Dissociation Often Caused By Disrupted Attachment

Andrew Leeds' Sonoma Psychotherapy Training Institute posted a great article on its blog: Developmental Pathways to Dissociation. They quote Dutra, Bianchi, Siegel, and Lyons-Ruth saying that ". . . lack of positive maternal affective involvement, maternal flatness of affect, and overall disrupted maternal communication were the strongest predictors of dissociation in young adulthood." Read the

By |2011-06-29T23:40:32-07:00June 29th, 2011|1 Comment

When Encouraging “Self-Care” Feels Like a Brush-Off

Dr. Kathleen Young, writes in her wonderful blog: Treating Trauma in Chicago, about when self-care is interpreted as abandonment. Read the article and the comments, then look at the rest of this great blog:  http://drkathleenyoung.wordpress.com/2010/11/08/does-self-care-mean-others-dont/

By |2010-11-09T09:43:00-08:00November 9th, 2010|Comments Off on When Encouraging “Self-Care” Feels Like a Brush-Off

Imaginal Nurturing, Ego States and Attachment

I've taken two different versions of April Steele's Developing a Secure Self course. Each time I learned more about creating good, strong, attachment experiences in clients with unfortunate childhoods. (Most of my caseload!) April teaches assessment, therapeutic stance, and has scripted protocols for bringing clients' loving adult attention to their infant and toddler selves. Clients can

By |2010-10-20T08:41:53-07:00October 20th, 2010|2 Comments

Trauma Treatment Handbook: Protocols Across the Spectrum

My copy of the new book arrived today. Here is what Diana Fosha says about it:"This is a thorough, accessible, and very practical book, filled with resources and sound ideas, filtered through the intelligence and experience of a savvy, compassionate, down-to-earth, and very experienced clinician. It is like a travel guide to the land of

By |2010-08-17T19:22:38-07:00August 17th, 2010|5 Comments

Lessons Learned While Writing A Book for Psychotherapists

I'm 13 chapters into writing Trauma Treatments Handbook, Across the Spectrum. Here's the advice I'd give anyone doing the same thing: Get a second screen for your computer. Keep the reference page, internet search materials, etc. open on the second screen. It will save you days of searching for the right open file. Start the

By |2009-09-07T20:28:46-07:00September 7th, 2009|5 Comments

Addiction, a form of dissociation, II

Ulrich Lanius, a clincial psychologist, researcher, therapist, and writer in Vancouver sent me this: "The connection between dissocation, depression and addiction is a fascinating one and more likely than not  related to attachment. An article written by Bessel van der Kolk some insight into this: http://www.cirp.org/library/psych/vanderkolk/ For more intensive reading, Alan Schore describes the effect between

By |2009-04-28T08:11:03-07:00April 28th, 2009|5 Comments

UCLA Trauma Conference Synthesis

I escaped the conference yesterday, and am typing in the dark this morning beside my snoring husband. I can’t see my notes, so let me tell you my impression of the conference: Trauma impacts the right hemisphere of the brain. Helpful trauma therapy targets the right brain. Left brain cognitions and interpretations don’t have much

By |2009-03-09T08:59:53-07:00March 9th, 2009|7 Comments

UCLA Trauma Conference Day 2: Dan Siegel, Mindfulness

Daniel Siegel: A System's View of Disintegration & Integration (He's still cute, he's still brilliant, he speaks in easy-to-remember aphorisms and he's still heartful. What's not to like?) "Integration is the linking of differentiated parts. The concept is useful for assessment, tx planning and therapy. . .Presence is absent in trauma survivors. Presence begins with

By |2009-03-08T22:21:23-07:00March 8th, 2009|1 Comment

UCLA 2009 Trauma Conference Day 1, van der Kolk & Shapiro

Day 1: Bessel van der Kolk is lovely. He's humble, he's funny, and he is the premiere researcher on the neurobiology and/or efficacy of trauma treatments in the world. And cute and brilliant, of course. Here are nearly random gems from 3 hours of notes: With trauma, there are no stories, only sensory experience: images,

By |2009-03-06T22:35:54-08:00March 6th, 2009|2 Comments

EMDR and Depression poster

I applied to the EMDR International Conference to lead a 3-hour workshop on Treating Depression with EMDR. I wrote four chapters about it in the new book, EMDR Solutions II, for Depression, Eating Disorders, Performance, & More. Instead of a workshop, I was invited to do a poster. I know how to write. I know

By |2008-09-10T08:17:55-07:00September 10th, 2008|2 Comments

WALL-E, a Story of Attachment

WALL-E, the new Pixar movie, is the perfect anthropomorphic attachment story. It's also a great movie and funny as hell. The first half, and most of the rest is an amost silent movie. Our hero, is a trash compactor robot who lives with an indestructible and graceful cockroach for company. He watches "Hello Dolly" video

By |2008-07-04T17:18:53-07:00July 4th, 2008|2 Comments

Jim Marshall on Psychotherapy and Religion

This is from an email sent by Jim Marshall, a great psychotherapist, deep thinker, and good soul: "I was delighted to see that there will be a section in your book on EMDR and Spiritual Issues. Back in 1992, Francine asked me and a clinician from California to lead the EMDR and Spirituality Special Interest

By |2008-05-03T21:50:47-07:00May 3rd, 2008|1 Comment

Dan Siegel’s Parenting From the Inside Out

The Reading Group (Brena Lever and I) met last week to discuss Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel Siegel and Mary Hartzell. At that moment Seigel happened to be meeting with the Dalai Lama, Dan Goleman, and some other child psychology types, about a mile from my house, to discuss how to grow compassionate

By |2008-04-21T18:41:48-07:00April 21st, 2008|2 Comments

April Steele’s New Book

April Steele has updated her self-published book, and every therapist should have it. You don't have to know EMDR to use her techniques. Her CD's are wonderful, too. She's a treasure, and since she's "practicing for retirement", she's no longer teaching workshops. If you want her materials, order them from her. Get the whole toolkit.

By |2008-03-03T14:14:56-08:00March 3rd, 2008|1 Comment


myshrink.com is a fantastic website/blog full of information about therapy, bodymind connection, anxiety, and depression. It has some of the most cogent explainations I've seen. It's a great resource for clients as well as therapists. It's written and overseen by Suzanne LaCombe, a therapist in Vancouver, BC. She writes clearly, has a sense of humor,

By |2007-11-14T07:32:48-08:00November 14th, 2007|Comments Off on MYSHRINK.COM

The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy

The book group discussed The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy by Louis Cozolino (W.W. Norton & Co. 2002). We liked it. Cozolino's book is easy to understand and moves along nicely. It is packed with information about the brain. Its case examples were great, though too few. Cozolino writes about brain structures--the triune brain (lizard, mammalian, human),

By |2007-11-09T21:04:29-08:00November 9th, 2007|2 Comments

Reading Group: The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy by Cozolino

The next book in the reading group will be The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy, by Louis Cozolino (W.W. Norton, 2003). It's easier to read than you might think, and written by a psychologist, not a medical person, who struggled through the medical/scientific texts in order to bring we clinicians the good news. According to Cozolino, we

By |2007-10-23T18:19:41-07:00October 23rd, 2007|Comments Off on Reading Group: The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy by Cozolino

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

We all know what Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) looks like: repetitive rituals, obsessive thoughts, and the people who are thinking or doing the compulsive thinking or behavior and know that they're not being rational. Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Order (OCPD) is something else. People with OCPD are detail oriented, to the exclusion of the big picture. They are

By |2007-09-03T16:37:02-07:00September 3rd, 2007|6 Comments

Long-Term Clients

I've been in practice since 1981. During that time, I've seen around 1000 clients and in the last decade consulted to other therapists about at least a thousand more. DSM diagnoses are one way to describe clients. Another way is by the length of time they stay in therapy. (Not counting analysands) Here is a

By |2007-07-29T21:13:08-07:00July 29th, 2007|4 Comments

Intersubjectivity and Contradance

I went to a local contradance last night. For the uninitiated, contradance is a New England-based, 200-year-old social dance that has spread around the entire U.S. and some of Canada. It's easy, fun, aerobic, has participants of all ages, and is, for most, absolutely relational. Every three minutes a dancer is thrust into the arms

By |2007-05-19T16:38:57-07:00May 19th, 2007|Comments Off on Intersubjectivity and Contradance

“A General Theory of Love”

A General Theory of Love (Lewis, et al. Vintage Books, 2000) is a brief, poetically written, easily understood book about attachment. I read it several years ago, and it was just as enjoyable to read it again. The reading group liked it too. We all recommend it as an introduction to attachment theory and to

By |2007-04-29T15:34:09-07:00April 29th, 2007|Comments Off on “A General Theory of Love”

Positive Affect

Happiness, Joy, Giggles, Aha!s,Shared Humor. What place does positive affect have in therapy? In my opinion, a big one. Delving deep and bringin to consciousness avoided trauma responses, anxiety, anger, hatred, and shame are important elements of any therapy. First you find them, then you process them in some way, so that the client is

By |2007-04-05T07:58:31-07:00April 5th, 2007|Comments Off on Positive Affect

Diana Fosha’s “Transforming Power of Affect”

