Treating Trauma-Related Dissociation: A Practical, Integrative Approach (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology) (Hardcover)

Treating Trauma-Related Dissociation: A Practical, Integrative Approach (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology) By Kathy Steele, Suzette Boon, Onno van der Hart, Ph.D. Cover Image
NOT ON OUR SHELVES- available for order, usually ships in 1-5 days


Winner of the 2017 International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) Pierre Janet Writing Award.

Establishing safety and working with dissociative parts in complex trauma therapy.

Therapists around the world ask similar questions and struggle with similar challenges treating highly dissociative patients. This book arose not only out of countless hours of treating patients with dissociative disorders, but also out of the crucible of supervision and consultation, where therapists bring their most urgent questions, needs, and vulnerabilities. 

The book offers an overview of the neuropsychology of dissociation as a disorder of non-realization, as well as chapters on assessment, prognosis, case formulation, treatment planning, and treatment phases and goals, based on best practices. The authors describe what to focus on first in a complex therapy, and how to do it; how to help patients establish both internal and external safety without rescuing; how to work systematically with dissociative parts of a patient in ways that facilitate integration rather than further dissociation; how to set and maintain helpful boundaries; specific ways to stay focused on process instead of content; how to deal compassionately and effectively with disorganized attachment and dependency on the therapist; how to help patients integrate traumatic memories; what to do when the patient is enraged, chronically ashamed, avoidant, or unable to trust the therapist; and how to compassionately understand and work with resistances as a co-creation of both patient and therapist.

Relational ways of being with the patient are the backbone of treatment, and are themselves essential therapeutic interventions. As such, the book also focused not only on highly practical and theoretically sound interventions, not only on what to do and say, but places strong emphasis on how to be with patients, describing innovative, compassionately collaborative approaches based on the latest research on attachment and evolutionary psychology.

Throughout the book, core concepts—fundamental ideas that are highlighted in the text in bold so they can be seen at a glance—are emphasized. These serve as guiding principles in treatment as well as a summing-up of many of the most important notions in each chapter. Each chapter concludes with a section for further examination. These sections include additional ideas and questions, exercises for practicing skills, and suggestions for peer discussions based on topics in a particular chapter, meant to inspire further curiosity, discovery, and growth.

About the Author

Kathy Steele, MN, CS, is in private practice with Metropolitan Psychotherapy Associates in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a former President of the International Society for the Study of Dissociation.

Suzette Boon, a pioneer in the diagnosis of trauma-related disorders, is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist with a background in family and systemic therapy, cognitive and behavioral therapy, and hypnosis. She has worked extensively at both inpatient and outpatient psychiatric facilities. Since the late eighties, Suzette has specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with histories of early psychological trauma, in particular patients with complex dissociative disorders. She is co-founder of the European Society for Trauma and Dissociation (ESTD) and was its first president. The International Society for the Study of Dissociation (ISSD) granted her the David Caul Memorial Award in 1993, the Morton Prince Award in 1994 and the President’s Award of Distinction and the status of Fellow in 1995. In 2009, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD). She is the co-author of Treating Trauma-Related Dissociation and Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation, both ISSTD Pierre Janet Writing Award winners in the Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology. She lives in Maarssen, the Netherlands.

Onno van der Hart, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of Psychopathology of Chronic Traumatization, Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands, and a psychologist. Until 2017 he was also a psychotherapist in Amstelveen, the Netherlands. He is a Past President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS).

Praise For…

This comprehensive textbook by three master clinicians is a welcome addition to the growing literature on treatment of patients who have suffered the most extreme early life trauma. A calm and steady emphasis on basic principles, illustrated with numerous case vignettes, offers wise guidance to clinicians facing the challenges of this difficult but rewarding work.
— Judith Lewis Herman, MD, Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School

[A]n excellent, easy to grasp presentation of complicated theory and application. . . . [T]he work provides extensive immersion into not only theory and application, but practice and discussion as well. By collecting much of modern theory and research on trauma related dissociation in a single volume successfully, this may help many psychotherapists improve the lives of their charges.
— Somatic Psychotherapy Today

Three expert, experienced clinicians and researchers who are leaders in the field have combined their vast experience and knowledge to write one of the most informative, comprehensive books on the treatment of complex trauma and trauma-generated dissociation I have ever read. This book is clearly written and presents a thorough framework for understanding trauma-generated dissociation and addresses such important issues as the collaborative therapeutic relationship, case conceptualization and treatment planning, phase-oriented treatment, and working with dissociative parts in a safe way that promotes integration. This is necessary reading for all clinicians not only for understanding and treating trauma-generated dissociation but also as a great text for therapy in general.
— Roger M. Solomon, PhD, Senior Faculty, EMDR Institute

The authors maintain that therapists need better resources—and this book delivers. . . . [P]rovides an exemplary overview and is a resource for evaluation and management of a constellation of behaviors and expressions useful in many therapeutic situations.
— The Milton H. Erickson Foundation Newsletter

It's difficult to imagine how these authors might have improved on or added to their previous work. Yet in this volume, they have not only done that, they have taken the field of dissociation treatment to a level of sophistication and solidity that cannot be surpassed. Everyone who works with people living with dissociation should read, then re-read this book. Kudos to these authors, whose persistent and brilliant scholarship benefits our clients and the field of dissociation treatment.
— Laura S. Brown, PhD, ABPP, independent practice, Seattle, WA
Product Details
ISBN: 9780393707595
ISBN-10: 0393707598
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: November 29th, 2016
Pages: 560
Language: English
Series: Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology