VIDEO ABOUT THE ATTACHMENT AND TRAUMA CONGRESS 2018 IN LONDON
SPEAKERS AND ABSTRACTS
Stephen Porges (United States of America)
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) the interpersonal relationship between therapist and client that promote feelings of safety and trust, and 2) the acoustic features of vocalizations and music being used in the therapeutic setting. The Safe and Sound Protocol will be described as an example of an intervention that incorporates these two components.
Onno van der Hart (Holland)
Severe attachment trauma manifesting in complex dissociation: How to understand and relate therapeutically to the dissociative parts of the personality
Clients who have been chronically traumatized by their care-givers in childhood are, as a rule, caught in a double bind: They experience a severe approach-avoidance conflict toward care-givers, which, has been regarded as disorganized/disoriented attachment (D-attachment). This unsoluble conflict has been described in terms of the simultaneous or sequential activation of the attachment (action or motivational) system and the defense action system, with unsuccessful flight, fight, freeze or (total) submission action tendencies. Chronic traumatic experiences (“breaking-points”) involve ever more complex dissociation of the personality, that is, the development of more dissociative parts of the personality, each with its own sense of self and first-person perspective. In severe attachment trauma, this includes, on the one hand, dissociative parts stuck in respectively idealization of the abusers and in identification with them; and, on the other hand, in dissociative parts fixated in the attachment cry and other unsuccessful defensive actions. In many survivors with dissociative identity disorder, an often reported basic pathogenic pattern in families is a primary caregiver’s failure to provide the young child with emotional (and sometimes also physical) care, and a secondary caregiver’s abuse (emotionally, physically, sexually) of the child and who intermittedly acts in ways which are attractive to the child. This pattern is re-enacted in the dynamics of the parts that together constitute the child and adult survivor’s dissociative personality. Based on these understandings, in this presentation a therapeutic approach is outlined which validates all dissociative parts’ functions for survival and helps them to collaborate in the integration of traumatci memories.
Alessandro Carmelita (Italy)
Mindful Interbeing Mirror Therapy: Beyond the Recovery from Trauma
Marina Cirio (Italy)
Mindful Interbeing Mirror Therapy: Beyond the Recovery from Trauma
The study of human personality has shed light on the undeniable impact that attachment relationships, as well as early traumatic experiences – and the consequent dissociation – have on the construction of the Self. Psychological suffering can be analysed from two different, but interrelated, perspectives: the level of integration of the Self, on the one side, and the individual’s ability to interact with the external world, on the other side. Starting from this premise, identifying and defining the various parts of the client’s personality –especially if the latter has experienced trauma and starts therapy with severe symptoms –is crucially important.
As a matter of fact, Psychotherapy is more and more conceived as a series of interventions aimed at integrating the dissociative parts of the client’s personality, in order to support them building a unified Self. At the same time, the therapeutic rela-tionship plays a central role in the treatment of the dissociation caused by early relational traumas, regardless from their seriousness.
Mindful Interbeing Mirror Therapy (MIMT) is a completely innovative therapeutic approach based on the use of a mirror within the therapeutic setting, which is placed in front of both the client and the therapist, thus allowing them to interact through their reflected image. The validity of this unique modality of intervention is supported by its theoretical underpin-nings, which include not only the most recent research studies in the field of Neuroscien-ce, but also a series of effective clinical studies.
The construction of the Self and the individual’s relational reality – starting from the very beginning of the identity construction process, that is the ability to identify themselves in front of a mirror, to the capacity to acknowledge the other’s emotional states – are two parallel processes characterising each human being’s development.
Therefore, Mirror Therapy can be seen as a unique combination of therapeutic interventions helping the client reconstructing an integrated Self, while at the same time working on the relationship with the other.
Over the past five years, Mindful Interbeing Mirror Therapy has been studied in depth and a specific procedure of intervention has been created; additionally, thanks to MIMT, therapists have discovered a new and extremely accelerated way to connect with the client, as well as an effective approach to help the latter integrating their inner parts through a deep, transformative self-compassion.
Finally yet importantly, the theoretical and applica-tion aspects emerging from clinical practice offer new opportunities of intervention that Research can keep supporting and validating.
Orit Badouk Epstein (United Kingdom)
The “Unjointed” Self – From Proximity Seeking to Relationship Seeking: moving Towards Unity and Coherence. Working with a client with complex trauma from an attachment perspective.
Mary Main and Judith Solomon (1986) first identified fear in the face of attachment needs and described it as the (D)Disorganised Attachment Style. The research findings have given us a new lens into the way we see human behaviour that is evident in many of our traumatised clients. The child’s needs for both protection and autonomy are universal and has been at the heart of object relation and attachment theory. It is there where co-relatedness matters and a developed sense of self are most involved. This presentation will discuss a client who suffered extensive abuse resulting in the colonisation of her body and mind and fragmentation of the self. Her attachment to her “scaregiver” (Badouk Epstein,2015) was “cannot be classified” and was diagnosed with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). The client’s regular suicidal ideation, self-harm, eating disorders and sexual addiction were the client’s attachment cries and a response to a diminished self. The relational journey we embarked upon gradually enabled the client to move on to a place of better functioning and self-regulation allowing her slowly to develop the coherence needed for the emancipation of her imprisoned body and mind
Bruce Ecker (United States of America)
Complex attachment trauma meets memory reconsolidation:
Facilitating the brain’s process of unlearning for transformational change
In this presentation, video of therapy sessions will show how the emotional learnings created by severe attachment trauma can undergo profound unlearning through memory reconsolidation, thoroughly eliminating extreme post-traumatic symptoms and their underlying traumatic memory reactivation, a transformational change.
