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Nov 17,2023 - Nov 18,2023    Time: 9:00 am - 4:30 pm

EMDR Advanced Training

Master Symposium - New Developments in the Treatment of Dissociative Disorders: Wisdom from Six Leading Experts

On-site attendance in Iselin, NJ: limited on-site seats for this unique symposium so register early! (bottom of this page)


Bethany Brand Video - Join us at the Symposium!

For LiveStream or On-Demand ONLY click here

Friday, Saturday, November 17-18, 2023

APA Hotel Woodbridge - 120 Wood Avenue South, Iselin, NJ 08830
The hotel is providing discounted room rates while they last. Make your reservations online or call the hotel directly at 732-494-6200. Mention the EMDR Room Block if you call.
Click here for the online booking link
Easy train access to NYC Newark International Airport is the closest airport. How to get to APA Hotel in Woodbridge, Nj by Bus, Train or Subway- Click here for directions

Starts 9:00 am EDT •8:00 am CDT • 7:00 am (noon) MDT • 6:00 am PDT
12 CE Hours: EMDRIA, Psychologists, LCSW, LMFT, LMHC, LPC and other master’s level clinicians. Check with state licensing board to confirm acceptance of NBCC credits. (full schedule below)

Program Fees (includes 12 CE hours)
$375 Early Bird ~ ~ ~ ~ $415 After November 6, 2023
15% off: Clinicians working 30+ hours for non-profits; No group discounts for the on-site program
Full refunds until Early Bird pricing ends, 80% until the week before the training, no refunds thereafter.

Presenters: Suzette Boon, Ph.D., Kathy Steele, MN, CS, Dolores Mosquera, MS, Bethany Brand, Ph.D., Ruth Lanius, MD., Ph.D., Natalia Seijo, MS.

Six leading experts in the field of complex trauma and dissociation unite to explore the most up to date clinical research and treatments for clients with dissociative disorders. Each presenter has chosen a special topic of interest that offers participants a window into cutting edge approaches for this challenging population, including (1) challenges in the clinical assessment of dissociative disorders; (2) case conceptualization for complex clients; (3) identity problems that do not involve DID and their treatment; (4) research supported interventions that support safety and growing capacities of the client; (5) an integrative neuroscientifically-guided approach drawing from a range of modalities that facilitate a mind-body connection; and (6) special issues in eating disorders treatment in dissociative clients. In addition, two panels with the presenters will focus on contemporary challenges in assessment and treatment issues. While not solely focused on EMDR therapy, the presenters will place their topics within the context of the phases of EMDR therapy.

  • What does the newest research say about treating dissociative disorders?
  • What are the major challenges in assessing dissociation?
  • How can the therapist develop an effective treatment plan?
  • How can we make clinical adjustments when treatment challenges arise?
  • Clients have many struggles with identity, not just those with dissociative disorders. How can we approach clients with multiple identities who do not meet DID criteria or who seem to have no sense of self at all?
  • What new treatment strategies have emerged from neuroscience that are helpful for complex trauma and dissociation?
  • What are the unique challenges of working with highly dissociative clients with eating disorders? How can treatment be modified to better support these clients?
Friday, November 17, 2023
9:00 AM Welcome
9:15-10:45 Part 1 Suzette Boon, Ph.D. - Challenges in Assessing Dissociative Disorders (content details below)
10:45-11:00 Break (15 minutes)
11-12:30 Part 2 Kathy Steele MN, CS - Case Conceptualization for Challenging Therapies (content details below)
12:30-1:30 Lunch (60 minutes)
1:30-3:00: Part 3 Dolores Mosquera, MS - Identity Disorder: Therapeutic challenges in the diagnosis and treatment of clients with identity confusion (content details below)
3:00-3:15 pm: Break
3:15-4:30 Part 4 Panel: Challenges in Assessment and Diagnosis
4:30: Close

