Contemporary Issues and Interventions in the Treatment of Complex Trauma and Dissociation | 2023 Toronto Regional Conference

Toronto, ON CA
September 21, 2023 to September 22, 2023

This event will be an in-person event and we do not plan to livestream or record this event at this time.

Join us in Toronto from September 21-22, 2023 for our first Toronto Regional Conference, featuring D. Michael Coy, Alana Tappin, Cassandra Harmsen, Kristina Cordeiro, Rebecca Tzalazidis, George Radosavljevic, and Marlee Salisbury. This event will kick off with a full-day presentation from D. Michael Coy on clinical work with dissociative populations that integrates theory and aspects of Ego State Therapy, Mirror Neurons, EMDR, and Hypnosis. The second day will feature workshops on decolonizing trauma therapy, accessible trauma healing, and online group therapy. 

Potential to Distress

Target Audience

Course summary
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
09/21/2023 - 8:30am EDT
Event ends: 
09/22/2023 - 5:00pm EDT
ISSTD Member cost:
Your Price:

Below please find the schedule for the conference as well as abstracts each presentation. Additional details about each presentation will be available 

Day One Schedule  - Thursday, September 21, 2023

8:30 - 9:00 AMRegistration and Light Continental Breakfast
9:00 - 9:10 AMThe Best Way Out Is Always Through: Explorations in Integrating EMDR, Ego State Therapy, and Trance Phenomena to Treat Complex Trauma and Dissociation (Coy)
9:10 - 9:55 AMEstablishing a Treatment Frame
  • Three Stages of Treatment
  • Dissociation, Trance, & Trance Logic
  • Elements of an Integrative Approach
9:55 - 10:20 AMGetting In to Get Out: Re-alerting to Shift Executive Control
  • Context for a Brief Intervention
  • Case Example
10:20 - 10:30 AMQ&A
10:30 - 10:45 AMBreak
10:45 - 12:05 PMYours, Mine, Ours: Employing Trance in the Relational Field
  • A Framework for Recognizing and Bringing to Consciousness the Client’s ‘Untold Story’ 
  • Case Example
12:05 - 12:15 PMQ&A
12:15 - 1:15 PMLunch 
1:15 - 2:00 PMYou Used to Be Me: Increasing Co-conscious Awareness Between Self-states
  • Conceptualizing a More Complex Intervention
  • Case Example
2:00 - 2:30 PMA Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You: Unbinding Introjects from Trance and Trauma
  • Establishing an Integrative Approach to Resolve Entrenched Internal Conflict
2:30 - 2:45 PMQ&A
2:45 - 3:00 PMBreak
3:00 -4:30 PMA Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You: Unbinding Introjects from Trance and Trauma (continued)
  • Establishing an Integrative Approach to Resolve Entrenched Internal Conflict
4:30 - 5:00 PMDiscussion and Wrap-up

Day Two Schedule - Friday, September 22, 2023

8:30 - 9:00 AMRegistration and Light Continental Breakfast
9:00 - 10:30 AMPower, Oppression and Trauma Treatment (Tappin)
10:30 - 11:00 AMBreak
11:00 AM - 12:30 PMPower, Oppression and Trauma Treatment (continued)
12:30 - 1:30 PMLunch
1:30 - 3:00 PM

Building Resilient Communities: The Role of Group Therapy in Trauma Recovery (Harmsen, Cordeiro, Tzalazidis, Radosavljevic, and Salisbury)

3:00 - 3:30 PMBreak 
3:30 - 5:00 PM

Building Resilient Communities: The Role of Group Therapy in Trauma Recovery (continued)


The Best Way Out Is Always Through: Explorations in Integrating EMDR, Ego State Therapy, and Trance Phenomena to Treat Complex Trauma and Dissociation

Presenter: D. Michael Coy

Abstract: The relationship between trance and dissociation is well-established (Bliss, 1983) in the literature, as is EMDR’s reputation for ‘breaking’ it (Lipke, 1999). It is no surprise, then, that several important thinkers have cross-pollinated among the fields of study of hypnosis, EMDR, and dissociative disorders. Much of the current literature and workshops discuss treatment of persons with dissociative disorders based on established approaches only through the lens of a ‘finished product’. What, though, of the spark of creativity that contributes to the development of these interventions? How do the sometimes hastily combined elements used to bail a clinician out of a treatment bind later reveal themselves to be the building blocks for an effective framework or protocol? 

