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In-Congress Workshop 6: Friday Early Afternoon and Friday Late Afternoon (F2W6 & F3W6)

Complex Trauma & Dissociation Part 1&2

by Robin Spiro, and Judith Margolin


When treating our most traumatized and dissociative clients, we must tailor interventions to their underlying affect and needs. For some,

memories elicit fear or even terror. For others, self-blame, disgust, or feelings of betrayal and aloneness predominate.

In this workshop, we will demonstrate several interventions to address these needs, which are only possible within the safety of an attuned and trusting limited reparenting relationship. We will demonstrate methods of imagery rescripting along with techniques to keep clients within their window of tolerance while exploring their past. The workshop will be interactive with opportunities to discuss and practice these techniques.

Teaching Methods:

We will demonstrate methods of attending to the varied needs of complex trauma and dissociative patients. We will discuss the theoretical basis for these interventions, demonstrate them, and provide opportunities for discussion and practice. We will also demonstrate the vital role that a trusting limited reparenting relationship plays in the success of any intervention with this treatment population.

Learning Objectives:

1. Participants will distinguish schema, affect states and needs which are sequelae of Complex Trauma.

2. Participants will identify trauma focused interventions matched to their client’s schema, modes and needs.

3. Participants will develop an understanding of the relationship between attachment, limited reparenting and the effectiveness of trauma focused interventions.

4. Participants will practice the integration of trauma processing interventions, such as distancing, fractionation and pendulation, as well as rescripting of traumatic experiences.

Workshop Intended For:

Intermediate (Participants have had basic ST training)

Relevant Background Readings on Topic:

Contextual Schema Therapy, Roediger et al; Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors, Fisher; Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Ogden et al

    About the Presenters:

    Robin Spiro:

    Robin Spiro, LCSW, maintains a private practice in Springfield, New Jersey, USA, with a specialty in the treatment of adolescents and adults with complex trauma and dissociation. As a long time advanced certified Schema Therapist and trainer/supervisor, she facilitates supervision groups for Schema therapists globally who are working with these challenging populations. Robin is also current chair, and instructor, in the ISST Supervisory Skills Development Program, which has recently launched and will be the training vehicle for future Schema Therapy supervisors. In addition to Schema Therapy, Robin is trained in EMDR, Internal Family Systems and family therapy models, and integrates neurobiological knowledge in her treatment of trauma. She has presented in the areas of complex trauma and dissociative identity disorder in ISST conferences in Vienna and Amsterdam. 

    Judith Margolin:

    Judith Margolin, Psy.D, has recently returned to full time clinical practice, specializing in the treatment of interpersonal trauma and dissociative identity disorder after retiring as the Clinical Director of the Penn Medicine Princeton House Behavioral Health Women’s Program, in Princeton, NJ. She was responsible for clinical oversight, strategic planning, staff training and program development at the Women’s Program, a program serving women with acute emotional dysregulation, trauma, substance abuse and disordered eating. Dr. Margolin serves as Visiting Faculty at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. She is a certified Advanced Schema Therapist and Supervisor of Schema Therapy, a foundationally trained DBT therapist and has received post graduate training in sex therapy and hypnosis. Dr. Margolin has presented in the area of Trauma and Dissociation both nationally and internationally, including at two previous ISST conferences. 

    Why Schema Therapy?

    Schema therapy has been extensively researched to effectively treat a wide variety of typically treatment resistant conditions, including Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Read our summary of the latest research comparing the dramatic results of schema therapy compared to other standard models of psychotherapy.

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