approach to working with traumatized clients who experience self-alienation and self-hatred, by helping them to recognize how the trauma has left them fragmented and at war within their own minds and bodies. Participants will learn how to help their clients observe the parts they have embraced and identified with as ‘me’ as well as the trauma-related parts they have disowned and judged harshly. Using interventions drawn from a number of therapeutic approaches (including Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems, and Ego State Therapy), the focus is on helping clients observe and accept all aspects of the self with mindfulness-based interest and curiosity. As their young parts are identified and understood as ‘heroes’ in their own individual stories of survival, clients are able to feel more warmly toward them, often for the first time.
Techniques will be demonstrated that increase the capacity to feel for, and with, each part; that foster a sense of caring, and that pave the way for growing ‘earned secure attachment’. Even when our clients are unable to tolerate emotion, extend themselves compassion, or take in someone else’s caring, they can still learn to feel protective of their younger selves and even to welcome home these ‘lost souls’ with warmth and self-compassion.
Continuing professional development through seminars, workshops and conferences for psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists.