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ROME – CONGRESS ATTACHMENT AND TRAUMA RELATIONSHIPS, CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE DEVELOPING SELF

£ 300.00 £ 250.00

LANGUAGE: English

REGISTRATION FEES Fee £300

First early bird fee: £250 within 31st January  Students: £200

CANCELLATION POLICY
Please note that, if you wish to cancel your registration, the following rules will be applied: if you cancel your registration within 3 months before the start of the event, you will be entitled to receive a 70% refund of the amount paid for the ticket.  if you cancel your registration within 2 months before the start of the event, you will be entitled to receive a 40% refund of the amount paid for the ticket.  if the above mentioned deadlines are not respected, you will not be entitled to receive any refund.

 

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Description

The development of self-identity and consciousness interpreted as a relational construct: this is the new, overall topic of the next “Attachment and Trauma” Congress in Rome, which is being held on May 22nd-24th, 2020. When the developmental process is disrupted by inadequate caretaking, in-sufficient attunement or experiences of abuse within the caregiving relationship, the child’s inner sense of continuity and consistency can be severely affected, thus leading to a fragmentation of the Self. Human consciousness is structured in the intersubjective dimension that characterizes mirroring experiences with others. When such experiences are missing, this may lead to a dissociation of the Self and, in the presence of complex trauma, dissociative symptoms may involve extreme rigidity. During their talks, Speakers will explore a multitude of complex aspects related to the development of consciousness. In this respect, brain studies will be a starting point to get a deeper insight into human interactions and go beyond the mere distinction between top-down and bottom-up processes, thanks to a more integrated and comprehensive analysis of social dimensions. In addition, Speakers will highlight the most effective therapeutic approaches that can be adopted in order to create an integrative intervention system, based on specific aspects of the therapeutic relationship. From this perspective, the latter is understood as an opportunity to heal Self-fragmentation, as well as space where both the therapist and the client can engage with each other in a safe way. Besides this, a series of intervention methods aimed at treating complex trauma and preventing its intergenerational legacy will be discussed. The Congress will also be a unique opportunity to explore new treatment perspectives in Psychotherapy, such as Mirror Therapy and, last but not least, specific interventions based on the use of prosody, music, and voice to activate the client’s engagement system within the therapeutic setting


DIANA FOSHA United States

Diana Fosha, Ph.D. is the developer of AEDP (Accelerated Experiential-Dynamic Psychotherapy), and founder and current director of the AEDP Institute, an internationally recognized school that specializes in training therapists in a healing-oriented transformational approach to the treatment of attachment trauma. For the last 20 years, she has been active in promoting a scientific basis for a healing-oriented, attachment-, emotion- and trans-formation-focused therapy. A leader in the field of transformational studies in trauma treatment, Fosha’s work on healing transformational processes focuses on integrating neuroplasticity, recognition science and developmental dyadic research into experiential clinical process work with patients. The author of numerous papers and book chapters, she is the author of The transforming power of affect: A model for accelerated change (Basic Books, 2000); senior editor, with Daniel Siegel and Marion Solomon, of The heal-ing power of emotion: Affective neuroscience, development & clinical practice (Norton, 2009), and co-author, with Natasha Prenn, of Supervision Essentials for Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (APA, 2016). Described by psychoanalyst James Grotstein as a “prizefighter of intimacy,” and by David Malan as “the Winnicott of [accelerated experiential dynamic] psychotherapy,” Diana Fosha is known for her powerful, precise yet simultaneously poetic and evocative writing style. Her phrases, —” undoing aloneness,” “existing in the heart and mind of the other,” “True Other,” “make the implicit explicit and the explicit experiential,” “going beyond mirroring,” “stay with it and stay with me,” “rigor without shame” and “judicious self-disclosure” — capture the ethos of AEDP.