Saturday, November 18, 2023
9:00 AM Welcome
9:15-10:45 Part 5 Bethany Brand, Ph.D. - Finding Solid Ground….Even With the Most Dissociative Clients! (content details below)
10:45-11:00 Break (15 minutes)
11-12:30 Part 6 Ruth Lanius, MD., Ph.D. - How the Neuroscience of The Mind Body Relationship Can Inform Clinical Practice of Highly Dissociative Individuals (content details below)
12:30-1:30 Lunch (60 minutes)
1:30-3:00: Part 7 Natalia Seijo, MS – Dissociation as the Key to the Treatment of Severe Eating Disorders (content details below)
3:00-3:15 pm: Break
3:15-4:30 Part 8 Panel: Challenges in Treatment
4:30: Close

Presentations (90 minutes each)

Challenges in Assessing Dissociative Disorders
Suzette Boon Ph.D
As clinicians, we may wonder
  • Does this patient suffer from dissociative amnesia or are memory problems caused by episodes of absorption or something else?
  • Are the voices psychotic or dissociative?
  • How do we evaluate the identity problems? Are they connected with or caused by the existence of dissociative parts of the personality or can they be explained as part of personality disorder problems?
  • How do we distinguish dissociative parts of the personality from borderline modes or ego-states?
In this presentation, Suzette Boon, Ph.D. will focus on these and other questions introducing a new diagnostic interview, the Trauma and Dissociation Symptoms Interview (TADS-I). This interview differs from other semi-structured interviews in several ways: it enables the clinician to make DSM-5 and ICD-11 diagnoses; thus, it also includes a large section on somatoform dissociative symptoms. Secondly, it includes a section on other trauma-related symptoms in order to: (1) develop a more complete clinical picture of possible comorbidity, including symptoms of PTSD and complex PTSD; (2) achieve greater insight into the (possible) dissociative organization of the personality; and (3) differentiate complex dissociative disorders from personality disorders and other disorders, such as a (complex) posttraumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), mood disorder or psychotic disorders. Finally, the TADS-I aims at making a distinction between symptoms referring to a division of the personality and symptoms that may involve other alterations of consciousness but are not per se dissociative.

Learning Objectives - Participants will be able to:
  • Describe the difference between symptoms referring to a division of the personality and symptoms that may involve other alterations of consciousness but are not per se dissociative.
  • Describe how TADS-I trauma-related questions may be helpful in differentiating dissociative disorders from other psychiatric disorders
  • List symptom profiles of dissociative and non-dissociative disorders

Case Conceptualization for Challenging Therapies
Kathy Steele, MN, CS
One of the greatest challenges in working with complex trauma disorders is to provide a step-wise, rational, and relatively steady treatment approach. Case conceptualization alerts the therapist to potential challenges in treatment, helps organize treatment approaches in chaotic situations, supports identification of specific treatment targets, and helps the therapist focus on process rather than content. Comorbidity, crises, defenses, intense transference and countertransference, developmental deficits, inner conflicts, and disorganized attachment style are only a few issues that contribute to difficulties in maintaining a stable therapy. We will explore specific ways to conceptualize a case that offers the therapist a meta-view of how the client is organized, opening a path toward a rational treatment plan. We will explore how to assess specific prognostic factors and set collaborative therapeutic goals.

  • How to stay on track in therapy with complex clients
  • How to identify the challenges that might make therapy more difficult
  • How to work with clients that have comorbid problems

Program Outline
  • What is involved in a thorough case conceptualization?
  • Identifying defenses, inner conflicts and fantasies that may interfere with therapy
  • What to look for in comorbid personality disorders: A meta-perspective
  • How to formulate a treatment plan with collaborative goals
  • A rational perspective on working with dissociative parts to promote gradual integration

Learning Objectives - Participants will be able to:
  • List at least 5 indicators of prognosis and treatment trajectory that impact treatment planning.
  • Describe how we can understand how clients organize their experiences internally.
  • Develop a treatment plan for a client with a dissociative disorder, based on clinical assessment of dissociation, defenses, personality traits, and other prognostic factors.