The Tranforming Power of Affect (Basic Behavioral Science, 2000) is the best therapy book I've read in many years. It is a readable, comprehensive, and creative survey of attachment research and how to apply it to your adult clients. Diana Fosha comes from the Short Term Dynamic Therapy lineage of Davanloo and Malan, and adds

By |2007-04-02T14:38:27-07:00April 2nd, 2007|Comments Off on Diana Fosha’s “Transforming Power of Affect”


As I travel up the California coast with my husband, I am watching our interactions through the new lenses I obtained at the Attachment Conference. My high-strung husband goes into "mobilization" when stressed. (According to Porges, his myelenated vagal nerve switches on, he starts looking for danger, every stimulus is suspect, and bcomes unable to

By |2007-03-16T19:30:23-07:00March 16th, 2007|Comments Off on Mobilization

Day II: UCLA Attachment Conference Day 2

John Gottman on Meta-EmotionsJohn Gottman is the relationship research guru of the world. He’s studied thousands of couples to find out what makes happy and long-lasting relationships and what makes miserable short-lived ones. Today he talked about research he did with Lynn Katz, starting in 1985 on Meta-Emotions: thoughts and feelings about emotions. They identify

By |2007-03-10T22:50:42-08:00March 10th, 2007|6 Comments

UCLA Attachment Conference, Day One

I’m at the UCLA/Lifespan Learning Institute’s Attachment Conference. This year it’s called The Healing Power of Emotion: Integrating Relationships, Body, and Mind. Today, about 500, tomorrow and Sunday, about 1000 people will sit in a ballroom while a firehose full of information is directed at us. We will try to swallow all that we can.

By |2007-03-09T23:05:32-08:00March 9th, 2007|4 Comments

More “Healing Trauma”

Our book group has just finished Solomon & Siegel's Healing Trauma: attachment, mind, body, and brain. It is one of the most difficult books I've read, and quite rewarding. The first four chapters by Dan Siegel, Hesse/Main et. al, Allan Schore and Bessel van der Kolk speak to research about the interactive nature of attachment/brain

By |2007-02-25T17:46:31-08:00February 25th, 2007|Comments Off on More “Healing Trauma”

EMDR with Attachment

Here's a session I do with 7/8 of the clients who walk in the door. You are a baby in your mother's arms. Look up into her face. What do you see? With whatever they say (her disappointment, anger, depression, adoration), I have them process it. If it's adoration or love, I ask them where

By |2007-02-21T21:25:24-08:00February 21st, 2007|Comments Off on EMDR with Attachment

“Attachment Injuries”

My favorite concept of this 2-day part of Yolanda von Hockauf's Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy training is "Attachment Injury". Yolanda says that these injuries are "characterized by an abandonment or violation of trust" when one partner is very vulnerable (really sick or otherwise emotionally devastated) and the other partner is inaccessible or unresponsive. The "injured

By |2007-02-16T22:10:00-08:00February 16th, 2007|1 Comment


I've been using a new diagnostic category, though I haven't seen it in the DSM-IV-R: Hunkered-downedness. Hunkered-down clients are a few inches shorter than their natural heights. They often look younger than their natural age. They can be appeasing. They can be hyper-vigilant. On the other hand, they can be somewhat dissociated. All of them

By |2007-02-12T17:52:59-08:00February 12th, 2007|Comments Off on “Dehunkering”

Healing Trauma, reading group report

The reading group had its first meeting. We discussed the first four chapters of Healing Trauma: attachment,mind, body, and brain edited by Marion Solomon and Daniel Siegel.(W.W. Norton & Co. 2003) It's a difficult book. Several chapters speak about brain physiology. Several are in "academic speak" in which all sentences must have at least 10

By |2007-01-28T18:08:24-08:00January 28th, 2007|Comments Off on Healing Trauma, reading group report

Disorganized Attachment

I'm reading Healing Trauma: attachment, mind, body, and brain (2003,Solomon & Siegel, W.W. Norton & Company) It's a dense compilation of deep articles. The title of the chapter I just read completely describes the 50 page article: "Unresolved States Regarding Loss or Abuse Can have 'Second Generation' Effects: Disorganization, Role Inversion, and Frightening Ideation in

By |2007-01-14T22:46:03-08:00January 14th, 2007|Comments Off on Disorganized Attachment

UCLA Conference

If you are interested in learning about the science and practice of psychotherapy with some of the best minds in those disciplines check out The Healing Power of Emotion: Integrating Relationships, Body, and Mind. It's on the UCLA March 9 (the pre-conference day) and March 10-11 (the conference). Marion Solomon puts these on through the

By |2006-12-02T14:49:06-08:00December 2nd, 2006|Comments Off on UCLA Conference
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