 

THE ROLE OF THE NEUROBIOLOGICAL CORE SELF AND ITS FELT SENSE IN THE TREATMENT OF TRAUMA AND DISSOCIATION

Diana Fosha, Ph.D., will focus her presentation on the dyadic moment-to-moment tracking of the felt sense of the neurobiological core self in the treatment of trauma and dissociation. Drawing on research on neuroplasticity, affective neuroscience, attachment theory, developmental caregiver-infant interactions, and transformational studies, Diana developed AEDP’s fundamentally experiential, dyadic, healing-oriented practice. This workshop will show how to make clinical use of the important construct of the neurobiological core self, introduced by both Jaak Panksepp and Antonio Damasio. Clinical videotapes will illustrate experiential clinical work conducted at the upper limits of the window of tolerance in order to expand the patient’s relational, emotional and receptive affective capacities. The focus will be on techniques involving affirmation and recognition, making use of the therapist’s affective self. The clinical work will demonstrate moment-to-moment tracking informed by Jaak Panksepp’s concept of the neurobiological core self. Manifestations of the neurobiological core self will be tracked from the earliest moment of the 1st session through the end of the treatment in a patient with complex PTSD. With clinical videotapes.


ORIT BADOUK EPSTEIN United Kingdom

She is a UKCP registered attachment-based Psychoanalytic psychotherapist, a training supervisor, and a training therapist  She trained at the Bowlby Centre, London where she is the Editor of the journal “Attachment-New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis”. She teaches Attachment theory and is the chair of the planning group of the Bowlby Memorial Conference. She specializes in attachment theory and trauma and regularly writes and presents papers and book chapters on these topics. She runs a private practice and works relationally with individuals, couples, and parents. Orit has a particular interest in working with individuals who have experienced extreme abuse and trauma and have displayed symptoms of dissociation. She is the co-author of the book “Ritual Abuse and Mind Control: The Manipulation of Attachment Needs” (Karnac Books); co-editor of the book “Terror within & without”; and recently published a chapter “Trauma work via the Lens of Attachment Theory: Gaslight – Reality distortion by Familiar Attachment Figures” in “Approaches to Psychic Trauma” Ed. B. Hupperz. She is the co-editor of the ESTD (European Society for Trauma and Dissociation) newsletter where she regularly writes articles and film reviews.

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)Disorganized Attachment Style. The research findings have given us a new lens into the way we see human behavior that is evident in many of our traumatized clients. The child’s needs for both protection and autonomy are universal and have 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 colonization of her body and mind and fragmentation of the self. Her attachment to her “caregiver” (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.


ELLERT NIJENHUIS The Netherlands Ellert R.S. Nijenhuis, Ph.D., is a psychologist, psychotherapist, and researcher. He engaged in the diagnosis and treatment of severely traumatized patients for more than three decades and teaches and writes extensively on the themes of trauma-related dissociation and dissociative disorders. He initiated and continues to be engaged in the biopsychological study of complex dissociative disorders. Nijenhuis is a consultant at Clienia Littenheid, Switzerland. His theoretical, scientific, and clinical publications include the book Somatoform Dissociation (Norton, New York; Italian translation available). With Onno van der Hart and Kathy Steele he co-authored the book The Haunted Self: Structural Dissociation and the Treatment of Chronic Traumatization (Norton, New York; Italian translation available). The first two volumes of Nijenhuis’ recent trilogy The Trinity of Trauma: Ignorance, Fragility, and Control appeared in 2015. The third volume, Enactive Trauma Treatment was released in April 2017. The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation granted him several awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