Identity Disorder: Therapeutic Challenges in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Clients with Identity Confusion
Dolores Mosquera, MS
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of clients who firmly hold on to certain diagnostic labels to explain their discomfort to others. Some clients introduce themselves as having Multiple Personality Disorder or DID, and sometimes clinicians accept this framework without further exploration and design treatment accordingly. A significant portion of these clients are adolescents or have histories as teenagers that include problems fitting in with a group peer and societal groups. When one's own identity does not feel acceptable to others, it generates an internal identity conflict that can lead to efforts to imitate or create identity features to be better seen, liked, accepted, or valued by others. It has also been observed that the excess of information found in social media can increase the sense of confusion in those cases who already have issues with identity. When interfacing with the mental health world, young people may come to believe that they meet criteria for DDNOS or DID. Presentations and symptomatology of people with DID/DDNOS and those with other types of identity confusion difficulties can be markedly different. Learning how to differentiate these differences is critical. Otherwise, treatment can reinforce confusion and miss opportunities to assist the client with healthy identity development. Clinical case examples will be shown to illustrate diagnostic differences, choice points and how to adapt treatment to the various presentations.

Learning Objectives - Participants will be able to:
  • Describe dimensions of adolescent identify conflict
  • Differentiate true DID diagnostic symptoms from those mimicking DID symptomology
  • Describe treatment differences for each condition

Finding Solid Ground….Even With the Most Dissociative Clients!
Bethany Brand, Ph.D.
Highly dissociative, traumatized patients often present with an overwhelming array of severe clinical problems and frequent crises. Bethany Brand will discuss the evidence-informed approach that she, Ruth Lanius, and Hugo Schielke have developed called Finding Solid Ground. This program guides individuals with trauma-related dissociation to develop skills and capacities that are linked with decreased symptoms, reduced self-harm, improved emotion regulation, and increased self-compassion. Dr. Brand will provide an overview of the journaling and practice exercises used in the Finding Solid Ground program; this is the program that was tested in the Treatment of Patients with Dissociative Disorders (TOP DD) studies. She will describe pragmatic, research-informed techniques for managing dissociative patients’ reliance on dissociation so that attendees can leave with pragmatic ideas about helping their patients “find solid ground”.

Program Outline
  • Common patterns among highly dissociative individuals
  • Myths about dissociative identity disorder (DID)
  • Overview of the TOP DD Network studies including the expert-recommended interventions used in stabilizing highly dissociative individuals
  • Common triggers and functions of self-harm
  • Discuss the Finding Solid Ground Program: a participant- and research-informed educational program for dissociative clients

Learning Objectives - Participants will be able to:
  • Describe interventions recommended by experts that help stabilize dissociative individuals in the first stage of treatment for complex trauma
  • Utilize specific skills used in the research-supported Finding Solid Ground program that has been shown to improve safety, emotion regulation, and self-compassion in dissociative individuals
  • Assess the functions that self-harm and other high-risk behaviors may serve in traumatized individuals
  • Using peer-reviewed research, challenge 2 myths about treating individuals with dissociative identity disorder

How the Neuroscience of The Mind Body Relationship Can Inform Clinical Practice of Highly Dissociative Individuals
Ruth Lanius, MD., PhD
Trauma can have a lasting impact on the mind brain body relationship, where a profound disconnection of mind, brain, and body can frequently be observed. Recent pioneering neuroscience research is beginning to shed light on how somatic sensory processing, a key process underlying how we experience our body in space, plays a critical role in how we regulate ourselves and interact with the world around us. How can we work with highly dissociative individuals at an emotional/cognitive and somatic level to reunite brain, mind, and body? This lecture will describe an integrative, neuroscientifically-guided approach drawing from a range of modalities, including CBT, DBT, Deep Brain Reorienting, Finding Solid Ground, Sensorimotor Therapy, SMART, EMDR therapy, and IFS to facilitate a mind-body connection that was, or was not ever, there before. It will be illustrated through case examples how such an approach can lay the foundation for the restoration of an embodied self that is capable of feeling fully alive and engage in safe relationships with others.

