Dr Janina Fisher: Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Self-Alienation. 23
Childhood abuse necessitates self-alienation: we must disown that 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 be feel safe and welcome, traumatized individuals find themselves in conflict: alternating between clinging and pushing others away, 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 workshop offers a practical “hand’s on” approach to traumatized clients with underlying issues of 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 ‘hero’s’ in the individual’s story 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 the sense of caring, and that pave the way for growing “earned secure attachment” to ourselves. 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.
To identify signs and symptoms of fragmentation and internal conflict
To facilitate mindful tracking of fragmented parts of the self
To decrease client phobias of emotion and inner experience by increasing mindfulness-based dual awareness
To utilize somatic interventions for regulating autonomic arousal and affect dysregulation to calm the body
To integrate interpersonal neurobiology and social engagement techniques into the treatment
To increase self-compassion through growing empathy for wounded child parts
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