ENACTIVE TRAUMA THERAPY: FROM PASSION TO ACTION, FROM SORROW TO JOY
Enactive trauma therapy is influenced by the enactive approach in philosophy, psychology, and biology. In terms of this approach, like anyone else, traumatized individuals (1) are goal-oriented human organism-environment systems that primarily long and strive to preserve their existence; (2) are essentially embodied and embedded in their environment; (3) are primordial affective systems oriented toward making sense of things; (4) bring forth, i.e., enact a mental and phenomenal self, world, and self-as-a-part-of-this-world, and (5) primarily gain knowledge on the basis of their goal-oriented sensorimotor and affect-laden actions. In this light, trauma is an injury that ensues when individuals are acted on by harmful events more than that they can act, that is, are their own master. The injury is the presence of conflicting modes of longing and striving such as attachment, defense, and self-determination. In dissociative disorders, these modes take the form of two or more conscious and self-conscious dissociative subsystems that en-act their own self and world. Enactive trauma therapy is an endeavor to resolve these conflicts. It is comprised of the patient and the therapist as two organism-environment systems that co-enact a common world and that long and strive to achieve common results. Together they spawn new actions and meaning. Their collaboration and communication resemble dancing: It takes pacing, attunement, timing, a sensitivity to balance, movement and rhythm, courage, as well as the ability and willingness to follow and lead. It involves the progression from passions (being acted on) and implied sorrow to actions that bring forth joy.


FABIO VEGLIA Italy Fabio Veglia is a Psychologist, a Psychotherapist, as well as a Full Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Turin. He is the Director of the Specialization Schools in Cognitive Psychotherapy of the Centro Clinico Crocetta, located in Turin, Genoa, and Vercelli. Furthermore, he is the Director of the headquarter of MIND, in Novara, as well as the Scientific Coordinator of the Disability and Sexuality Service of the Department for Social and Health Services in Turin. He has been working in the field of research and education for over thirty years and he is the author of several scientific books, such as “Handicap e sessualità: il silenzio, la voce, la carezza” (Franco Angeli), “Storie di vita: narrazione e cura in psicoterapia cognitive” (Bollati Boringhieri) and “Manuale di educazione sessuale” (Erikson). In addition, he has co-authored the books “C’era una volta la prima volta”, together with Rossella Pellegrini, and “Narrazione e disabilità intellettiva”, together with Ciro Ruggerini, Sumire Manzotti and Giampiero Griffo.

SEMANTIC ATTACHMENT TRAUMAS AND THE NARRATIVE SELF-CONSTRUCTION A severe dysregulation of the archaic defense systems, characterized by a chronic activation of the alarm mechanisms, can be caused by the simultaneous activation of the interpersonal motivational systems or IMSs (i.e. caring, ranking and social sexuality) operated by the attachment figures, who are perceived as a source of danger and threat instead of a haven of safety and relational wellbeing. These interpersonal, traumatic experiences that often occur during the early stage of the child’s development can be only partially integrated within his/her body/feelings/memory/consciousness; furthermore, they severely compromise not only the organization of the attachment system but also the structure of the internal working models, as well as the regulation mechanisms of emotional responses and the development of metacognitive abilities. When the brain is forced to work in such extreme conditions, dissociative disorders often show up and the individual starts using controlling strategies to manage interpersonal relationships through a compulsive activation of caring, ranking, and sexuality. At the same time, as soon as the acute phase of the neuro vegetative and behavioral responses mediated by the brain stem (fight, flight, freeze, faint) is over, the autobiographical component of human consciousness is biologically driven to make sense and make meaning of any fragmented, confusing and distressing experiences connected to traumatic memories; in addition, it inevitably integrates these experiences, as well as the controlling strategies, into the narrative that shapes Self-identity. Thus, complex relational traumas acquire the same characteristics as semantic traumas; the latter not only characterize personal identity but also become ontologically connected to the Self through the use of radical, unassailable assumptions concerning some essential qualities of the individual. As a consequence, the attempt to develop a cohesive, consistent and continuous personal narrative is blocked, syntactically disorganized, deprived of any coherent contents, compartmentalized and made useless and chaotic by the need to reach an agreement between the different parts of the Self. Unlovability, unworthiness, powerlessness, a pervasive sense of shame, emptiness, Self-inconsistency and the lack of internal freedom become the semantic cores on which the individual builds the narrative of his/her own relational, traumatized history. These semantic cores and the dissociated parts of the Self to which they are connected create ongoing, dangerous opportunities of re-traumatization and activate mechanisms of emotional dysregulation, consciousness dissociation and sudden retrieval of fragments of traumatic memories. Therefore, oftentimes therapists cannot treat these clients by focusing only on the regulation of the dysfunctional somatic, relational, emotional and metacognitive mechanisms or by simply reactivating the self-repairing mechanisms of the brain. When it comes to the treatment of attachment traumas, once the client has been stabilized and the therapeutic alliance is strong enough, it is often necessary to add – through relational and sensorimotor work – a narrative treatment aimed at working with parts, having a significant semantic connotation. Bibliographic references:
Damasio A., Lo strano ordine delle cose, Adelphi, Milano, 2018.
Di Fini G and Veglia F (2019) Life Themes and Attachment System in the Narrative Self-Construction: Direct and Indirect Indicators. In “Front. Psychol”,10:1393. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg. 2019.01393
Liotti G., Farina B., Sviluppi traumatici: eziopatogenesi, clinica e terapia della dimensione dissociativa, Raf-faello Cortina Editore, Milano, 2011.
Panksepp J., Biven L., Archeologia della mente, Raffaello Cortina Editore, Milano, 2014.
Porges S. W., La teoria polivagale. Giovanni Fioriti Editore, Roma, 2014
Veglia F., Di Fini G. (2017). Life Themes and Interpersonal Motivational Systems in the Narrative Self-con-struction. in “Frontiers in psychology”, 8, pp. 1897, 2017.