Learning Objectives - Participants will be able to:
  • Describe the clinical manifestations of the mind, brain, body relationship in the aftermath of trauma.
  • Discuss the brain correlates of the mind, brain, body relationship after trauma.
  • Describe an integrative treatment approach to overcome the mind, body, brain disconnect in highly dissociative individuals

Dissociation as the Key to the Treatment of Severe Eating Disorders
Natalia Seijo, MS
Common characteristics of severe cases of eating disorders include chronic and persistent symptoms over time. In these cases, interventions offering the most common treatment protocols and behavioral approaches to the client’s relationship toward food and their body, are typically insufficient. Although improvements can be achieved, they are usually temporary leading to discouragement. Most standard treatment approaches do not take dissociation into account, and the omission of clinical work with dissociation and dissociative parts can actually further crystallize the disorder. When identifying dissociation in eating disorders, it is important for clinicians to conceptualize the most severe cases where the meaning of food, eating and other behaviors related to the body become the expression of what happens in their inner world. It is important to identify and understand the most frequent dissociative parts in these disorders. Both types of eating disorders, from restrictive tendencies to overeating provide clues as to what they protect and mean to the client. By understanding and identifying dissociation, and its role in these disorders, we have the key to resolving the most difficult cases. It is important to know which part refuses to eat or eats too much and phobias between parts are common and must be addressed.

Learning Objectives - Participants will be able to:
  • Explain the role of dissociation in the eating disorders
  • Provide examples of different dissociated parts as they contribute to eating disorders
  • Explain phobias between parts and methods for integrating these in the treatment of eating disorders

Suzette Boon, Ph.D.

Suzette A. Boon PhD, 1949, is a clinical psychologist, and psychotherapist specialized in the treatment of chronic traumatization and dissociative disorders. She translated and validated the Dutch version of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Dissociative Disorders (SCID-D) and received a PhD for her thesis “Multiple Personality Disorder in the Netherlands” in 1993. She has published several books, book chapters and many articles both on diagnosis as well as treatment of dissociative disorders. She has developed a skills training manual for patients with a complex dissociative disorder: Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation (Boon, Steele, & Van der Hart, 2011). She is co-author of the book “Treating Trauma-Related Dissociation, A Practical, Integrative Approach” (Steele, Boon & Van der Hart, 2017) that won the Pierre Janet writing award of ISSTD in 2017. She has developed a new semi structured interview for complex dissociative disorders and trauma related symptoms: the “Trauma and Dissociation Symptoms Interview (TADS-I) “. A new book, Assessing Trauma-Related Dissociation, with the TADS-I, including this diagnostic interview, has just been published (Boon, 2023). She is currently working in private practice. She is a trainer and supervisor and teaches in many different countries. Suzette is co-founder of the European Society for Trauma and Dissociation (ESTD) and was the first president of this Society. The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) granted her the David Caul Memorial Award in 1993, the Morton Prince Award in 1994 and the President’s Award of distinction and the status of fellow in 1995 for her contributions to diagnosis, treatment, research and education in the field of dissociative disorders. In 2009 She received the LifeTime Achievement Award and in 2011 the Pierre Janet Writing Award for the book Coping with trauma-related Dissociation a skills training for patients and their therapists. In 2017 she received the Pierre Janet Writing Award as second author of the book Treating Trauma-related Dissociation. A practical integrative approach.

Kathy Steele, MN, CS

Kathy Steele, MN, CS has been in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia since 1985. She is also an Adjunct Faculty at Emory University. Kathy is a Fellow and a past President of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD). She is the recipient of several awards for her clinical and published works, including the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award. She received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Emory University in 2006. She has authored numerous publications in the field of trauma and dissociation, including three books, and many book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles. She is sought as a consultant and supervisor, and as an international lecturer on topics related to trauma, dissociation, attachment, and psychotherapy.

