Trauma-Informed Stabilisation Treatment
Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders, Compulsive Self-Harm, and Dissociative Symptoms
Childhood trauma, neglect, and abandonment leave clients with overwhelmingly painful emotions and a compromised nervous system that impairs their capacity to tolerate everyday life, much less trauma-related activation. Unaware that their intense reactions are driven by nonverbal traumatic memories lodged in the body, they resort to desperate measures to manage the overwhelm. Research shows that a history of trauma tends to be associated with self-harm, suicidality, eating disorders, addictive behavior and substance abuse, numbing and disconnection, and dissociative splitting or fragmentation. Traditional methods of treating these issues, whether in hospital, residential, or outpatient settings, have historically not addressed the underlying trauma and have generally been only moderately effective with issues of safety.
TIST or Trauma-Informed Stabilization Treatment was developed to provide a trauma-informed approach to the challenges of treating self-destructive and dissociative symptoms. Based on theoretical principles drawn from the neuroscience research on trauma and structural dissociation, TIST offers a treatment approach that integrates mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, ego state techniques, and Internal Family Systems. It has been used successfully to address the challenges of treating individuals with diagnoses of complex PTSD, borderline personality, bipolar disorder, addictive and eating disorders, and dissociative disorders. Because it contextualizes self-destructive behavior as trauma-related, patients feel less pathologized and more validated, increasing their motivation to overcome self-destructive impulses as a step toward overcoming past experiences of betrayal and victimization.
Participants will be able to:
- describe the neurobiological effects of traumatic experience
- discuss the relationship between autonomic arousal and addictive behavior
- utilize the Abstinence/Relapse Cycle to educate and motivate addictive clients
- identify interventions that regulate autonomic arousal and support sobriety
- employ concepts and techniques drawn from Sensorimotor Psychotherapy and Internal Family Systems
- identify animal defense survival responses as they manifest as symptoms in traumatised clients
- describe how splitting and compartmentalization enhance survival from trauma
- discuss the use of the structural dissociation model with clients
- utilize mindfulness-based language and interventions with structurally dissociated clients
- implement stabilization techniques drawn from Internal Family Systems
- improve client ability for self-compassion and self-acceptance
- increase internal sense of safety by using the social engagement system
Janina Fisher, Ph.D.
Dr Fisher is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Instructor at the Trauma Centre, an outpatient clinic and research centre founded by Bessel van der Kolk. Known for her expertise as both a clinician and consultant, she is also Assistant Director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, an EMDR International Association Credit Provider, Psychological Services Director, Khiron Clinics UK, past president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation, and a former Instructor, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Fisher lectures and teaches nationally and internationally on topics related to the integration of the neurobiological research and newer trauma treatment paradigms into traditional therapeutic modalities. She is the author of Psychoeducational Aids for Treating Psychological Trauma, co-author of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Dissociation, and author of the forthcoming book, Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Internal Self-Alienation.
Published and Unpublished Articles
- “Putting the Pieces Together: 25 Years of Learning Trauma Treatment” | Download PDF
Published in Psychotherapy Networker, May/June 2014.
- “The Treatment of Structural Dissociation in Chronically Traumatized Patients” | Download PDF
Published in In Anstorp & Benum (2014). Trauma treatment in practice: complex trauma and dissociation. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
- “Sensorimotor Approaches to Trauma Treatment” | Download PDF
Published in Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, July 2011.
- “Attachment as a Sensorimotor Experience” | Download PDF
Published in Attachement: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, July, 2011.
- “Retraining the Brain: Harnessing Our Neuralplasticity” | Download PDF
Published in the Psychotherapy Networker, March, 2011.
- “Brain to Brain: The Therapist as Neurobiological Regulator” | Download PDF
Published in the Psychotherapy Networker, January, 2010.
- “Working with the Neurobiological Legacy of Trauma” (unpublished paper) | Download PDF
- “Addictions and Trauma Recovery” (unpublished paper) | Download PDF
- “Stabilization in the Treatment of Trauma” (unpublished paper) | Download PDF
- “Self-harm and Suicidality” (unpublished paper) | Download PDF
- “Dissociative Phenomena in the Everyday Lives of Trauma Survivors” | Download PDF
- “Adapting EMDR Techniques in the Treatment of Dissociative or Dysregulated Clients” (unpublished paper) | Download PDF
- “Modified EMDR Resource Development Protocol” (unpublished paper) | Download PDF
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