BRUCE ECKER United States Bruce Ecker, LMFT is co-originator of Coherence Therapy, co-director, and co-founder of the Coherence Psychology Institute, and co-author of Unlocking the Emotional Brain: Eliminating Symptoms at Their Roots Using Memory Reconsolidation; the Coherence Therapy Practice Manual & Training Guide; and Depth Oriented Brief Therapy: How To Be Brief When You Were Trained To Be Deep and Vice Versa. Clarifying how transformational therapeutic change occurs is the central theme of his clinical career, and he has contributed many innovations in concepts and methods of experiential psychotherapy. Since 2006 he has driven the clinical field’s recognition of memory reconsolidation as the core process of transformational change, and he has developed the application of this brain research for the advancement of therapeutic effectiveness and psy-chotherapy unification. He lives in New York City.

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 those process works have 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 the 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, al-lowing 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 nonspecific common factors theory.


DANIEL BROWN United States

Daniel Brown, Ph.D. Director, The Center for Integrative Psychotherapy, Newton MA; Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School at BIDMCl, has been on the faculty of Harvard Medical School for 38 years, where he teaches a course on performance excellence for primary care physicians and surgeons, judges, and business executives, and a course on assessing and treating attachment disturbances. Au-thor of 24 books including: Hypnotherapy and Hypnoanalysis (with Erika Fromm), a book on affect development, Human Feelings, a book on memory for trauma and abuse that won 7 awards, Memory, Trauma Treatment, and the Law, and a textbook on assessment and treatment of attachment disturbances, Attachment Disturbances in Adults (with David Elliott). Dr. Brown has served as an expert witness in the courts on many traumas and child abuse cases, including helping to establish a reliable standard of evidence for testimony of victims of atrocities for the International War Crimes Tribunal, and 70 priest abuse cases. ATTACHMENT DISTURBANCE, COMPLEX TRAUMA, AND THE SELF: ASSESSMENT AND TREATMENT There are three patterns of insecure attachment. In adults these are referred to as dismissing, anxious preoccupied, and disorganized attachment. Each is associated with a unique internal working model and state of mind with respect to attachment. Each is also associated with a unique sense of self—the pseudo- independent self in dismissing attachment, the inhibited self in preoccupied attachment, and the dissociated self in disorganized attachment. In our orphan-age study we found that what is commonly referred to as complex trauma is best seen as early disorganized attachment aggravated by physical and/or sexual abuse in later childhood. This view requires a substantial modification of treatment from traditional phase-oriented trauma treatment (POTT) in that the use of POTT in individuals suffering from complex trauma often show significant decreases in coherence and organization of mind during trauma processing, but respond much better if the disorganized attachment is first treated before trauma process-ing. This presentation will introduce an effective treatment for attachment disturbances in adults called the Three Pillars approach:

