When attachment meets trauma: Disorganization and Dissociation from childhood to adulthood
8th ESTD International Congress in Brussels, in collaboration with AFTD - Venue : DoubleTree Brussels Hotel
For a long time, the clinic of attachment and of trauma were thought of separately, even though the phenomena they dealt with were, from the outset, closely linked. The observation by paediatricians in the 1940s of the experience of children placed in institutions (hospital or not) and deprived of the presence of their parents or a benevolent attachment figure amply demonstrates this.
The theories that have structured these two fields of study have in common that they have been largely ignored by the main currents of psychotherapy, despite the promising beginnings when Bowlby identified in Freud the Hilflosigkeit (the original distress of being without help) as the prototype of the traumatic situation.
Today, it is no longer possible to consider the clinic (children, adolescents or adults) without considering the way in which early bonds are woven and structured to form the attachment strategies that continue to operate throughout life and give relationships their rhythms and their more or less painful accents.
What then of the trauma clinic and dissociative disorders? Research has long shown that attachment disorganisation is associated with child abuse, neglect and more broadly with adversity. From other studies of dissociation and from all our encounters with our DID patients we have also learned that attachment disorganisation is at the heart of their problem.
However, there are other explanatory models and much original work interpreting disorganised behaviour, instead, as a highly organised relational survival strategy for children in abusive contexts.
Given the liveliness of these fields of study and the growing interest of caregivers to better understand the issues that link trauma and attachment, it seems high time to organize a major scientific event at the international level around these two themes and to put them in perspective.
The organisation of this congress is the result of an intense collaboration between the European Society for Trauma and Dissociation (ESTD) and the Association francophone du Trauma et de la Dissociation (AFTD). And as "Unity is strength" is the motto of Belgium, we will meet in Brussels where the event will take place on 09, 10 and 11 March 2023, for a new and bilingual format (English and French).
Programme and subscription module are available on the website of the congress : Welcome | Live Congress (estd-aftd2023.brussels)