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Digital Recording

Attuning to Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)

Core Features, Foundational Principles & Implications for Clinical Practice

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Pam Stavropoulos, PhD - UniMelb, Grad. Dip. Psychotherapy (JNI) , Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment, Fulbright Alumni, Clinical Member PACFA .
7 Hours
Jun 02, 2022
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Media Type:
Digital Recording
Never expires.


It is well known that trauma is re-enacted but the re-enactment of trauma poses many clinical challenges. This is partly because unresolved trauma is often dissociated and non-verbal, expressed in domains other than spoken language.

 While the basic trauma response of `fight/flight/freeze’ is now familiar, less attention has been paid to the third of these and to dissociative responses in which what cannot be expressed in words is interpersonalised and enacted including in the therapy room.

 Many clinicians recognize that trauma is enacted in the lives of their clients but are less attuned to how it plays out within the therapy relationship itself. This is especially when the trauma is complex.

This seminar addresses the interface between complex trauma and dissociation, which is interpersonalised in the form of enactments which occur within - as well as outside - the therapy room, and which can derail the therapy unless identified and addressed. While this task falls to the therapist, the role of unconscious dynamics and intersubjectivity pose ongoing challenges to effective trauma therapy.

The seminar explains why enactments (`the interpersonalisation of dissociation’) are frequent 

and inevitable in therapy for complex trauma, how to identify them, and how to address the clinical challenges which arise when they occur.

Via initial focus on the nature and process of dissociation, we will explore how this process becomes enacted and interpersonalised in the therapy room, and how the attempt of the client to self-protect can tangle with our own unconscious processes. This will assist in navigation of crises and `stuckness’ which are common in clinical work of various types. It will also enhance confidence in addressing the many therapeutic challenges involved.


Feedback from Pam's recent presentations for PDP:

“Great seminar! Pam is exceptional! She has great knowledge, she cares that we learn and can apply what she imparts and the day was so beneficial for me.”

“Pam, thank you for your presentation which was thoughtful and well-prepared and along with your clinical expertise was an incredible day of learning for me. I feel so much more prepared and skilled for my work now.

“Presenter was excellent, demonstrated high level of interest and experience in the area. Excellent presentation skills”.

“Content was comprehensive and very well evidence-based. Thank you for your wisdom, examples of practice and discussions.”

“As a student this course was extremely helpful in giving me a solid foundation on a difficult topic.”

“Content of the seminar was really helpful to me. The presenter clearly has lots of experience and knowledge and conveyed it clearly.”

“This was the best training I have ever been on and would recommend any I meet to do this training. It’s a wonderful training. Thank you.”

“The trainer’s knowledge was amazing.”   “Well presented course that raised many points relevant to my current clinical practice.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the course and will definitely attend more PDP courses and in particular with Pam.”

“A most informative and valuable resource for my ability to improve my understanding of the role of non-verbal experience and the body. Many rich resources supplied. Thank you Pam.”

“I was really impressed by the facilitation of the topic by Pam and the professionalism of your representative. The venue choice is compatible, and the refreshments provided were excellent and more than enough.”



This online program is worth 7.0 hours CPD.



Pam Stavropoulos, PhD - UniMelb, Grad. Dip. Psychotherapy (JNI) , Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment, Fulbright Alumni, Clinical Member PACFA .'s Profile

Pam Stavropoulos, PhD - UniMelb, Grad. Dip. Psychotherapy (JNI) , Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment, Fulbright Alumni, Clinical Member PACFA . Related seminars and products

Pam Stavropoulos, PhD, is an educator, consultant, and psychotherapist whose most recent work is as Head of Research with the Blue Knot Foundation. A former Fulbright Scholar and two-time winner (2022 & 2014) of the Pierre Janet Writing Award for the best clinical, theoretical, or research paper in the field of dissociation and/or trauma, she has been a member of the ISSTD Scientific Committee and coauthored the nationally and internationally endorsed Practice Guidelines for Clinical Treatment of Complex Trauma (Blue Knot Foundation, 2012, 2019). Pam has held lectureships at the University of New England and Macquarie University (from which she left her tenured position to study and practice psychotherapy) and is a former Program Director of the Jansen Newman Institute, Sydney. The author of Living under Liberalism: The Politics of Depression in Western Democracies (2008) she has written research reports in the community health sector and is a clinical supervisor who specializes in complex trauma-related issues.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Pam Stavropoulos maintains a private practice. She receives royalties as a published author. Pam Stavropoulos receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Pam Stavropoulos is a member of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation and the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia.


