Pre-Conference Session Details

News & Important Dates

Thursday, 23 October 2014

P1 - Walking a Fine Line:  Ethics, Law & Risk Management in the Treatment of Complex Trauma & Dissociation
A. Steven Frankel, PhD, JD;  Joan Golston, DCSW, LICSW; Alan Scheflin, JD

Regulations are getting more complex, public expectations of professionals are growing, services and funding are reduced, threats to privacy are proliferating -- all in all, the context in which we treat complex trauma & dissociation is making a difficult task all the more so. These are cases that put pressure on boundaries, make informed consent tricky, and test our capacities in both clinical and ethical arenas. In the US, HIPAA & HITECH are being enforced and raise issues about telephone & email contact, social media, and texts. What goes in the record? What's confidential these days? What are the courts saying about treating a client by phone, treating a client who's out of your jurisdiction? Treating DID? Join us for a fast-paced, up to date, practical and even enjoyable program with three experts on law, ethics and risk management. Ample handouts and frequent opportunities to ask questions of the faculty. This program meets ethics & law continuing education requirements for most American professional licensing bodies. 


P2 - Have We All Gone Mad? Understanding and Working with Complicated Client-therapist Interactions and Covert Communications in Complex Trauma and Dissociative Disorders
Su Baker, MEd;
John A. O’Neil, MD, FRCPC

Your client comes into the office - you are a skilled professional, with years of experience treating people with trauma disorders. You feel curious, confident, creative but as always, a little cautious. Fifty minutes pass in a "flash" - your client leaves the office. You feel frustrated, confused, bewildered, disoriented, frightened, and definitely deskilled. What just happened? Have you gone mad? One of the greatest challenges in the therapy of the developmentally traumatized patient, and especially of the patient with DID, is handling interpersonal patient-therapist complications. These are uncommonly complex because of two aspects of the past that remain present: the trauma suffered, and unmet attachment needs. In the patient with DID, these may be further complicated by simultaneous incompatible ego state-therapist interactions. Often, being in touch with how we feel, think, and act in the therapeutic relationship is the best route to understanding and treating our patients' relational needs and the trauma they have suffered.

This advanced workshop will address the use of the framework of therapy, the use of therapists' feelings, thoughts, and acts, and the use of "dramas" inadvertently re-enacted by the therapeutic couple as a guide to the resolution of traumatic and attachment material as it plays out in the therapy.  The first half of the workshop will be didactic, a presentation of the role of alter personalities both in traumatic reenacting (through their relationships with each other and their interactions with the therapist) and also in preserving and striving for a secure attachment in the face of fear of attachment and dependency.  In appreciating this double role, therapist and patient achieve new and deeper understanding of the process of therapy to repair relational damage.

In the second half, a single clinical case will be presented as illustration. Selected vignettes will be presented from various stages of treatment, which will focus on typical traumatic and attachment issues as experienced by the therapist. Participants will be encouraged to brainstorm with the presenters to deepen understanding and promote clinical skills.

Workshop participants are encouraged to bring in relevant case material to discuss.  Such case material may also be translated into role-play in order to underscore the centrality of the process of therapy.


P3 - Dissociation 101: For Students and Emerging Professionals
Christine C. Forner, BA, BSW, MSW, RSW

For many students and emerging professionals who first enter the field of dissociation and trauma, there is often not a great deal of information that describes the theoretical foundations and history of the dissociative field. This workshop is intended for students, emerging professionals and others who are interested in learning about the fundamentals of dissociation as a distinct response to trauma. The premise of this workshop is to cover basic fundamental information regarding dissociation and the dissociative disorders field. This course will cover: (1) basic theories of trauma and dissociation; (2) the history of the dissociative field, including theories and treatment recommendations from the 1800's, through the eighties, nineties and today; (3) the impact of the false memory "war;" (4) finer details of current dissociative models (covering various theoretical foundations, e.g. structural dissociation, dissociative symptoms/phenomena [DSM], and dissociative defenses; (5) rate and prevalence;( 6) a breakdown of the dissociative disorders; (7) basic neurobiology of trauma and dissociation; (8) assessment and evaluation; and (9) current treatments. The basic goal of this pre-conference workshop is to equip those who attend with sufficient basic information to take into their scholarly or new professional practices as well as have a solid foundation for the rest of the conference. This workshop is designed to demystify dissociation and provide participants with a broad based understanding of it as a response to overwhelming stress.

P4 - The Body in Dissociation: An Introduction to the Integration of Traditional and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
Pat Ogden, PhD; Kathy Steele, MN, CS

This workshop is an introduction to working with the body in clients with dissociative disorders for therapists who use traditional "talk therapy" approaches. Recent developments in several converging fields of study offer a growing awareness of the role of the body both in maintaining and resolving chronic trauma responses. Neurobiology research has demonstrated actual physical changes in brain structure and function, neuroendocrine systems, and other physical adaptations in response to chronic trauma. Attachment and evolutionary perspectives - particularly the integrative work of Stephen Porges - have given us new understandings of ways to address chronic animal defenses of attachment cry-for-help, fight, flight, freeze and feigned death. The dysregulated arousal that accompanies these defenses can be transformed into a more steady homeostatic state in which our clients are present and engaged with themselves and with others. This workshop will be taught both by an expert in the traditional treatment of dissociation and an expert in working with the body. We will offer an understanding of the role of the body in trauma and in recovery. Participants will learn how to track the body for signs of dysregulation and animal defenses, and ways to integrate practical approaches to the body in dissociative clients in the context of traditional psychotherapy.