Memory reconsolidation is the brain’s innate process for directly revising existing learnings down to their neural encoding. How that process works has been the focus of laboratory studies by neuroscientists during the last two decades. It is a process of experience-driven neurological change. Translation of the research findings into therapeutic methodology has been the presenter’s main work since 2006.
The presentation will equip attendees with a clear map of the steps of process required by the brain for inducing reconsolidation and transformational change, as well as a vivid demonstration of those steps applied to severe complex attachment trauma. The emotional depth and empathetic quality of the facilitation will be strongly apparent. A fundamental distinction will be made between transformational change, which eliminates the very existence of the target learning and the possibility of relapse, and counteractive change, which builds up positive resources that compete against but do not actually replace the target learning, allowing relapse.
This therapeutic methodology of reconsolidation is based entirely on empirical, trans-theoretical knowledge of the brain’s process of unlearning. The key steps are defined as internal experiences, not external procedures, so therapists are free to use any suitable experiential techniques to facilitate this process. For example, the steps have been detected in many different therapy systems’ published cases of transformational change, which suggests that these critical steps may be universal common factors that can serve as a framework of psychotherapy unification. This process represents a significant confirmation and sharpening of the corrective experience paradigm and a serious challenge to non-specific common factors theory.
Marco Iacoboni (United States of America)
What we talk about when we talk about bottom up and top down brain processes? Like a thought that is also a feeling
The discovery of mirror neurons has generated much interest well beyond the neurosciences in the last 25 years. Neural mirroring is typically conceived as a mechanism for experience sharing and empathy. It is also generally seen as a ‘bottom up’ pre-reflective and fairly automatic process, in contrast with ‘top down’ mechanisms of cognitive control that, while more effortful, are also more flexible and adaptive. This dichotomous framework maps well onto the division of ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ human thinking that psychological studies of decision making have recently proposed. However, a ‘view from the brain’ suggests that – while these divisions have served an important historical role in advancing our conceptual grasp of complex phenomena – at this point they may get in the way of a deeper understanding of human social cognition. In this talk I will discuss recent studies from my lab that suggest that what we call ‘bottom up’ and ‘top down’ processes are actually woven into an integrated processing stream of cognition and sociality that calls for a new theoretical framework moving away from the old dichotomy.
Ruth Lanius (Canada)
Healing the Traumatized Self: How to Manage Complex Clinical Situations in Trauma Treatment
This lecture will discuss complex clinical situations that regularly arise during trauma treatment. Integrative therapeutic interventions aimed at restoring the self through resolution of key symptoms, including dissociative flashbacks, tonic immobility, dissociative voice hearing, out-of-body experiences, fragmentation of the self, self-mutilation, affect dysregulation (high intensity emotional states, positive affect intolerance, and emotional numbing) will be discussed. Moreover, treatment approaches focusing on re-establishing interpersonal functioning and preventing the inter-generational transmission of trauma will be reviewed. Clinical case examples will be used throughout the lecture, and neurobiologically informed treatment strategies will be discussed. Recent advances in research focusing on the neurobiology of traumatic stress and its treatment will also be discussed throughout the lecture.
Peter Fonagy (United Kingdom)
Trauma and the developing of consciousness.
The presentation is based on an intersubjective model of the development of consciousness. We assume that consciousness is culturally embedded and normally only experiences that are socially mirrored become part of an individual’s conscious experience. Generally, this ensures the close relationship between subjects of human communication and self-awareness. The roots of the disruptive effect of trauma lies in the impact of childhood adversity on the social development of consciousness. In severe trauma this process is disrupted forcing phenomenal experiences to become part of consciousness that have no place in subjectivity causing discontinuities of subjective experience, including dissociation, disruptions in the experience of identity and atypical bodily experiences. We will consider research findings pertinent to these suggestions along with clinical approaches to managing the persistent effects of trauma
Dr. Marylin Glenville (United Kingdom)
Jane Hart (United States of America)
Jane Hart is a 28-year-old loving mother of two, an author, a public speaker and mental health activist. Born and raised in Boise, ID; Jane currently resides there with her two beautiful sons. Three years ago, Jane was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder, which has impacted her life in ways she never could have imagined. One of the exclusive causes of DID is repeated childhood trauma to which Jane has unfortunately endured throughout her life. Dubbing herself a “human information sponge,” Jane has spent countless hours researching the effects of trauma on the brain as well as learning as much as she can about DID in the hopes of helping others.
Receiving her diagnosis was tough on Jane both mentally and physically, but sharing her condition with a close friend was a turning point for her. Despite their close relationship, her friend assumed Jane was dangerous; damaging their friendship and leaving a lasting impact on Jane. This pivotal point in her life has inspired Jane to shine a light on the cause to diminish the stigma of mental illness, especially those living with DID.
In June 2016, Jane wrote an article sharing her knowledge of DID and her personal struggle which led to a speaking opportunity on a well-known psychology podcast “Shrink Rap Radio.” This opportunity led to a life-changing journey; the opportunity to chronicle her life living with DID on the new docu-series titled “Many Sides of Jane” airing on A&E. Under the guidance of her therapist, Jane has currently identified over nine distinct identities or “parts” (as Jane refers to them) and she’s working to unlock the mysteries surrounding her trauma and to find internal harmony between her many sides.
Upon agreeing to participate in the rare and raw series, Jane made a promise to herself to be 100% open, real and honest, letting the world see that those suffering from DID still have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. Jane’s goal in opening her life to the cameras is not only to erase the misconceptions about this highly stigmatized disorder but to also normalize mental illness and to spread truth about the silent epidemic of child abuse and its lasting effects on the human brain. Jane feels there is power in sharing her story and it is her mission to help others realize mental health is just as important as physical health. Those suffering from DID are special, smart and unique; they deserve compassion, kindness and understanding.