Facing The Challenge – Improving services for people with trauma-related dissocation

discountFacing The Challenge – Improving services for people with trauma-related dissocation

Conference in Norwich 30th & 31st March 2017

The Julian Study Centre at The University of East Anglia, United Kingdom


Rémy Aquarone

`Lessons from history and challenges for the future’

Dissociation is at its most effective  when overwhelming traumas are  survived by cutting off any sense of continuity. These unconscious processes require dealing only with the moment to moment crisis, ticking them off and then moving on to the next crisis. The consequence of this ultimate survival defense is a catastrophic loss of any sense of being: an interrupted time line with no connection with the past and no hope in the future.

In much less extreme ways, organisations whether they be businesses, government departments or mental health services often use the same dissociative mechanisms in their day to day  functioning. The focus is on the immediate day to day problems, whether it be balancing the budget, dealing with the next crisis and often reinventing the wheel! There is neither room for thinking about lessons from the past nor long term objectives. There is ultimately no time line of experience.

I’ll be looking back on the history of dissociation and its cultural, financial and mental health impact on our society. We are at a crossroads where a more joined up approach can radically impact on all of our lives. Bringing together at this Conference clinicians from both the public and private sector in partnership with people with lived in experiences is proof of this evolving  integration.

Dr Renee P Marks

Renée Marks is working as Consultant Therapist and Clinical Lead at Integrate Families in the North of England. Integrate Families is a National Centre for Children with Complex Trauma and Dissociation. Renée is a national and international trainer on the topic of attachment, emotional regulation, complex trauma and dissociation in children and adolescents. She is a member of the Child and Adolescents Committee of the ISSTD and also an accredited trainer for their on-line training. Renée is the chair of the Child and Adolescent Committee of the European Society on Trauma and Dissociation (ESTD) and specialises in the more serious and complicated population of traumatised children and adolescents. Renée is also an expert witness and provides clinical supervision and consultation to different agencies and therapists.

Medical Aspects of Children and Adolescents with complex trauma and dissociation.

This workshop will focus on the physical impact of complex trauma, somatoform dissociation, somatisation due to the trauma as well as medical trauma on a child. The information will be provided at the hand of practical case illustrations where the impact of trauma on the body of the child will be discussed between infancy and young adulthood. The impact if left untreated until late adolescence will be illustrated with original notes of a parent versus the behavioural impact and internal experiences of the child. This workshop hopes to raise awareness of a more neglected area of child trauma and highlight the dissociation that might inevitably be part of the complex trauma as well as of traumatic medical treatment. Left untreated, it might have a significant impact on the child.

Assessing and treating emotional regulation and stabilisation in children and adolescents with complex trauma and dissociation.

There is presently no consensus whether children and adolescents with complex trauma and dissociation should receive help to process their trauma. In some areas, this is seen, as a “risk” and that even the use of EMDR might not be safe for this population. This might be one of the reasons why this group of children and adolescents often receive a differential diagnosis where medication or alternative types of therapy for instance attachment-based therapies or CBT is viewed as more appropriate, albeit with no trauma processing. The main reason for the caution about addressing the trauma of this population of children is their high levels of emotional dysregulation.

In this workshop information will be shared on the process and techniques, which can be used to ensure adequate emotional stability to proceed with effective trauma processing.

At the hand of case examples, this workshop will firstly look at the assessment of the emotional stability and interventions to improve that. Secondly it will focus on the neurological aspects of stabilisation with multiple techniques that can be used to address the long standing neurological anxiety, fear, anger and emotional regulation in order to proceed with the trauma processing.

Dr Angela Kennedy

Details to follow.

Dr Jo Russel

“Beam me up Scotty! : Do we need to change our technique for children that dissociate?”

Dr Jo Russell is Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist who completed doctoral research on potential changes to traditional psycho-analytic technique when treating children that dissociate in 2014. Jo has over 20 years of experience working with traumatized children and young people, with a special interest in helping those that find themselves in our care systems.  Jo is Professional Lead for Child Psychotherapy at Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust and is the Senior editor of the Journal of Child Psychotherapy. 

Jo lives in Brighton with her two adult and three step-children, where she and her partner are urban smallholders and keen beekeepers.

Les Ryan

Les Ryan is working as Senior Therapist at Integrate Families.  Integrate Families is the National Centre for Children with Complex Trauma and Dissociation in England.  Les practice as a specialist in the complexities of the adoptive family system, assisting with attachment, trauma and dissociation.  Les also presents training in subjects and topics that will enhance the understanding of parents and professional involved with children and adolescents with complex trauma and dissociation.

Profiling of the complex Adolescent in the family system.

How the history and life story of the child has impacted the child to develop the complex behaviours seen in the adolescents with trauma and dissociation.  This will be done at the hand of a case study.  Further information will also be provided regarding techniques that might motivate adolescents to engage with therapy when they have dissociative symptoms as well as the role of the parents in this process. 

Lynne Ryan

Lynne is a senior therapist at Integrate Families, providing specialist therapeutic input to address trauma, attachment and dissociation in adopted children and their families. She is also the lead children’s therapist at a sexual abuse charity and works in private practice.

She has 23 years of therapeutic work experience, having worked with adults, children and families in a variety of settings including: local authority social work, charitable organisations, NHS, and voluntary agency settings. She is a HCPC registered social worker and a BACP registered counsellor.

In addition, she is an EMDR therapist and a member of EMDR UK and Ireland and has presented at the international EMDR conference in Edinburgh in 2014 and in York in 2015.

She specialises in work with traumatised children and adults and is a member of ESTD (European Society for Trauma and Dissociation) and continues to participate in and deliver training, in trauma, attachment and dissociation.

