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CPD Credits
Event Type
Live Online Event
Zoom & Recording for 365 days
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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Friday, June 14, 2024

Working with Dissociative Clients

Theoretical and Clinical Insights

With Mark Linington

Working with dissociation is complex regardless of where on the spectrum of dissociative experiences your clients may be. The aim of this comprehensive live webinar with Mark Linington is to offer an understanding of the multiple subtypes of dissociative presentations. Mark will offer a theoretical talk followed by case material and a final session focused on the challenges the therapist may face when encountering clients who dissociate.

Dissociation can be a useful response, or defense, to help us navigate the stresses of daily life, however, dissociation is also a response to trauma, neglect and abuse. The use of dissociation often starts in childhood resulting in neurological changes in the brain, it can become chronic and have a profound impact on the individual’s life and relationships. There is significant research which demonstrates a person’s attachment patterns impact the severity of the dissociative states they experience. In many cases, it can take on more severe forms, such as depersonalisation and derealisation. In cases of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), people can experience complete fragmentation although this will not be the focus of this workshop.

Mark will share his wealth of experience and expertise in traumatology, offering a grounding for work with dissociative patients which is effective and compassionate. Thus supporting psychotherapists to build therapeutic relationships that can enable clients to bear their unbearable experiences, and help them to exist more in the ‘present’, without risk of re-experiencing trauma or re-entering dissociative states.

Mark will offer three talks and there will be time for questions and discussion after each.


10.00 (UK) Introductions and Zoom Housekeeping
10.10 Understanding Components of Dissociation

Dissociation is a coping mechanism that disconnects one's thoughts, identity, or consciousness from their surroundings, emotions, or memories. It's particularly relevant to trauma, where it can serve as a defence against overwhelming experiences. Mark will walk us through the five main components of dissociation and how this might help to assess where a client may be on the spectrum, this includes amnesia, depersonalisation, derealisation, identity confusion and identity alteration. Understanding these nuances in dissociation is crucial for clinicians in providing effective treatment for those grappling with the complex aftermath of trauma.

11.00 Break
11.15 Case Material

In this session Mark will share some case material demonstrating the impact of dissociative defense mechanisms in coping with trauma. Understanding why these mechanisms develop varies from genetics to environmental stressors. Dissociation, although maladaptive in the long term, initially serves as a survival tool, allowing individuals to compartmentalize trauma. 

11.45 Q&A
12.00 Break
12.15 Therapeutic Techniques

Patient unfolding in therapy is vital, especially for clients with severe childhood trauma. Establishing and nurturing trust is fundamental, given their vulnerability. Addressing regression and ruptures in the therapeutic relationship is part of the process, demanding empathy and patience. Strategies involve creating a safe environment, clear communication, and adapting therapeutic approaches. Additionally, therapists must recognise and manage the emotional toll these cases may have on their own wellbeing, seeking support when necessary. Ultimately, navigating this challenging work with sensitivity and skill is key to helping survivors of childhood trauma on their path to recovery.

12.45 Q&A
13.00 End

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