1. The repeated use of imaginal ideal parent figures to positively remap the internal working model of attachment;

2. Fostering verbal and non-verbal collaborative behavior in treatment;

3. Developing a range of post-formal metacognitive skills.

 

Additionally, the presentation will review the unique features of Three Pillars treatment for each of the three prototypical types of attachment disturbance in adults a unique treatment for dis-missing, preoccupied, and disorganized attachment.


 

LIZ MULLINAR Australia

Liz Mullinar is the founder of Heal for Life Foundation (HFL). The HFL centers in Australia, UK and the Philippines have helped over 8,500 adults and children heal from their childhood trauma through an affordable week-long residential program. The program has developed a reputation as a powerful and unique intervention to aid the recovery of people experiencing severe and persistent mental illness who have background of trauma and abuse. Over 69% of participants experience a reduction in symptoms of mental illness which is sustained beyond six months, and over 90% of program participants rating the program as life changing or very positive. Liz, a survivorof childhood trauma, developed the Heal for Life model in the mid-nineties in collaboration with other survivors of trauma who were health professionals, to develop a permanent way of healing from the impact of childhood trauma utilizing the unique knowledge of their own journey of healing. Through her work with HFL and her lived experience, Liz is a recognized leader in the field of Trauma Informed Practice (TIP). She is the author of two books published by Hodder Headline: “Breaking the Silence” and “The Liz Mullinar Story”. Her latest book “Heal for Life” will be released for the conference. It details the evidence underpinning the HFL model and provides practical strategies learned from her own healing journey and proven over twenty years of supporting survivors of trauma. Liz concentrates her time in the training and supervision of therapists in the use of the Heal for Life treatment model in their private practice, running TIP for organizations and in training teams in other countries to run the program. Liz is also working with remote Indigenous communities in the Kimberly (West Australia) to help them develop and train teams to run HFL programs in their communities. Liz has been recognized for her significant work in transforming the lives of people who have been severely debilitated by trauma by being awarded an order of Australia and in 2000 she was awarded the inaugural Australian Humanitarian of the Year Award. PRACTICAL PROVEN STRATEGIES TO CREATE A SAFE, EMPOWERING ENVIRONMENT TO ENABLE PERMANENT HEALING FROM COMPLEX TRAUMA The greatest problem for survivors of childhood trauma is the inability to recognize trig- gers from childhood trauma and to know how to release these triggers so as to de- activate the fight/flight/freeze response. Neuroscience informs us that this response is automatic and that it is one of the prime causes of behavioral and emotional problems for survivors of trauma. Experts in the field have identified that healing must come from the dominant right brain hemisphere. The HFL model succeeds by safely accessing the right hemisphere to release emotions suppressed at the time of the trauma. The model also recognizes the importance of the client themselves in leading and controlling all processes of treatment. This presentation will explain the HFL model: trust, release, empower, nurture, educate. The model is unique in that it was developed by survivors of trauma incorporating findings from neuroscience as well as their own innate knowledge and personal experiences. it has been refined over 20 years of service delivery by incorporating the experiences and feedback of survivors of childhood trauma. The HFL model empowers the participant to recognize that they have the knowledge and ability to heal; it promotes autonomy and self-efficacy. Clients are supported by peer support therapists who have themselves undergone the same healing process. These individuals are highly trained and professionally supervised to deliver psychoeducation and therapeutic sup-ports. This practical and experiential presentation will provide a survivor’s perspective on effective treatment for complex trauma including a video presentation to reinforce this client-centered, peer-developed program for use in private practice. This will enable congress participants to extend their therapeutic modalities in order to more safely and effectively support clients of childhood trauma towards healing.