In this workshop, we will first discuss foundational considerations for the integrative treatment of persons with complex trauma and dissociative experiences. We will then explore four novel applications within this frame, beginning with the comparatively simple and concluding with a much more complex integration of approaches. We will discuss not only the interventions themselves but also the context for their initial development, to emphasize the critical importance of understanding not only a finished product but also the admixture of component elements combined to aid a client’s healing.

Although a familiarity and experience with psychodynamic concepts, clinical hypnosis, Ego State Therapy (Watkins & Watkins, 1997), and EMDR therapy (Shapiro, 2018) are not required to attend, they will be variously and unavoidably necessary to implement the interventions discussed.

Power, Oppression and Trauma Treatment

Presenter: Alana Tappin, CPysch

Abstract: There is deeply ingrained inequality in North American. This inequality is maintained by the social and economic dominance of some groups at the expense of others (Brown 2019). Each of us, therapists and clients alike, have multiple social identities connected to various cultural groups that are arranged in hierarchies (Brown, 2017). Some of these identities hold more social and/or economic “power over,” and others are oppressed. The Canada, the United States and many other ‘developed’ countries in the world operate on cultural homogeneity. This is where one particular racial group holds social and economic power and resources at the exclusion and/or exploitation of others who are not a part of that group. The values of this ‘ruling class’ have been embedded into our society and form dominant ideologies that self-perpetuate. Some of these ideologies such as white supremacy, patriarchy, and heterosexism all make up the status quo in this country and are embedded in institutions such as schools, religious organizations, and the judicial system (Myers, 2011). 

These embedded belief systems are considered ‘normal’ and cause great psychological harm to all, but especially to those who hold social identities not represented by these ‘dominant’ ideologies. This course looks at the way powerful societal ideologies contribute to individual and societal trauma for the therapist and client and the enactments that occur as a result. The aim is to help therapists increase awareness and understanding of the often unconscious dynamics (Ginot, 2015) of internalized superiority and internalized inferiority that often come from being socialized by the dominant ideologies. We will learn to understand the dynamics of power and oppression in the therapeutic relationship and how best to intervene to facilitate healing and create meaningful change for client and therapist alike.

Building Resilient Communities: The Role of Group Therapy in Trauma Recovery

Presenter: Cassandra Harmsen, Kristina Cordeiro, Rebecca Tzalazidis, George Radosavljevic, and Marlee Salisbury

Abstract: Online group therapy is an accessible and effective treatment option for trauma survivors. Online group trauma therapy allows multiple survivors to receive treatment simultaneously, reduces waitlist times and costs associated with treatment, helps reduce social isolation by normalizing trauma experiences, and allows people from all over the province, particularly those in rural areas, to access and participate in live, specialized trauma services. Group trauma therapy has also been shown to significantly decrease trauma symptoms with a diverse range of trauma presentations. Despite these well documented advantages, group trauma therapy services offered in communities are limited. This presentation seeks to introduce attendees to a practical way of implementing groups into practice. First, we will discuss the use of Trauma Practice, a phasic approach to trauma therapy as applied in individual session. This discussion will include didactic exercises of unique and integrative strategies when working with trauma survivors. We will then explore how we adapted Trauma Practice in the context of group therapy. We will discuss the development and implementation of four phase-1 trauma informed groups: Recovery and Resiliency, Lean-in for Connection, Trauma-informed Meditation, and Anger Regulation. While these groups focused on different aspects of recovery, they shared 4 main goals: (1) to increase connection and decrease isolation among trauma survivors, (2) increase emotional awareness, expression, and regulation, (3) to teach safety and stabilization skills, and (4) to learn to manage interpersonal conflict. Using both clinician and client perspectives, as well as clinical research, we will explore what worked well and discuss future directions and areas for improvement. We will discuss the safeguards we took to promote safety in a group setting (e.g., balancing equal engagement from all members, reducing the risk of possible re-traumatization and dysregulation, respecting confidentiality, and acknowledging limits, and developing strong therapeutic relationships with group members). Last, we will discuss the unique consideration of online vs. in-person group therapy and provide recommendations on how to evaluate the progress and success of offered groups.