Learning objectives of this training:

  1. Orienting to terms of 'Dissociation'
  2. Define the diagnostic criteria of Dissociative Identity Disorder in the DSM-5
  3. Clarify the relationship between complex trauma and dissociation.
  4. Distinguish myths from facts about DID.
  5. Recognise how dissociated experience is enacted in the therapy room.
  6. List core dissociative symptoms.
  7. Identify ways in which the therapist, in interaction with the client, participates in enactments.
  8. Defining the biochemically encoded trauma in the brain.
  9. Attachment development and adaptation to trauma
  10. Distinguish repression from dissociation
  11. Memory and the coherent sense of self
  12. Assist the client to tolerate previously overwhelming experience via our own ability to navigate enactments in the therapy room.
  13. Ability to describe the core features of dissociation and the combination of these which denotes the complex form of personality organization known as DID
  14. Recognition of the need to attune to dissociation in all clinical practice and why a continuum model is helpful in identifying its various forms
  15. Appreciation of the relationship between coping strategies to protect against childhood trauma and the subsequent health challenges in the context of DID if the underlying trauma is not addressed
  16. Understanding of what is meant by `structural’ dissociation and the factors which can give rise to it
  17. Ability to distinguish the contrasting paradigms of the `Trauma’ and `Fantasy’ models of DID and why evidence supports the former rather than the latter
  18. Understanding of the non-unitary `state’ theory of personality, the differences between trauma-generated self-states and the states of healthy developmental trajectories, and the implications of these differences for effective psychotherapeutic treatment of DID

“Enactments are frequent within as well as outside the therapy room but provide ongoing opportunities for effective trauma therapy!   Pam Stavropoulos.


How will you benefit from attending this training?

  • A new framework for understanding crises and `feeling stuck’ with complex trauma clients
  • Ways to work with dissociation and enactments which occur in therapy
  • Increased confidence to use own responses to assist the client who is self-protecting from overwhelm


Morning Session (includes a short break)

  • Confirming the principles of effective trauma therapy
  • Orienting to terms of Dissociation
  • Diagnostic criteria of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) in DSM-5
  • Focus on dissociation: why so important and why still overlooked?
  • Myths and misconceptions of DID
  • Conceptions and symptoms of dissociation
  • Core dissociative symptoms
    • Benign (normative) dissociation
    • Depersonalisation
    • Derealisation
    • Identity confusion
    • Identity alteration
    • Amnesia
  • The impact of experience:
    • the social brain
    • attachment and developmental disruption
    • the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study
    • impediments to coherence
    • traumatic overwhelm and structural dissociation
  • Freud on Repression vs Janet on Dissociation
  • Theory of personality and dissociation
  • Memory and its relevance to dissociative states
    • Types of memory
    • Memory impacts of encoding, consolidation, and retrieval
    • Somatic memory
    • Traumatic memory and the brain
    • Implicit and explicit memory
    • Functions of forgetting
    • Memory, meaning and social experience
    • Recovered memories
    • Trauma model vs Fantasy model
  • Enactment: the interpersonalisation of dissociation and how it impacts therapy

Afternoon Session (includes a short break)

  • Parts Theory and normal multiplicity
    • segregated, partitioned selves
    • impediments to state linkage and disruption to self-coherence
    • parts/self-states and structural dissociation 
  • Recognising enactments in the therapy room.
  • Understanding the inadequacy of standard screening tools in assessing for dissociation
  • Structured clinical interviews for diagnosing DID
  • Clinical implications for structurally dissociated states
  • The therapeutic task of co-consciousness between self-states  
  • Compartmentalised functioning
  • Phased therapy specific to DID
    • grounding
    • affect modulators
    • imagery
  • Addressing 'the parts part' and the work of Richard Schwartz and IFS
  • Key psycho educational principles
  • Mindful self-witnessing 
  • Helpful concepts
  • Testing boundaries, reappraising difficult behaviour and empathic confrontation
  • Identifying our role as therapists in `in session’ enactments with our clients.
    • Therapist as 'a relational bridge'
  • Responding to the clinical challenges of dissociative enactment in complex trauma therapy.
  • Rewards of the work
  • DBT for DID
  • Research, resources and reading

Evaluation and quiz - your payment includes a quiz which when completed with a minimum of 80% correct answers, will enable you to download your Attendance Certificate.
To complete the quiz, please log into your account at and click the orange "Certificate" button under the program's title. 

For live webcasts, post-tests must be completed within one month of viewing the program.

Target Audience

Therapists who seek to expand their understanding of the challenging mode of self-organization described as DID

Assumed knowledge / experience required of potential seminar participants:

Prior knowledge of the nature of complex trauma, key features of trauma-related dissociation, and the relationship between coping strategies for early life stress and subsequent symptoms is beneficial but not essential. The training will introduce this foundational material from which focus on the mental configuration of self-states known as DID will proceed.




Overall:      4.8

Total Reviews: 10

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