Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors integrates a neurobiologically informed understanding of trauma, dissociation, and attachment with a practical approach to treatment, all communicated in straightforward language accessible to both client and therapist. Readers will be exposed to a model that emphasizes "resolution"—a transformation in the relationship to one’s self, replacing shame, self-loathing, and assumptions of guilt with compassionate acceptance. Its unique interventions have been adapted from a number of cutting-edge therapeutic approaches, including Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems, mindfulness-based therapies, and clinical hypnosis. Readers will close the pages of Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors with a solid grasp of therapeutic approaches to traumatic attachment, working with undiagnosed dissociative symptoms and disorders, integrating "right brain-to-right brain" treatment methods, and much more. Most of all, they will come away with tools for helping clients create an internal sense of safety and compassionate connection to even their most dis-owned selves.
This book is intended for therapists and clients who feel stymied in trauma treatment by stuckness and internal conflict. Whether these issues present in the form of chronic depression, shame, longing to die, volatility, or longing for connection coupled with fear and mistrust, the underlying cause is invariably trauma-related self-alienation. The premise of this book is that stuckness and conflict result from disturbances not just in attachment to others but in attachment to self-in particular to the dissociated, disowned parts of the individual. In this perspective, dissociation is de-mystified: trauma, neglect, and attachment failure all necessitate some degree of dissociative disconnection as a way of preserving sanity and bodily integrity in traumatic environments. We survive at the cost of disowning our most wounded, traumatized selves but pay a price later when having turned against ourselves results in symptoms of shame, fear, self-loathing, depression, bipolar disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder.
This book integrates theoretical material on trauma, dissociation, neurobiology, and attachment with a practical, “hand's on” approach to the treatment of traumatized clients. To help therapists and clients reach below the level of “talking about,” readers are exposed to interventions drawn from a number of cutting edge therapeutic approaches, including Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Internal Family Systems, mindfulness-based cognitive therapies, and clinical hypnosis.
This book is intended to appeal to clients, therapists and other helping professionals working with trauma, attachment disorders, and dissociation which manifest in complex symptoms and troubled therapeutic relationships or impasses. There is a need in the trauma treatment community for more education on traumatic attachment, on “right brain-to-right brain” treatment methods, and on the treatment of dissociative disorders not as a separate and dubious syndrome but as one of a constellation of trauma-related disorders.
Table of Contents
List of Figures
Chapter One: Alienation from Self: How We Survive Overwhelming Experiences
Chapter Two: Understanding Parts, Understanding Traumatic Responses
Chapter Three: Parts Instead of Wholes: New Roles for Client and Therapist
Chapter Four: Seeing Our ‘Selves:’ an Introduction to Parts Work
Chapter Five: Befriending Our Parts: Sowing Seeds of Compassion
Chapter Six: Complications of Treatment: Traumatic Attachment
Chapter Seven: Treatment Challenges: Suicidality, Self-Harm, Addictions, and Eating Disorders
Chapter Eight: Complications of Treatment: Dissociative Disorders
Chapter Nine: Repairing the Past: Embracing Our Selves
Chapter Ten: Restoring What was Lost to Wounded Children
Appendix A: Five Steps to "Unblending"
Appendix B: Meditation Circle for Parts
Appendix C: Internal Dialogue Technique
Appendix D: Treatment Paradigm for Internal Attachment Repair
Appendix E: Dissociative Experiences Log
Appendix F: The Four Befriending Questions
About the Author:
Janina Fisher, PhD, is assistant education director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, an EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) consultant, and a former instructor at the Trauma Center, a clinic and research center founded by Bessel van der Kolk. Known for her expertise as a clinician, author, and presenter, she is also past president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation, a former instructor at Harvard Medical School, and coauthor (with Pat Ogden) of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment.