2nd Annual Trauma Center

Summer Training Institute

July 22 - 25, 2013


Presented by Dr. Joseph Spinazzola, Ph.D.
This highly innovative workshop will lay the foundation for the Trauma Center' 2012 Summer Training Institute through its depth exploration of the impact on early maltreatment, neglect and caregiver disruption on the development of attachment, regulatory and neurobiological systems in childhood and adolescence, and the ensuing cascade of medical, psychiatric, attentional and functional challenges and accommodations that manifest across the lifespan. Our Center Director Dr. Joseph Spinazzola will guide participants in the assembly of a rich mosaic of knowledge and perspectives on the complexity of trauma adaptation comprised of incandescent "tesserae" from visionary neuroscience, applied clinical research, service systems analysis and luminous clinical case material.

Neurobiological Underpinnings of Complex Trauma Presentations
Presented by Hilary Hodgdon, Ph.D.
This workshop will address the known neurobiological mechanisms that underlie sequelae resulting from a childhood history of complex trauma. Individuals impacted by complex trauma exhibit a range of disturbances in neurobiology impacting memory, information processing, emotional response, and higher order cognition. Neurobiological adaptations resulting from trauma in turn impact the individual's ability to regulate emotion, direct and maintain attention, and control impulses. Disturbances in memory are also apparent. The clinical implications of neurobiological mechanisms will be explored.

Disrupted Faith: Attending to Client Spirituality in Complex Trauma Intervention
Presented by Jana Pressley, Psy.D.

“Traumatic events…undermine the belief systems that give meaning to human experience. They violate the victim’s faith in a natural or divine order and cast the victim into a state of existential crisis.” (Herman, 1992)

Disruption of systems of meaning is acknowledged as a core domain of impact for adults with a complex trauma history, often leading to adversely affected belief systems and deep existential angst. Themes related to hopelessness, despair, meaning-making, and mourning often overlap with spiritual and/or religious beliefs. Additionally, themes related to self-perception, including chronic guilt, shame, or a sense of unworthiness, can often be connected to spiritual perceptions and fears. This workshop will focus on how therapists can attend to the manner in which spirituality may overlap with the treatment needs of complexly traumatized clients. Attention will also be given to the potential disrupted spirituality and needs for self-care in the person of the therapist.

Vicarious Trauma and Self-Care: Insidious Risk Meets Transformative Action
Presented by Joseph Spinazzola, Ph.D.
This fully experiential workshop will immerse participants in an evening of challenging but playful self-examination, embodied action and community building. The evening session will begin with participation by all conference attendees in an exciting, multi-media exercise that "unpacks" the function of vicarious trauma as a form of empathic social contagion and explores the ensuing risks and pathways to individual and group resiliency. The second portion of this session will be devoted to engagement in cooperative play and improvisational theater exercises drawn from the Trauma Center's Trauma Drama model that have been designed to foster personal agency, promote self-regulation, expand executive function capacity, engender social attunement and transcend adversity through transformative action. An ice cream social for all Institute attendees will immediately follow this evening workshop.

Trauma Experience Integration with Complex Child and Adolescent Clients: Using the ARC Framework to Support Integration of Developmental Trauma
Presented by Margaret E. Blaustein, Ph.D.
The role and process of integrating and addressing traumatic experiences has been a challenging one to define for youth with more complex / chronic trauma histories. While there is no question that treatment for these complex youth must be grounded in an understanding of the impact of their traumatic experiences, the appropriate mechanism for processing those experiences in the context of chronic developmental impacts is an open question. In this clinically focused session, the co-developer of the Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC) framework will define and describe a perspective on and steps toward trauma experience integration (TEI) with complex clients, integrating key concepts of the ARC model. Two primary types of TEI will be delineated through description and concrete case application: (1) Integration of fragmented self-states (as applied to work with an adolescent with a history of complex developmental trauma); and (2) Development of coherent narrative (as applied to work with a 6 year-old boy with experience of preverbal acute trauma in context of a complex family system). This session is conceptualized as both didactic, reviewing key concepts, as well as active workshop, experientially building concrete clinical skill. Participants will be provided with a framework for conceptualizing this work with their own clients, and the session will include opportunity for active application of this framework to a case example.

Applying The Trauma Center Model in Treating Adult Survivors of Emotional Abuse and Neglect, with an Emphasis on Working with Dissociative Parts
Presented by Fran Grossman, Ph.D.
This workshop will begin with a description of the overarching model of the Trauma Center for working with survivors of primarily emotional abuse and neglect. We will then apply this model to working with clients, with a focus on the interpersonal processes between client and therapist and how these relate to working with relational parts and co-developing a narrative with the client. There will be some cases offered by Dr. Grossman and some brought by participants of the workshop. This workshop will include introduction and live demonstration of an innovative technique through which clinicians and their clients can access and begin to work with dissociative parts of self.

Sand Tray Therapy and Trauma Treatment with Children and Adolescents
Presented by Robert Aikin, LICSW
Sand tray therapy is an expressive therapy that promotes healing as clients create “worlds” through the use of sand, water, and symbolic miniature figurines. Sand tray therapy is an effective approach for processing traumatic material. Children and adolescents who experience complex trauma are often unable to give voice to what has happened to them. Sand tray therapy allows these clients to process traumatic material through an active, non-verbal, sensory experience that provides a safe, contained space. The use of the sand tray creates distance from the trauma, provides an “as if” character to the processing and gives control of the therapeutic process to the client.

This workshop will introduce clinicians to the use of sand tray therapy in trauma processing with children and adolescents. Using lecture, slides of actual sand trays, and experiential exercises, participants will become familiar with the history of sand tray therapy, its application for trauma treatment and its use in trauma processing. Participants will develop the skills to process sand trays through examining sand tray worlds created by children who experienced complex trauma, and by processing these trays. An experiential exercise will provide participants with the opportunity to role play and create sand trays.

Please Note: Because of the highly experiential, material-based nature of this workshop, participation will be limited to 24-participants on a first-come registration basis.

Sand Tray Therapy in Trauma Processing with Adults
Presented by Robert Aikin, LICSW
While initially developed for use with children, sand tray therapy is also a powerful therapeutic modality for adults. The use of sand tray therapy with adult trauma survivors is a powerful way to address painful, fearful, dissociative experiences (Badenock, B. 2008, Being a Brain-Wise Therapist). The sensory nature of this approach through the moving, digging, and forming of sand within the boundary of the tray has the ability to purposely focus our clients’ attention on the present moment, enhancing mindfulness and facilitating grounding. In sand play therapy our clients create worlds by moving and placing miniatures into the tray. This process becomes both a powerful tool for processing traumatic memories and for creating mental images and maps for change. These images, created within the safety of our sand play therapy sessions, continue to live on in our clients well after they have left our offices.

This workshop will explore the use of sand tray therapy in trauma processing with adults. Participants will gain an understanding of the steps and procedures utilized in sand tray therapy as well as an overview of how to structure space within your practice for sand trays and collect the miniatures needed to adequately utilize this treatment modality. An introduction to processing and analysis of the symbolic images in the sand trays, including Jungian archetypes, will be given. Additionally, participants will have the opportunity to both create their own sand trays and to practice as clinicians to facilitate the creation of a sand tray by their colleagues.

Please Note: Because of the highly experiential, material-based nature of this workshop, participation will be limited to 24-participants on a first-come registration basis.