P5 - Understanding and Effectively Treating Chronically Traumatized and Dissociative Adolescents
Robert B. Slater, MSW, LCSW-R; Lisa Danylchuk, EdM, MFT, E-RYT

For many years, the practice of psychotherapy for dissociative disorders was largely focused on working with adult survivors. Over the last 10 to 15 years, there has been increased recognition and focus on working with younger trauma survivors in developmentally appropriate ways to more effectively reduce or eliminate the need for dissociative processes as an ongoing coping mechanism. Some of the clear advantages of this are that there are major changes that occur in the brain during this time and that the earlier developmentally these coping mechanisms are addressed, the less firmly entrenched they are. In this workshop, we will explore the complexities of working with the dissociative adolescent, how various modalities can assist in the therapeutic process in strengthening affect regulation and diminishing the need for dissociation as a primary coping mechanism. This workshop will also explore some of the widely differing circumstances that you may be presented with a dissociative adolescent client, (from supportive intact family to victim of sex trafficking), and how these varying circumstances may dictate the way in which therapy is conducted. We will explore similarities and differences, both from a developmental and practical standpoint of working with traumatized and dissociative adolescents from traumatized adults. We will explore in what ways they can be more challenging and some effective ways of meeting those challenges. Various therapeutic modalities as well as practical tools and case studies for working with this population will be presented.


Friday, 24 October 2014

P6 - Dissociation 201: Treating the Difficult Client
Lynette Danylchuk, PhD; Kevin J. Connors, MS, MFT

Every clinician has at least one; the difficult, demanding client; living in chaos, with frequent calls, constant crisis, unremitting self-mutilation, and repeated threats of suicide.  They come labeled problematic, oppositional, manipulative, or worse – Borderline. With such a complex array of emotional and behavioral difficulties, there are no simple solutions; only a maelstrom of intra-psychic dynamics, overwhelming emotions and distorted beliefs generating internal storms and external anguish.

This workshop synthesizes state of the art knowledge about complex post-traumatic stress disorder, attachment theory, and dissociative defenses as well as often overlooked but equally critical issues of power, control and shame.  Reframing client reaction from oppositional or manipulative to an empathic attunement to the nature of their defenses, the history of their abuse, and the direction of their healing empowers therapists to formulate effective and nuanced treatment plans.

Focusing on clinical concerns and conflicts, common in the first two stages of treatment; the therapist is challenged to advance treatment by exploring what is being expressed through the therapeutic relationship. The therapist is challenged to communicate in ways and on levels where language often fails.  The therapist is challenged to guide the client through new ways of thinking and perceiving.

P7 - Don't Tear Your Hair Out! We Can Manage Suicidality, Homicidality, and Self-Injurious Behaviors
Joan A. Turkus, MD, DLFAPA; Philip J. Kinsler, PhD, ABPP; Jan Beauregard, PhD, CSAC, CSAT

Suicidality, homicidality, and self-injurious behaviors are both common and disturbing symptoms of complex trauma and dissociative disorders as well as challenging for clinicians to manage. These chronically unsafe and challenging behaviors grind away at our patience and clinical self-confidence, often resulting in our feeling powerless and deskilled.  Yet at the same time, a trauma survivor can say, "Suicide saved my life." How do we reconcile this? There is a body of knowledge about suicidality, homicidality, and self-injurious behaviors. This conference will discuss the assessment and the major traumagenic dynamics of suicidality, homicidality, self-injury, substance use and eating disorders, all of which are such familiar syndromes in our work. We will explore the varied meanings that arise within our clients and which drive these behaviors and look at successful therapeutic interventions within a trauma/dissociation framework for each of them to increase our clinical acumen and skill-sets. Finally, we will address our own countertransference and vicarious traumatization. We will explore professional and personal strategies for us as clinicians.

P8 - Advanced Issues in the Treatment of DID/DDNOS
Richard P. Kluft, MD, PhD

This workshop will explore five advanced topics in depth, four of which have not been taught previously by this presenter. The differential diagnosis of dream-like states in traumatized dissociative patients will be reviewed, along with a discussion of characteristic dream configurations and modifications in technique useful in maximizing the therapeutic potential of dream material in this patient population. The role of hypnosis in the treatment of complex chronic posttraumatic dissociative disorders will be reviewed, because it is foundational to the exploration of the three remaining topics. The understanding and resolution of impasses is a major aspect of DID/DDNOS treatment. A protocol for exploring problematic treatments for impasse elements will be taught. It is not uncommon for those who treat dissociative disorder patients to experience some who suffer these diagnoses to be "impossible patients." Crafting interventions for "impossible patients" will be explored via a case presentation and group discussion. Finally, approaches to structuring and achieving satisfactory closure in difficult therapy sessions will be studied.