RUTH LANIUS Canada Ruth Lanius, MD, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry is the director of the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) research unit at the University of Western Ontario. She established the Traumatic Stress Service and the Traumatic Stress Service Workplace Program, services that specialized in the treatment and research of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and related comorbid disorders. She currently holds the Harris-Woodman Chair in Mind-Body Medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario. Her research interests focus on studying the neurobiology of PTSD and treatment outcome research examining various pharmacological and psychotherapeutic methods. She has authored more than 150 published papers and chapters in the field of traumatic stress and is currently funded by several federal funding agencies. She regularly lectures on the topic of PTSD nationally and internationally. She has recently published the book ‘Healing the traumatized self: consciousness, neuroscience, treatment’ with Paul Frewen.

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 the 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.


ALESSANDRO CARMELITA Italy Alessandro Carmelita is a Psychologist and a Psychotherapist, as well as a Trainer and Supervisor in Schema Therapy certified by the ISST. After having been trained by some of the most important experts in the field of Psychotherapy and Interpersonal Neurobiology, he has created an innovative therapeutic approach named Mindful Interbeing Mirror Therapy (MIMT) and has developed it together with Marina Cirio. He has traveled around the world to train Psychologists and Psychotherapists in using this revolutionary approach with their clients. Besides this, Dr. Carmelita has conducted 56 editions of the international training program in Schema Therapy and has trained/supervised hundreds of therapists.

 

MARINA CIRIO Italy

Marina Cirio is a Psychologist and a Psychotherapist. She has enriched her professional training with recent contributions in the field of Psychotherapy and Neuroscience. She has developed Mindful Interbeing Mirror Therapy (MIMT) together with Alessandro Carmelita, thus contributing to expanding both the clinical implications and the research work on the therapeutic interventions that can be used with different types of patients. After using this innovative approach for years, Dr. Cirio is going to conduct – together with Dr. Carmelita – a new training course in MIMT that will allow many other therapists to learn and understand this new way of relating to clients, which can facilitate a real and profound change.

 

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 analyzed 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 relationship plays a central role in the treatment of the dissociation caused by early relational traumas, regardless of 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 underpinnings, which include not only the most recent research studies in the field of Neuroscience 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 characterizing 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 application aspects emerging from clinical practice offer new opportunities of intervention that Research can keep supporting and validating.


 

JANE HART United States

Jane Hart is a 28-year-old loving mother of two, an author, a public speaker, and a 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.

THE IMPORTANCE OF COLLABORATIVE ADVOCACY FOR DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER Jane will go into detail on ways the current research pools in different countries can be improved so that the research funds for DID are pooled with other trauma disorders rather than on its own. The aim is improving research on DID, which is a very prevalent disorder in society. Jane will also talk about the different ways society as a whole has scapegoated individuals with DID. In addition, she will explore the many reasons why it is vitally important for mental health professionals to acknowledge the existence of Dissociative Identity Disorder, and to advocate for it just the same as they would PTSD, by including it in future books on trauma, books on therapy styles or treatment, books specifically geared toward future therapists, etc.


PAT OGDEN United States Pat Ogden, Ph.D., is a pioneer in somatic psychology and the Founder and Education Director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, an internationally recognized school specializing in somatic–cognitive approaches for the treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder and attachment disturbances. Her Institute, based in Broomfield Colorado, has 19 certified trainers who conduct Sensorimotor Psychotherapy training of over 400 hours for mental health professionals throughout the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia. The Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute has certified hundreds of psychotherapists throughout the world in this method. She is the co-founder of the Hakomi Institute, past faculty of Naropa University (1985-2005), a clinician, consultant, and sought-after international lecturer. Dr. Ogden is the first author of two groundbreaking books in somatic psychology: Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment (2015), both published in the Interpersonal Neurobiology Series of W. W. Norton.

