Dissociation in Native Clients: Intergenerational Trauma, Mistrust and a Foot in the Door
Since European colonization of North America, due to conquest, loss of land rights, violation of treaty agreements, Moreover, for over a century, the Canadian and US governments contracted with churches to enact forced assimilation of indigenous children by mandating church run residential schools that separated children from their families involuntarily. In Canada, forced assimmilation efforts included also mandatory involuntary adoption and even sale of First Nations children into dominant culture families. Through these actions, Native peoples lost much of their culture, their language, their ceremonies, and relationship to family, to tribe, and to clan. Throughout Turtle Island - North America - these actions caused family attachment disruption and, for survivors, interruption of their ancient birthright of traditional ways of being and knowing. This severance and traumatic disruption resulted in severe and chronic sequelae, including attachment injuries, alcoholism, domestic violence, drug abuse, suicide, dissociation, and other social and psychological effects. Dissociation is ubiquitous in Native populations, not only as pathological self structures sequestering unprocessed and unbearable loss and trauma. Dissociation is also normal, adaptive and integral to certain Native understandings, ways of being, ceremonies, and to stoicism itself. Native clients understandable mistrust of dominant culture therapists and their cultural ways can produce misunderstandings and ruptures, truncating healing opportunities. This workshop reviews the traumatic history briefly, connects the losses to the intergenerational effects and traumatic sequelae, and then helps dominant culture therapists recognize and avoid common errors in working with this reliably injured population. In a merger of form and content, because of the cultural differences in the two presenters, both ways of being and understanding may well be in evidence in use of time, didactic vs story telling style, and more, to help attendees begin to understand the difference.
90 Minutes - History, Losses and Psychological Sequelae
90 Minutes - Dissociation, Therapy Blunders, Q&A
This session was originally presented as a live conference session in April 2021.
At the conclusion of this session participants will be able to:
- Name five historical traumas that contribute to the ubiquity of complex trauma and dissociation in Native populations in North America
- Identify four manifestations of dissociative phenomena, both pathological and adaptive, in Native populations
- List six common errors that dominant culture therapists often make working with Native clients
- Describe six domains of psychiatric and behavioral sequelae common within Native communities today
- Identify six traditional practices and understandings that are important in healing and survival of the People
Presenter: Sandra L. Paulsen, PhD
Presenter Bio: Dr Sandra Paulsen authored “When There Are No Words: Repairing Trauma and Neglect from the Attachment Period,” and “Looking Through the Eyes of Trauma & Dissociation: An Illustrated Guide for EMDR Therapists and Clients.” She co-authored “The Neurobiology and Treatment of Traumatic Dissociation: Toward an Embodied Self,” and “All the Colors of Me: My First Book on Dissociation.” A fellow of ISSTD, she has taught extensively in the US, and internationally in such diverse places as Scotland, Sweden, Norway, England, Russia, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Brazil, Peru, Canada and South Africa. She has been invited EMDRIA Masters Series Lecturer and EMDRIA Pre-conference Lecturer. She has numerous online professional workshops available through sfrankelgroup.com. She lives with her husband and dogs in a log house, on horse property on Bainbridge Island, a small forested island near Seattle. She has long standing interests in indigenous cultural experience, spirituality and intuition, and cross-cultural psychology.
Presenter: Shelley Pompana Spear Chief, MCSW
Presenter Bio: Shelley Spear Chief works with First Nation Individuals with complex historical and ongoing trauma in private practice. She consults to First Nation schools and agencies providing workshops, counseling, art therapy, and conducting kinship and capacity assessments. Shelley was affiliated faculty for University of Calgary and Red Crow College teaching from an indigenous understanding. Clinically, she uses EMDR, somatic therapy, hypnosis, and more. Shelley is a First Nations Lakota woman who married into the Blackfoot Nation and is a past member of the esteemed ceremonial and sacred Blackfoot Horn Society. She and her husband Moses Spear Chief are accomplished traditional dancers and crafts people, and are deeply involved with traditional ceremonies and understandings. Shelley is motivated to prepare more dominant culture therapists to work effectively with indigenous peoples.
- 3.00 APAThe International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
- 3.00 ASWB ACEThe International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), #1744, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. ISSTD maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: 08/20/2021 – 08/20/2024. Social workers completing this course receive 3.00 continuing education credits.
- 3.00 ISSTD Certificate ProgramThis program is eligible for 3.00 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.
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