Focus Group: Mental Health Provider
Children with complex trauma present with numerous convoluted symptoms, i.e. attachment disturbances, affect and behavior dysregulation, aggression, conduct and substanceabuse disorders, hallucinations, etc. They receive multiple diagnoses, e.g. bipolar disorder, attention hyperactive disorder, schizophrenia, reactive attachment disorder. These diagnoses have similar symptomatology as those with dissociative disorders that mask the underlying dissociative mechanisms that play a central role in perpetuating these symptoms and hindering healing. Consequently, these traumatized children suffer failed treatment episodes and placements (biological, foster, adoptive) and experience repeated hospitalizations and residential placements with often an increase in medications with little efficacy. Dissociation is either misunderstood, discounted, or unexplored, but is the core reason for the traumatized child’s lack of progress.
This day workshop will highlight the Star Theoretical Model that integrates five prominent theories–attachment, neurobiology, developmental theory, family systems and dissociation–to describe pathways that contribute to the use of dissociation and also promote healing dissociative children and adolescents. Special emphasis will be placed on Poylvagal Theory in understanding the stress response system and dissociation as the last resort to escaping overwhelming fear and strategies to maintain engagement with the traumatized child throughout treatment. A thorough discussion on signs of dissociative disorder and how to discern from those with more commonly recognized disorders for accurate diagnosis and subsequent treatment will occur. Principals of specialized treatment for dissociation will introduce a phase oriented treatment process. Innovative stabilization, trauma processing, and integration techniques will be described with numerous clinical cases. Clinical DVDs and artwork will depict diagnosis and treatment process.
Frances S. Waters, DCSW, LMSW, LMFT, is an internationally recognized trainer, consultant, and clinician in the area of childhood trauma, abuse, and dissociation, and has presented extensively, including training programs in Europe, Africa, South American, and North America. She has specialized in the field of child abuse for 40 years. Ms. Waters is the past President of The International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD) and has served on many committees with ISSD, including currently co-chair of ISSTD’s Child & Adolescent Committee, and Faculty Director of the Child Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Programs. She also serves on Editorial Board of the Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, contributing guest editor for the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, and on the national Advisory Board of the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence.
9:00-10:30 Star Theoretical Model & core dissociative symptoms
10:45-Noon: Evaluation process, principals of treatment, & beginning of stabilization (15 min. for questions)
Noon-1:00 Lunch on own
1:00-2:30 Stabilization techniques
2:45-4:30 Trauma processing & integration techniques (15 min. questions)
- Apply the STAR Theoretical Model for comprehensive assessment and treatment of youth with complex trauma and dissociation
- Understand the neurobiology of trauma and dissociation & Polyvagal Theory
- Recognize signs and symptoms of youth with dissociation to accurately discern from other more commonly recognized diagnoses
- Understand specialized intervention techniques that promote stabilization, trauma processing and integration
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