LIVE VIDEO-CONFERENCE INTERVIEW WITH PAT OGDEN During a one-hour, live video-conference interview with Pat Ogden – a pioneer in somatic psychology and the Founder and Education Director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, an internationally recognized school specializing in somatic and cognitive approaches for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and attachment disturbances – participants will have the unique opportunity to learn from one of the most eminent experts in this field. During the interview, Dr. Ogden will not only explore a series of aspects related to Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, relationships, consciousness, and the developing Self but will also answer questions from the audience, who will certainly be inspired by her long-time experience and know-how in the field of trauma treatment.


ANTONINO CARCIONE Italy

Antonino Carcione is a Psychiatrist and a Psychotherapist, as well as the Founder and Scientific Director of the Center for Cognitive Psychotherapy in Rome. He teaches at various Specialization Schools in Cognitive Psychotherapy (APC, SPC, and SICC) and he is the former President of the Italian Society of Cognitive and Behavioral Psychotherapy (SITCC), as well as the current Vice-President of the SPR-Italy Group. He has co-authored, together with A. Semerari the book “Il Narcisismo e i suoi disturbi. La terapia metacognitiva interpersonale per il Disturbo Narcisistico di Personalità” (Erickson) and he has contributed – together with G. Dimaggio, A. Semerari, G. Nicolò e M. Procacci – to the book “Psychotherapy of Personality Disorders” (Routledge). In addition, he has co-authored, together with G. Nicolò and M. Procacci, the manual “Terapia Cognitiva delle Psicosi” (Franco Angeli) and, together with A. Semerari and G. Nicolò, the book “Curare casi complessi. La terapia metacognitiva interpersonale dei disturbi di personalità” (Laterza). He is also the co-author, together with G. Dimaggio and A. Semerari, of “I disturbi di Personalità: Modelli e Trattamento”, published by Laterza. Finally, yet importantly, he is the author and co-author of numerous scientific papers that have been published on both national and international journals, and he has also contributed to several book chapters about personality disorders, psychosis and metacognition, just to name a few.

 

INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS AND METACOGNITION IN PERSONALITY DISORDERS: IS A DIAGNOSIS ENOUGH TO SET UP A TREATMENT PLAN? The DSM-V – and, more specifically, its Alternative Model for the Diagnosis of Personality Disorders (AMDP) – underlines the key role of the ability to reflect and think about our own mental states and the others’ (metacognition) with respect to the functioning of the personality. When these abilities are compromised, that negatively impacts on Self- development and interpersonal relationships, which are the main variables to diagnose a Personality Disorder (PD). Nevertheless, reflexive capacities are acquired through early experiences with parental figures; many authors – such as Bateman, Fonagy and Chiesa – have stressed that developmental trauma histories can undermine the child’s healthy development and lead to a personality disorder, by inevitably compromising his/her future relationships. Various authors agree that clients with PDs can respond well to treatment if psychotherapy is focused on the real core of the pathology: according to a growing number of empirical data, metacognitive functioning seems to be an important part of it. As regards treatment, one of the most recurrent problems is that, in clinical practice, clients often meet the nosographic criteria of various personality disorders, which are frequently associated with traumatic histories causing symptoms and relational issues. The lack of an adequate model for case conceptualization makes therapy even more problematic and less effective; in addition, it creates difficulties for the therapists, who struggle to decide which issues need to be prioritized and, as a consequence,how to plan their interventions in a consistent way. This is why therapists would need a conceptualization model that includes not only symptoms and diagnosis but also the different psychopathological variables that contribute to maintaining the disorder itself. During his talk, Antonino Carcione will explore metacognitive difficulties by considering them as a general factor contributing to the development of each PD; at this respect, he will describe the interventions based on the principles of Interpersonal Metacognitive Therapy (Terapia Metacognitiva Interpersonale or TMI), a specific approach that has been structured and manualized for PDs, which has been developed by the team working at the Center of Cognitive Psychotherapy in Rome. TMI integrates, in a consistent way and with a clear focus on the improvement of metacognitive abilities, different existing techniques while, at the same time, paying constant attention to the regulation of the therapeutic relationship and alliance, in order to reduce the client’s distress and relational issues.

 

 

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