Central YMCA
20 Grosvenor St
Toronto, ON M4Y 2V5
+1 (416) 975-9622
Presenter: D. Michael Coy, MA, LICSW
Presenter Biography: D. Michael Coy, MA, LICSW, (he/they) is a 2006 graduate of The Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice at the University of Chicago. Psychodynamically grounded, Michael integrates EMDR therapy with additional training in clinical hypnosis, Ego State Therapy, Deep Brain Reorienting, and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. He offers clinical consultation on diagnostic evaluation and clinical practice with persons with complex trauma and dissociative symptoms/disorders. Michael maintains a private practice in Bremerton, Washington, USA, serving emerging adults, adults, and older adults.

Michael is an EMDR Certified Approved Consultant and Trainer through the EMDR International Association and served on EMDRIA's Standards & Training committee from 2014 to 2017. From 2017-2020, Michael co-chaired the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation’s EMDR Therapy Training Task Group, which created ISSTD's EMDR therapy basic training. He now co-chairs ISSTD’s EMDR Therapy Training Committee and co-teaches the training. Michael is currently serving a three-year term on the EMDRIA Training Council.

Since 2016, Michael has collaborated with colleague Jennifer Madere and Multidimensional Inventory of Dissociation (MID) developer Paul F. Dell to make the MID more accessible. He co-authored the MID Interpretive Manual, 2nd-4th Editions, and updates and manages the MID Analysis and MID website. Since 2017, Jennifer and Michael have taught and consulted for hundreds of clinicians, both in the US and internationally, on the use of the MID for diagnosis, case conceptualization, and treatment.

Michael has previously presented on his own EMDR Introject Decathexis (Id) Protocol, as well as a framework for recognizing, contextualizing, and resolving clients’ dissociated memory material communicated via mirror neuronal resonance, the integration of Ego State Therapy and EMDR, and the creative employment of trance in the treatment of complex trauma and dissociation. He has also co-authored both an article and a book chapter on screening and diagnostic assessment of dissociative disorders. He has co-authored both an article on screening for dissociation in EMDR therapy and a book chapter on diagnostic instruments used to assess for dissociative disorders.

Michael was elected to ISSTD’s Board of Directors in 2017, and became Treasurer in 2018, a role in which he continues to serve. He was named a fellow of ISSTD in 2019 and has received from ISSTD the Cornelia B. Wilbur Award for Outstanding Clinical Contributions to the Treatment of Dissociative Disorders (2022), the Mid-Career Achievement Award (2021), and the President’s Award for Distinguished Service (2018, 2019, and 2021).

Presenter: Alana Tappin, CPsych
Presenter Biography: Dr Alana Tappin is a clinical psychologist, and the owner of a psychology clinic that specializes in psychological support for marginalized and racialized people, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Dr.  Tappin earned her doctorate degree from Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus in 2012 (specialization in family violence). Dr Tappin developed the idea of applying shame resilience theory (by Dr Brene Brown) to racial justice. She and her colleague Robin Schlenger, LCSW, co-developed a training series based on this idea entitled Shame Resilience and Transformational Skills for White People. She has developed a new training series entitled Addressing the Pain of Internalized Anti-Blackness and does anti-oppression and antiracism trainings for mental health professionals. Dr Tappin is a faculty member at The Institute for Advanced Psychotherapy at Loyola University in Chicago. She teaches about the intersection of systems of power, oppression and the therapeutic process and leads weekly case consultations for students pursuing a postgraduate training in advanced psychotherapy.

Presenter: Cassandra Harmsen
Presenter Biography: 
Cassandra Harmsen is a PhD student in the Clinical-Developmental Psychology program at York University, in Toronto, Canada. She obtained her BSc in psychology from McMaster University in 2014, and her MA in Clinical-Developmental Psychology from York University in 2021. As a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Robert T Muller, Cassandra’s primary research focus is understanding effective interventions for trauma survivors. Her work has been presented at various conferences, including the 40th annual ISSTD conference and she currently has two publications in review on this topic. Cassandra has other published work in the areas of Emotion Focused Family Therapy, barriers to trauma treatment for LGBTQ+ individuals, and complicated grief during COVID-19.
Cassandra has several years of experience working with children and young families in several clinical settings. She has practiced in hospitals, including the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH), and most recently at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre (Hamilton Health Science) as an intervention practicum student. She has also worked in private practices focusing on assessing and treating youth with various presenting concerns. She uses evidence-based practices, including CBT, ACT, Family Based Therapy for eating disorders, and EFFT most prominently.