Dolores Mosquera, MS

Dolores Mosquera is a psychologist and psychotherapist specializing in complex trauma, personality disorders, and dissociation. She is the director of the Institute for the Study of Trauma and Personality Disorders. INTRA-TP) in A Coruña, Spain—a 3-clinic private institution initially founded in 2000. She collaborates with two different Domestic Violence Programs, one focused on Women Victims of DV and another one on Males with Violent Behavior. Dolores has extensive teaching experience leading seminars, workshops, and lectures internationally. Dolores also teaches in several Universities and collaborates supervising Clinical Psychologists in postgraduate training programs in Spain. She has participated as a guest speaker in numerous conferences and workshops throughout Europe, Asia, Australia, and North, Central, and South America. She has published several books, book chapters and articles on personality disorders, complex trauma, and dissociation. Dolores received the David Servan-Schreiber award for outstanding contributions to the EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) field in 2017, was made Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation in 2018, for her contributions to the trauma and dissociation field, and received the MAM10 Prix David Servan-Schreiber award in 2021 to a foreign researcher who has made a notable international contribution, having advanced research in the field of EMDR. In 2022 Dolores received the award Professional of the Year in the category of Psychology for the trajectory and significant contributions in dignifying the profession (psychology).

Bethany Brand, Ph.D.

Bethany Brand, Ph.D. is a Professor at Towson University with over 30 years clinical and research experience in assessing, treating, and researching trauma disorders and dissociation. Dr. Brand has published over 130 professional papers and chapters related to the impact of trauma and attachment. She is the author of The Concise Guide to the Assessment and Treatment of Trauma-Related Dissociation, and a co-author of Finding Solid Ground: Overcoming Obstacles in Trauma Treatment and The Finding Solid Ground Workbook. Dr. Brand treats complex trauma patients and serves as a forensic expert in trauma-related cases.

Ruth Lanius, MD, Ph.D.

Ruth A. Lanius, M.D., Ph.D. is a Psychiatry Professor and Harris-Woodman Chair at Western University of Canada, where she is the director of the Clinical Research Program for PTSD. Ruth has over 25 years of clinical and research experience with trauma-related disorders. She established the Traumatic Stress Service at London Health Sciences Center, a program that specializes in the treatment of psychological trauma. Ruth has received numerous research and teaching awards, including the Banting Award for Military Health Research. She has published over 150 research articles and book chapters focusing on brain adaptations to psychological trauma and novel adjunct treatments for PTSD. Ruth regularly lectures on the topic of psychological trauma both nationally and internationally. Ruth has co-authored two books: The Effects of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease: The Hidden Epidemic and Healing the Traumatized Self: Consciousness, Neuroscience, Treatment. Ruth is a passionate clinician scientist who endeavors to understand the first-person experience of traumatized individuals throughout treatment and how it relates to brain functioning.

Natalia Seijo, MS

Natalia Seijo is a psychologist and psychotherapist who specializes in eating disorders (EDs), dissociation and complex trauma. She is the director of an outpatient clinic which she founded 20 years ago in A Coruña, Spain. She is an EMDR Europe consultant and facilitator for the EMDR Institute. She is currently developing her doctoral thesis on the prevalence of dissociation within outpatient populations in Spain and conducting research on EDs. She has presented at numerous international conferences and leads frequent workshops in the Spanish EMDR association on the topic of EMDR and Eating Disorders. Her publications on eating disorders treatment link trauma, attachment and dissociation. She collaborates with several universities in Spain in the development of clinical training programs, including the EMDR Master’s program in the UNED university in Spain.

EMDR International Association EMDR Advanced Training & Distance Learning, LLC (EMDR ATDL) is an EMDRIA Approved Credit Provider (#07002) and maintains responsibility for this program and its content in accordance with EMDRIA standards.
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