Advanced Workshop: Living in a Fog: Dissociation, Complex Trauma and PTSD A one-day seminar with Christiane Sanderson London, 5 July 2019 (Friday) 10:00am - 4:00pm
Dissociation is a highly adaptive survival strategy, especially in the presence of systematic and prolonged trauma, characteristic of child sexual abuse (CSA) and / or domestic violence. In the presence of repeated traumatic experiences in which there is no escape, dissociation becomes the default setting, making it hard to remain present in the body. As a result, many survivors of CSA, rape and domestic abuse numb all affect, disconnect from or delete their body and retreat into their head. This can lead to a range of symptoms which are currently subsumed under subtype Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with Prominent Dissociative Symptoms. To fully understand the role of dissociation in complex trauma, it is essential to understand the psychobiological mechanisms that underpin peritraumatic dissociation through the release of a cascade of neurochemicals and the disruption in the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity and perception; which are the core features of secondary dissociation and structural dissociation. We also need to comprehend how these produce dissociative states and symptoms seen in: Dissociative Disorders Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (DDNOS) and Other Specified Dissociative Disorder (OSDD) Many survivors do not initially present with dissociative states or are not aware of the signs or symptoms of dissociation, making it imperative that clinicians are able to link client experiences of ‘living in a fog’, ‘wading through mud’, ‘sieve like memory’ and ‘feeling as through someone else is in control’ as dissociative states. At this practical and unique seminar which would be relevant for psychotherapists, counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists, across modalities, Christiane draws on her extensive clinical experience to examine the complex nature of dissociation, its origins, its functions and its long-term effects, to explain how we can: Identify clues to dissociation such as distortions in time, perception and memory, changes in verbal and non-verbal communication, bodily sensations and cognitive processing, as well as depersonalisation and derealisation – with a view to helping survivors understand the symptoms of dissociation and how these can be managed more effectively Be aware of our own capacity for dissociation when bearing witness to traumatic experiences and how to ensure that we remain present and embodied, especially when faced with a deep sense of somatic countertransference or somatic empathy Comprehend what dissociation looks like in practice and how we can translate survivors’ reports of their experiencing of the world into clinical formulation of dissociation - and how this can best be managed in the therapeutic setting Work therapeutically with structural dissociation, including parts work Overall, the aim is to facilitate reconnection of mind, body and brain and integration of disavowed parts, to restore presence and embodiment in both client and therapist.
About the speaker Christiane Sanderson BSc, MSc. is a senior lecturer in Psychology at the University of Roehampton, of London with 26 years of experience working with survivors of childhood sexual abuse and sexual violence. She has delivered consultancy, continuous professional development and professional training for parents, teachers, social workers, nurses, therapists, counsellors, solicitors, the NSPCC, the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Committee, the Methodist Church, the Metropolitan Police Service, SOLACE, the Refugee Council, Birmingham City Council Youth Offending Team, and HMP Bronzefield. She is the author of Counselling Skills for Working with Shame, Counselling Skills for Working with Trauma: Healing from Child Sexual Abuse, Sexual Violence and Domestic Abuse, Counselling Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, 3rd edition, Counselling Survivors of Domestic Abuse, The Seduction of Children: Empowering Parents and Teachers to Protect Children from Child Sexual Abuse, and Introduction to Counselling Survivors of Interpersonal Trauma, all published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. She has also written The Warrior Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Sexual Violence; The Spirit Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Religious Sexual Abuse Across All Faiths and Responding to Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse: A pocket guide for professionals, partners, families and friends for the charity One in Four for whom she is a trustee.

Continuing professional development through seminars, workshops and conferences for psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists.