EMDR Mini-conference
pril 2 2011 at Oakland's Preservation Park





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Toward an Embodied Self: Attachment, Dissociation & EMDR.


Ulrich Lanius, Ph.D.


Current research in neuroscience and the neurobiology of dissociation is discussed and its connection to a wide variety of traumatic stress syndromes and attachment related disorders.  Dissociation is a normal and adaptive response to overwhelming experience.  At the same time, dissociative symptoms interfere with mindfulness and the continuity of self. 


Moreover, information processing becomes compromised or shut down, thus barring the integration and resolution of the traumatic experience. That is, dissociation interferes with clients’ sense of their own body, their ability to experience emotion, and their capacity for emotional regulation. As a result, dissociation interferes with effective psychotherapeutic intervention. Therefore, addressing dissociative symptoms is essential for positive treatment outcomes.


A neurobiological model is described that guides therapeutic interventions and integrates diverse approaches that include not only EMDR, but also mindfulness, body therapy approaches, ego-state interventions, sensory integration, as well as neurobiologically based interventions.  Such interventions can be used both in the preparation phase but can also form useful interweaves during information processing.


Using a neurobiologically informed approach, the case is made for the use of somatic and ego-state interventions when dissociation is a signi?cant part of the clinical presentation. Specific focus is on different ego-state and body therapy interventions to increase awareness of the self and one’s body.


Body therapy and somatic interventions are distinguished from other psychotherapeutic interventions in that they are expressed in markedly slowed-down time, in order to give clients ample time to experience the felt sense of their bodies. Similarly ego-state work can be utilized to titrate information processing, as well as provide clients’ with internal resources that aid in enhanced information processing.


Attendees will gain knowledge about possible underlying neurobiological processes with regard to attachement, dissociation and adaptive information processing and how this relates to EMDR treatment.


The workshop will teach specific interventions intended to stabilize clients, create safety, help the client stay connected or get reconnected and therefore minimize dissociative symptoms and their effect.


Participants will learn how to effectively integrate different somatic and ego-state interventions in the treatment of attachment and trauma related syndromes and dissociative disorders, as well as how to enhance information processing during the EMDR treatment.


BIO for Ulrich F. Lanius, Ph.D.:

Dr. Ulrich F. Lanius is a Registered Psychologist in Vancouver, BC with a practice in Clinical and Neuropsychology. In addition to EMDR, he has a particular interest in brain-behaviour relationships with regard to attachment, trauma and dissociation. Dr. Lanius specializes in the treatment of trauma and attachment related problems, working from a client-centered perspective, integrating EMDR, body therapy, and ego-state interventions. Dr. Lanius has presented both in North America, as well as internationally and he has authored and co-authored a variety of book chapters and articles on both the treatment and the neurobiology of dissociation.

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