Children who are a ‘TAD’* troubled in school –Introduction

Lynne Ryan July 2016

(*T- Trauma, A- Attachment, D -Dissociation )


Trauma almost always results in dissociation in children, particularly in young children and trauma interrupts the attachment process.

For children who have experienced neglect and / or abuse, the above present major obstacles to learning.

“All learning has an emotional base” Plato.

For the purpose of this workshop the focus will be upon DISSOCIATION but must also acknowledge trauma and attachment, as they are intertwined in the ‘troubled triangle’ and also have to be addressed. The impact of traumatic experiences upon a child, coupled with attachment problems and dissociation, impacts the brain, which in turn has a major influence on how children cope in the classroom and it is no surprise, that often these are the children who struggle to achieve their academic potential in school.

By understanding the child and understanding the use of dissociation as an adaptive strategy, the child may be assisted to access their ‘thinking brain’ in school and therefore maximise their potential to learn. In this work shop, case studies will be used to explore theory to practice and to provide practical information and strategies to assist the dissociative child in the classroom.

Dr Paul William Miller

‘EMDR therapy for schizophrenia and psychosis’


Research is sparse needing critical examination and peer review. Case-reports describe success with psychosis and the findings are consistent internationally. Past trauma, when identified as an aetiological factor to psychosis, and treated with EMDR therapy results in functional improvement clinically. EMDR therapy effectively treats people with psychotic experiences, without causing destabilization. Psychotic phenomena can be tracked back to suitable targets for reprocessing and the ICoNN method proposes modifications to the standard EMDR protocol enabling the identification of these targets. This AIP-informed understanding of psychosis explains pathology: guides therapeutic endeavour and is predictive of outcome.


Paul William Miller, MD DMH MRCPsych – Psychiatrist, EMDR Consultant, Facilitator & Trainer-in-training. He has served on the EMDR UK and Ireland Association Council: chairing the training subcommittee. Dr Miller is a popular speaker, who has spoken at TEDx Belfast and Internationally presented on ‘EMDR therapy in schizophrenia and other psychoses’. He has just published a book with Springer of the same title. Having introduced EMDR therapy to the Northern Ireland NHS he founded Mirabilis Health: the first private psychiatrist-led clinic specializing in EMDR therapy. He has been an Honorary Lecturer in Birmingham University, and Queen’s University Belfast and is the recipient of: The Galloway Award, presented by the National Schizophrenia Fellowship (2000), International Society for Psychiatric Genetics – Travelling Scholarship (2001), and The NI Section of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Research Prize (2002). 

Intermediate Experience Level

Dr Adrian Stierum

Adrian J. Stierum M.D. is working as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He is treating acute and chronically traumatized children and adolescents with dissociative disorders. He contributed as a co-editor to ‘Psychofarmaca in de KJP’ (G.C.Dieleman, B.Dierckx, M.B.Hofstra. Van Gorcum 2011. ISBN 9789023247234) the Dutch guideline for psychopharmacological treatment of children and adolescents. For the Dutch justice department he examines young perpetrators and victims of severe (sexual) violence.

He is working at an ortho-psychiatric clinic for youth with severe behavioural problems and psychiatric disorders.

Adrian is a member of the Child and Adolescent special interest group and the Child and Adolescent committee of the ISSTD. Together with Fran Waters he has written a chapter about psychopharmacological interventions with children and adolescents with a dissociative disorder.

Pharmacology for children and adolescents with complex trauma and dissociation.

This workshop will describe the essential aspects of using psychopharmacological interventions, medication, in the treatment of children with dissociative disorders and complex traumatization. There is no specific medication that addresses dissociative symptoms. In addition, there is virtually no scientific research on psychopharmacological interventions for these patients. At the same time, clinical observation suggests that children and adolescents with dissociative disorders use more medication than children and adolescents with other psychiatric disorders often with poor efficacy.

General guidelines are presented, scientific research is reviewed and case histories will be discussed.

Claire Harrison-Breed

Claire has over 25 years’ experience working therapeutically and in a range of setting. As a registered Gestalt Psychotherapist, Counsellor, CBT therapist, Play Therapist and Social worker she offers a range of tailored therapeutic interventions for children and families where the child is looked after, in care or post adoption. She specialises in working with trauma, dissociation and attachment difficulties in both children and adults. Claire has worked in statutory, voluntary and the private sector delivering services to children and families that have experienced trauma. Alongside therapy, Supervision and providing Continued Professional Development trainings, Claire works part time as a Senior Lecturer in Counselling for the University of Northampton.

Title: ‘The Voice of the Family’ Supporting Parents and Carers of Children Experiencing Trauma and Dissociation


“Trauma really does confront you with the best and the worst. You see the horrendous things that people do to each other, but you also see resiliency, the power of love, the power of caring, the power of commitment, the power of commitment to oneself, the knowledge that there are things that are larger than our individual survival” Dr Bessel van der Kolk — Restoring the Body: Yoga, EMDR, and Treating Trauma

This practical workshop is based on over twenty years’ experience of working with foster carers, adoptive parents and their children. The aim of the workshop is to consider parents and cares experiences of parenting children that have experienced trauma and dissociation. This will be examined through the lens of both the child and the parents or carers histories, and the impact this has on the here and now family functioning. Exploration of secondary and vicarious trauma alongside parents and carers own trauma histories will be considered when contextualising our understanding of best practice in supporting parents and carers.

A range of creative practical strategies for supporting parents and carers will be offered and explored throughout the workshop as well as opportunities for the sharing of delegates own experiences best practice.

David Stimson

David is a UKCP registered child therapist and is a founding director of Child & Adolescent Therapy Solutions (CATS) based in the North East of England. David has been working with children and families for over 14 years and has much experience of schools and the education system. David is also currently working in the field of assessments, attachment, trauma and dissociation and is clinically involved with post adoption.

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