Assigned Functions or “Jobs” of Internal Parts in Personality Systems Created by Organized Abuser Groups

Although this is not the case for all who suffer from dissociative disorders, many survivors of organized abuse have parts who describe themselves as having "jobs" assigned by perpetrators. Some organized perpetrator groups deliberately traumatize infants and children through tortures designed to split off parts and condition them to perform specific functions. Parts are trained in specific behaviours such as reporting disclosures to the perpetrator group or punishing other disobedient parts through administering internal pain from abuse memories. Perpetrators and survivors in some groups refer to these trainings as "programs." This workshop will demystify the term "programming" and make it understandable to clinicians as the training of alter personalities. We will review some of the important jobs reported by survivors and the way in which parts are trained for these jobs. While organized personality systems may be similar in how they function, many things may look different depending on the perpetrator’s and victim’s culture. Clinicians attending this workshop will learn how to assist a survivor client in freeing such parts from their "programming," enabling them to quit their "jobs" and instead work internally on behalf of the healing of the entire personality system. Methods include unmasking the abusers’ deceptions, enrolling internal leaders in stopping parts from engaging in jobs which put the survivor at risk, using jobs for the benefit of the system, assigning new jobs, and putting together the dissociated pieces of the traumatic memories which lead parts to perform such jobs.

Potential to Distress: Yes

Target Audience


Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this webinar participants will be able to:

  • Describe the structured hierarchical personality system and the roles of internal bosses and punisher parts
  • Recognize the difference between spontaneous decompensation and symptoms resulting from internal punishment, and know how to minimize this punishment
  • Name at least five different “jobs” of alter personalities in structured personality systems
  • Name three different strategies for assisting parts to stop doing perpetrator-assigned jobs
  • Describe the methods by which parts are trained to do their jobs
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.50 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 1.50 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.
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Presenter: Alison Miller, PhD
Presenter Biography: Dr. Miller was a psychologist in private practice in British Columbia, Canada. She retired in 2017. She has worked with survivors of organized abuse since 1991. She has been a fellow of the ISST-D (International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation) since 2013. She is the 2017 Chair of the Ritual Abuse/Mind Control/Organized Abuse Special Interest Group of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. Her books include: Becoming Yourself: Overcoming Mind Control and Ritual Abuse (for survivors), Healing the Unimaginable: Treating Ritual Abuse and Mind Control (for therapists

Available Credit

  • 1.50 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 1.50 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.


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