Discussing Dissociation

Discussing Dissociation

Psychotherapists often feel most overwhelmed by cases in which clients with histories of complex trauma present with some form of dissociation–whether it involves the client’s tendency to be “far away” or “spaced out” in session, or the dissociation of the client’s self into fragmented, and often conflicting, parts. “Discussing Dissociation” is a seminar designed to offer therapists tools and support as they learn together to manage these cases and to enhance their own resilience as they help clients facing significant challenges.

Adaptations to survive early trauma often require individuals to fragment aspects of their experience (emotions, memories, beliefs, sensations and impulses) into separate compartments in order to bear the ordeals they endure. While such strategies can foster survival, they also can create challenges. Dissociation of the self can occur on a continuum from everyday skills of adaptively spacing out to the extremes of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

The structural dissociation model, developed by van der Hart, Nijenuis & Steele, and elaborated by Janina Fisher in her book Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors, posits that under stress the personality fragments according to the “existing fault lines” of our survival defenses: fight, flight, freeze, submit and attachment cry. Even for clients who do not meet diagnostic criteria for DID or DID-NOS, this framework offers a clear model for compassionate understanding and effective intervention. The seminar will integrate resources based both on the structural dissociation model and from psychodynamic interventions.

Please contact Sharon Gold-Steinberg, PhD at to express interest in joining or forming a future seminar or consultation group.

Photo above by Kayla Steinberg


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Friday Refresh

Friday Refresh

Put your self-care first. Drop in for once-monthly 50-minute sessions of contemplative practice (e.g., gentle movement, guided meditation, resourcing and community building) that will leave you feeling grounded, soothed, and refreshed. “Friday Refresh” is a class for soothing and healing the nervous system of therapists whose main task often is healing others. It offers therapists an opportunity for experiential learning of techniques they may wish to bring back to their practice in order to resource clients.

This group is designed specifically for mental health clinicians. The practice aims to decrease vicarious traumatization and increase resilience, satisfaction, and joy in our work.

The format is neither a consultation group, nor a traditional yoga class. Each session focuses on a theme and helps participants experience resources on a primarily somatic and emotional level. Much of the time is spent in mindful reflection, practicing guided breath work, meditation or movement.

Both instructors are trained and practice as psychotherapists who incorporate mind-body approaches with more traditional theoretical orientations. Sharon is a psychologist and certified in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. Carryn is a social worker and registered yoga teacher.

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Healing for the Healers

Healing for Healers: Resourcing Psychotherapists for Work with Challenging Cases

Keep your toughest case in mind as you participate in this once monthly, 8 module, group consultation that will provide you with support, strategies and inspiration to feel more present, effective and resourced as a therapist. The group integrates psychodynamic, somatic, family systems, strength-based, and mindfulness-based approaches to case conceptualization and to issues of transference and counter-transference. Case consultation and experiential exercises help you apply a new way of thinking and feeling about cases that challenge you the most. Sharon is certified in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP) and can lend that expertise to groups of participants who have completed Level I or Level II SP training.

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Revisiting Resonance

Alumni of The Resonant Therapist seminar are eligible to participate in a 4-6 module seminar to refresh and deepen their skills related to emotional resonance and therapeutic alliance. Each two-hour meeting provides a brief review of one or more of the principles of attuned psychotherapy followed by ample opportunity for clinical skills demonstration and case consultation. Participants learn to apply strategies to deepen resonance, enhance mindfulness, modulate emotional dysregulation, and focus therapy sessions in order to work with even complicated presentations of trauma, attachment wounding, and dissociation. An added benefit of the Revisiting Resonance seminar is the chance to enjoy the support and inspiration of an intimate community of colleagues.

Flexible start dates to be arranged with interested participants.

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The Resonant Therapist

The Resonant Therapist: Principles of Attuned Psychotherapy; Clinical Training Seminar

16 CEUs available. 

“In my early professional years I was asking the question: How can I treat, or cure, or change this person? Now I would phrase the question in this way: How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for his own personal growth?” –Carl Rogers

Course Description:
Most psychotherapists agree that a good therapeutic relationship is foundational to working effectively with our clients. Yet despite this consensus, our field provides few opportunities for learning and practicing the elements of healing relationships. Findings from contemporary neuroscience increasingly emphasize the importance of personal relationships in influencing the development of the brain and nervous system. This seminar integrates these findings along with wisdom from multiple healing traditions to teach a clinical attitude and approach that create the optimal conditions for psychological healing to occur.  Each module of the seminar focuses on a principle of psychotherapy practice that enhances therapeutic alliance, emotional resonance, and related interventions. The course also offers frameworks for understanding complicated clinical presentations that may challenge clinicians’ ability to maintain these optimal healing conditions. Instructors for the course are the affiliates of Partners in Healing.

Instructional Methods:
The seminar offers both didactic and experiential learning through lectures, discussions, readings, demonstrations, exercises and case consultation.

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