P9 - Biofeedback to the Brain: A Missing Piece in Trauma Treatment
Ulrich Lanius, PhD; Misty Brigham, MS; Sebern Fisher, MA, BCN

Biofeedback to the brain usually called neurofeedback or neurotherapy provides patients access to the electrical or frequency domain of brain function. It is becoming clear in mainstream neuroscience that the brain organizes itself in its oscillatory patterns. People with histories of early neglect and abuse, i.e developmental trauma, routinely suffer from their own wildly disorganized and dysregulated brains. Fear circuits dominate. The goal of neurofeedback in developmental trauma is to quiet these erupting circuits while encouraging neural connectivity that underpins a coherent sense of self. This workshop will present a brief overview of the history and theory of neurofeedback, an arousal/ regulation model for brain-wave training, a discussion of the relationship between arousal, state, trait and identity, a look at the self and lack of self as seen in fMRI and some thoughts about integrating neurofeedback with psychotherapy.  PowerPoint, lecture, case vignettes, discussion and videos.

P10 - Pathway Towards Recovery: Diagnosing and Treating Children with Complex Trauma and Dissociation
Frances S. Waters, LMSW, DCSW, LMFT

This full day workshop will examine the pathway toward recovery of children and adolescents with complex trauma and dissociation. These children often have experienced a turbulent treatment trajectory of multiple diagnoses, and failed multiple treatment and placement episodes, along with a medication cocktail regimen. They present with convoluting symptoms that are resistant to traditional approaches. Their dissociative defenses are often misconstrued for more commonly known diagnoses. It is often confusing to the practitioner to know how to diagnose and effectively intervene with traumatized children with extreme shifts in behavioral and emotional presentations.

This workshop will carefully detail the process in assessing and treating chronically traumatized children with dissociation. Participants will learn how to sensitively question about a traumatized child’s internal experiences and mercurial presentations for accurate diagnosis. Participants will become familiar with both interviewing techniques and instruments that assist in a careful and thorough assessment process for dissociation, and discriminating differences with other more commonly known diagnoses. All phases of the treatment process from early stabilization techniques, processing and resolving traumatic memories to finally integrating the child will be discussed with case descriptions.  In addition, attention regarding special problems, such as extreme aggression, sensory and attachment impairments, and sexually compulsive behavior with their origin to traumatic experiences and dissociation will be addressed with creative solutions. 
The participants in this workshop will be exposed to a variety of interventions that will assist them in managing children on their caseloads with some of the most severe and elaborate presentations. Challenges and strategies to build attachment between dissociative children and their caregivers will also be discussed. Clinical DVDs and artwork will be shown that will illuminate dissociative children and adolescents’ process toward recovery.


Last updated  8/21/2014

Preliminary Program

Online Program



2014 Fee Schedule - fax/mail in registration form

Registration Opens 1 May 2014

Early Bird Pricing Available
1 May - 9 September 2014

Regular Pricing Available
10 September - 28 October 2014

Advanced Registration Open
Through 15 October 2014

Thereafter, On-Site Registration
Available 22 - 27 October 2014


 Future Conference Info

Why come to the ISSTD Conference?

Learn where thought leaders in treatment, research and training are headed. 

Are you new to the field, or just curious? Learn face-to-face from the experts and meet new friends.

Have you been at this for a while? Come to meet old and new friends, brush up, and improve your skills.

Are you an expert?
Don’t be selfish! Come and share your knowledge! While you are at it, become a better expert.

Clinician? Learn new clinical skills and what research is bringing you.

Researcher? Learn what your colleagues are working on, how the clinicians are applying the new knowledge, and where the clinicians desperately need new knowledge.

Students and Early Career Professionals: We know that the future belongs to you. Come to a conference where you can interact with leaders who welcome you and respect your contributions to our future.


Thank You to Our Conference Supporters:

Bridges to Recovery
The Center for Post Traumatic
     Stress Disorders
Del Almo Behavioral Health Hospital
EEG Institute
Elements Behavioral Health
EMDR Institute
The Institute on Violence, Abuse
     and Trauma (IVAT)
McLean Hospital
Professional Books Bookstore
The Ross Institute
Routledge Journals -
     Taylor & Francis Group
South Bay Psychological Center
Timberlawn Mental Health System
TOP DD Study

2013 Conference recording


We're moving to the Spring in 2015!

2015 ISSTD Annual Conference
Major Training Event:
The Complexity of Trauma & Dissociation; Science, Practice, Questions

April 16 & 17 - Pre Conference
April 18-20 - Full Conference
Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista
1751 Hotel Plaza Blvd
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 USA


International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation
8400 Westpark Drive, Second Floor, McLean, VA 22102
Telephone: 703/610-9037 Fax: 703/610-0234