Professional Family Violence Conference: Healing the Fragmented Self

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Alienation from self in the context of trauma is a survival strategy that maintains children’s attachment to caregivers by disowning themselves as “bad” or “unlovable.”  The result, however, is a deeply painful failure of self-acceptance maintained by lifelong shame and self-loathing, difficulty self-soothing, and complications in relationships with others.  Without internal compassion or a sense of worth, it is difficult to take in the compassion and acceptance of others and impossible to tolerate rejection or criticism.

To overcome this alienation from self, psychotherapy must focus on cultivating clients’ ability to observe painful emotions as communications from their disowned selves and then to provide the ‘missing experiences’ of safety and welcome.  When clients connect to their trauma-related younger selves and bring them “home,” they spontaneously feel an internal sense of warmth that transforms the implicitly remembered experience of fear and threat into a feeling of ‘safe now.’  In this workshop, we will explore the therapeutic power of fostering states of warm, compassionate acceptance of even our most deeply disowned selves.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the relationship between early trauma and alienation from self
  • Recognize clinical signs of self-alienation
  • Teach clients to mindfully notice their distressing emotions and impulses as communications from child ego states
  • Identify the contribution of the child selves in surviving the trauma
  • Describe hypnotic and somatic interventions that create an increased somatic sense of connection to disowned parts
  • Foster ‘earned secure attachment’ as the outcome of attachment bonding between adult   and child selves

About our Speaker:

Janina Fisher, PhD is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Instructor at the Trauma Center, an outpatient clinic and research center founded by Bessel van der Kolk. Known for her expertise as both a therapist and consultant, she is also past president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation, an EMDR International Association Credit Provider, a faculty member of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and a former Instructor, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Fisher has been an invited speaker at the Cape Code Institute, Harvard Medical School Conference Series, the EMDR International Association Annual Conference, University of Wisconsin, University of Westminister in London, the Psychotraumatology Institute of Europe, and the Esalen Institute. Dr. Fisher lectures and teaches nationally and internationally on topics related to the integration of research and treatment and how to introduce these newer trauma treatment paradigms in traditional therapeutic approaches.

Schedule for Conference:

Time Topic
7:30am Registration and Breakfast
8:30am Trauma and Self-Alienation

Preserving a sense of self in the context of abuse

Developmental benefits of self-alienation in a traumatic environment

Clinical signs of self-alienation

10.30am Morning Tea/Coffee
11.00am Identifying the Signs and Symptoms of Disowned Child Selves

Mindful observation of thoughts, feelings, and body sensations

Psychoeducation and re-framing of symptoms

Using “the language of parts”

Recognizing “blending”


12.30pm Lunch
1.30pm Cultivating self-compassion

Overcoming habits of self-judgment and rejection

Increasing empathy for the traumatized child

“Befriending” the parts


3.00pm Afternoon Tea/Coffee
3.30pm Resolving Traumatic Experience by “Earning” Secure Attachment

Visualization techniques

Providing the ‘missing experience’

Evoking the sensory and emotional elements of secure attachment

The healing benefits of feeling safe and welcome

4:30pm Close

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CEUs/CME’s provided by UNT Health Science Center Incedo:


Texas Licenses Marriage and
Family Therapist

This activity is approved for up to 6.0 professional continuing education hour(s) for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists in Texas.

Texas Social Work

This activity is approved for a maximum of 6.0 Clock Hours for Social Workers.

Texas Psychology Credit

This activity is approved for up to 6.0 Psychology Professional Development hour(s) in Texas.

Licensed Professional Counselor

University of North Texas Health Science Center certifies that this meets the requirements for continuing education under Texas Administrative Code. This activity provides 6.0 CEU credits.

Physician Accreditation Statement

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the University of North Texas Health Science Center, and Jewish Family Service. The University of North Texas Health Science Center is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Physician Credit Designation

The University of North Texas Health Science Center designates this live activity for a maximum of 6 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.