Presenter: Kristina Cordeiro
Presenter Bio: Kristina is a senior PhD student in the Clinical-Developmental Psychology program at York University, in Toronto, Canada. Supervised by Dr. Robert T. Muller, her research has focused on intrafamilial trauma and attachment-based treatments for children and their families. Most recently, she’s been collaborating on a large clinical trial of the effectiveness of Emotion Focused Family Therapy for caregivers supporting children living with mental illness, and she has been studying the clinical benefits of using the Adult Attachment Interview as an add-on to therapy. Her research has been recognized by the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, and she has received numerous grants in support of her research and clinical training.
Kristina has over 15 years of experience working with children and young families in educational and clinical settings and is a trained behaviour therapist. Currently a Doctoral Associate at the Family Psychology Centre, Kristina works with youth, adults and families presenting with a variety of mental health concerns, providing both assessment and treatment services. She is passionate about increasing access to effective and timely mental health services and considers the caregiver-child relationship to be a critical entry point for preventative interventions. Her hope is to affect systemic change in how we involve parents in the treatment of their children.

Presenter: Rebecca Tzalazidis
Presenter Bio: Ms Tzalazidis is a doctoral candidate who is completing her PhD in Clinical Psychology through Lakehead University.  She is currently a clinical psychology resident at Bear Psychology under supervised practice with Anna Baranowsky, PhD, CPsych and Anna Kozina, MA, CPsych. Ms Tzalazidis obtained her Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Lakehead University in 2016. She has also received an Honours BSc in Psychology (specialist) from the University of Toronto. She has completed clinical training at several locations in both Thunder Bay and Durham Region. Rebecca has experience working with individuals (adolescents and adults), couples, as well as groups.
Rebecca has received training and has experience working in the following areas:
  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
  • Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)
  • Psychodynamic Therapy
  • Trauma-focused therapy
  • Mindfulness: Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) & Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
  • Gottman’s Couple Therapy
  • Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy
Rebecca has experience in conducting psychological testing and other types of assessments. She also has experience in writing various types of reports.

Presenter: George Radosavljevic
Presenter Bio: George graduated from York University with a specialized BA, Honours in Psychology in 2019 and is an incoming Master’s student at the Clinical-Developmental Psychology program at York University, in Toronto, Canada, under the mentorship of Dr Robert Muller. George’s latest work has focused on emotional and interpersonal dialects in high-arousal personality and trauma disorders. He is particularly interested in the comorbidity between Borderline Personality Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, as they pertain to early childhood attachment and intimate social ties. He wishes to focus his future work and studies on the effects that perceived feelings of social and intimate safety/ danger have on the arousal of preconceived attachment modalities and their effects on current and future social representations, as well as levels of emotional reactivity vs. integration in C-PTSD populations. 
In the past year, George worked with Dr Mirisse Foroughe at the Family Psychology Centre in downtown Toronto, examining adaptations of Emotion Focused Therapies using parent-infant dyad interventions to both treat current trauma symptoms, as well as prevent future intergenerational carryover of traumatic effects in youth. His career goal is to work in the community as a clinician and researcher, with a focus on Emotion Focused Family Therapies and a whole-family approach to youth treatment.

Presenter: Marlee Salisbury
Presenter Bio: Marlee holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Manitoba and is currently a PhD student in the Clinical-Developmental Psychology program at York University. Her research has focused on understanding the impact of early experiences, including the parent-child relationship, on children's emotional development and neurobiological markers of stress regulation. More recently, she has been involved in co-developing and evaluating the effectiveness of maternal mental health programs aimed at promoting positive parenting and disrupting the intergenerational transmission of chronic stress. Currently supervised by Dr Robert T. Muller in the Trauma and Attachment Lab, Marlee’s work has shifted to evaluating attachment-based therapeutic interventions for families with trauma histories, with the goal of promoting effective mental health services particularly through the caregiver-child relationship. Her research has been supported through numerous grants and fellowships, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and is published in various high impact journals including Prevention Science and Frontiers in Psychiatry.
Marlee is trained in various clinical modalities and has worked with children, families, and adults in both intervention and assessment contexts. Her recent clinical work involves facilitating community-based, trauma-focused group programs for promoting stress reduction methods and building emotional strength among adults with PTSD. Marlee is passionate about improving the efficacy and accessibility of early preventative interventions for children and families experiencing chronic stress or trauma, and she strives to involve parents actively in the treatment process. Her goal is to create lasting systemic change by strengthening the parent-child bond and improving parent mental health and support.

