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Beyond Attachment: Working with Social Motivational Systems in Complex Trauma & Dissociation

Beyond Attachment: Working with Social Motivational Systems in Complex Trauma & Dissociation

We are all aware that attachment and defences (flight, fight, freeze and faint) are innate systems borne out of evolution, and that they play an enormous role in understanding and treating complex trauma. These are called motivational systems because they motivate us to act based on specific emotions, perceptions, and goals.

Times:

6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, London UK

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, New York, USA

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$69.26

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Course Credits

CPD: 3 / CE: 3

Speaker(s)

Kathy Steele

Course length in hours

3 hrs of video content

Location

Online streaming only

Full course information

In addition to attachment, there are several other important motivational systems that influence how we relate to others: collaboration, caregiving, play, competition/ ranking, and sexuality. When we function adaptively, these social motivational systems operate unconsciously in the background, shifting in seamless harmony according to the situation. However, traumatic stress can contribute to clients using certain motivational systems as a substitute for attachment in ways that are not adaptive.

Traumatized clients, whether suffering from complex trauma or PTSD, can become stuck in certain motivational systems, unable to shift easily when the situation calls for it. For example, they may use competition or sexuality as a substitute for attachment, when attachment is perceived as unhelpful or too dysregulating. These motivational systems influence the client’s goals, emotions, and perceptions, and play roles in maladaptive behaviours such as promiscuous sex, co-dependency, whether it is focused on humiliation and a sense of being “less than” others, or on the feeling of being unloved and abandoned.

Comprehending motivational systems is crucial for us, as therapists, so we can fully resolve traumatic impact on our clients. At this webinar with globally acclaimed expert on complex trauma, Kathy Steele, we will specifically explore the additional social systems that exist beyond attachment, and can impede recovery for our clients. Using a number of case examples, we will understand how the maladaptive use of particular motivational systems creates difficulties for our clients. Therapists will learn how to identify the motivational systems active in the client and how to work with them to shift to a more adaptive relational style. We will also pay attention to the motivational systems active in us, as therapists and how these can either help or hinder therapy.

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What's included in this course

What you’ll learn

At this webinar with globally acclaimed expert on complex trauma, Kathy Steele, we will specifically explore the additional social systems that exist beyond attachment, and can impede recovery for our clients. Using a number of case examples, we will understand how the maladaptive use of particular motivational systems creates difficulties for our clients. Therapists will learn how to identify the motivational systems active in the client and how to work with them to shift to a more adaptive relational style. We will also pay attention to the motivational systems active in us, as therapists and how these can either help or hinder therapy.

Learning objectives

  • Define social motivational systems and identify five social systems in addition to attachment
  • Discuss the impact of disorganized attachment on the use of other social motivational systems
  • Identify the motivational systems from which a client mostly operates from, including systems in specific dissociative parts and employ specific relational strategies to support clients in shifting to more adaptive relational styles

You'll also be able to...

Develop the ability to interpret and modulate the body’s nervous system (sensory and autonomic) to regulate arousal levels in clients and for safer trauma therapy

Identify and acquire recovery options and strategies for trauma clients inappropriate for trauma memory processing, particularly for those who don’t want to and those who decompensate or dysregulate from memory work

Also develop the ability to interpret and modulate the body’s nervous system (sensory and autonomic) to regulate arousal levels for professional self-care

About the speaker(s)

Kathy Steele, MN, CS has been treating complex trauma, dissociation, and attachment issues since 1985. She is in private practice with Metropolitan Psychotherapy Services and is Adjunct Faculty at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, US. Kathy is a Past President and Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), and has also previously served on the Board of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS). She has been involved with developing treatment guidelines for Dissociative Disorders and well as for Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Kathy has received a number of awards for her work, including the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from ISSTD, an Emory University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006, and the 2011 Cornelia B. Wilbur Award for Outstanding Clinical Contributions. She is known for her humour, compassion, respect, and depth of knowledge as a clinician and a teacher, and for her capacity to present complex issues in easily understood and clear ways using an integrative psychotherapy model that draws from both traditional and somatic approaches. She is sought as a consultant and supervisor, and as an international lecturer.

She has co-authored three books as part of the acclaimed Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology: The Haunted Self: Structural dissociation of the personality and chronic traumatization (2006, Van der Hart, Nijenhuis, & Steele – W. W. Norton); Coping with trauma-related dissociation: Skills training for patients and therapists (2011, Boon, Steele, & Van der Hart – W. W. Norton); and most recently, Treating trauma-related dissociation: A practical, integrative approach (2017, Steele, Boon, & Van der Hart – W. W. Norton). She has also (co)authored numerous book chapters and journal articles.

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