Participants attending the full conference will receive 12 APA and ASWB continuing education credits and 12 ISSTD Certificate Program credits. Information about credits for each session are included in the information for each session. Participants will receive individual certificates for each session attended for the sessions which they meet the requirements for. To earn credits, participants must sign in and out of each session and attend 50 out of every 60 minutes of the session. 

The full-day presentation by D. Michael Coy has also been approved for 6 EMDRIA credits. Participants who wish to receive EMDRIA credits for this course must request them via email at following the conference and meet the attendance requirements above to be eligible for credits.

Please login or register to take this course.
Please login or register to take this course.
Please login or register to take this course.
Please login or register to take this course.
Please login or register to take this course.


ISSTD Member cost:
Your Price:
Please login or register to take this course.

Please note that all fees for this event are in Canadian dollars and participants will need to pay via  the link provided in the payment screen. If you are unable to locate the link, please email ISSTD for assistance. DO NOT select the credit card or check options as these will require payment in US Dollars.

Early registration ends August 21, 2023 at 5:00 PM US Eastern Time. Prices will increase for emerging professional and professional/retired rates at that time by $40. 

"Your Price" above reflects your final price based on your membership status, career level and any add-ons you choose to add to your registration. Please add this item to your cart and answer the questions on the next page to see your final price. 

Registration is available for one or two days for this event. If you wish to register for one day, click the day you wish to attend at the top of this page to take you to registration for that day. 

Please note that it can take up to two full business days for your membership status to update following the creation of your account in this system. You will receive an email once your account has been updated to reflect your membership status. Please wait until your membership status has been updated to register. If your account is not updated in this timeframe, please email for assistance.

  • ISSTD defines a student as those enrolled in a program of study leading to a degree or certification in the mental health field and who have an interest in trauma and dissociation. 
  • ISSTD defines an emerging professional as mental health professionals who have completed an advanced degree and are in the first three years of their career (or first three years after graduation for researchers).
  • If you do not fall into one of the above categories please register as Professional/Retired. 

Available Discounts

  • These prices are for Tier I countries. For a list of countries by Tier click here. If you are located in a country that falls into Tier II-VI please contact ISSTD at to receive the appropriate discount code. Canada and the United States are both Tier I countries.
  • Group rates are available for groups of five or more from the same hospital, facility, or university. Please email ISSTD HQ for assistance with group rates. For groups of 5-9 the discount is 10% off registration fees, for groups of 10 or more the discount is 15% off registration fees. 

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations must be received in writing via email or fax. A processing fee of $45 will be charged for cancellations received on or before Friday, September 1st at 5:00 PM ET. No refunds will be issued for no-shows. Refund requests will not be accepted after September 1, 2023. Not all requests will be granted. Substitutions for attendees are accepted until September 1, 2023.

Grievance Policy
ISSTD is fully committed to conducting all activities in strict conformation with the APA and ASWB grievance procedures.

During this conference, conference organizers, presenters and staff will address any concerns that arise. Every effort will be made to address the concerns during the conference when possible. If these individuals are unable to address the participant’s concerns, the complaints and grievances shall be presented in writing to ISSTD Headquarters at These will be forwarded on for review by the Virtual and Regional Conference Committee.

Social Workers: Should social workers have a specific grievance, these grievances will be addressed by D. Michael Coy, LICSW. In situations where the social worker would have a conflict of interest, then, Christine Forner, MSW will review the grievance.

ISSTD strives to resolve grievances in a manner that is in the best interest of the participant. All complaints and grievances are reviewed within 5 working days. Formal grievances are required to be written and emailed as directed above and will be responded to within 15 business days.

Disability Policy (ADA)
We would be happy to accommodate your ADA needs. Please contact ISSTD Headquarters via email at or via phone at 844.994.7783 for assistance.

Registration Contact Information
Phone: 844.994.7783
Fax: 888.966.0310