From MindFlight to MindSight: Phobia of Inner Experience in Chronic Traumatization

When chronic traumatization occurs, inner experience (emotions, needs, thoughts, fantasies, desires, bodily feelings, etc.) can become frightening, shame-inducing, and baffling aspects of the survivor’s world. The physical sensations, impulses, gestures and actions that correspond to such inner experience may also be a source of fear, shame and confusion. Too often, therapists fail to recognize this central phobia of inner experience in survivors and are at a loss when standard therapeutic interventions fail time after time. Traumatized individuals develop a phobic condition of “mindflight:” the vehement avoidance of elements of trauma-related internal experience and physical action. This entrenched phobia of both mental actions and physical behaviors is maintained by ongoing dissociation and retraction of the field of consciousness and other chronic avoidance and escape strategies toward reminders of past trauma, as well as by a diminished capacity for reflective functioning. Thus, these experiences remain partially or completely unintegrated. Accepting, understanding, and integrating mental actions and corresponding physical components are thus primary interventions in an integration-focused therapeutic approach. In this webinar, we will address elements of “mindflight,” and the maladaptive mental and physical actions that maintain it. We will demonstrate both cognitive and somatic interventions to promote “mindsight” through overcoming the phobia of inner experience and by cultivating the capacity for reflective functioning, perspective, and mental and physical integration in our traumatized patients.

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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: Pat Ogden, PhD
Presenter Bio: Pat Ogden, PhD,is a pioneer in somatic psychology, the creator of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy method, and founder of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute.Dr. Ogden is trained in a wide variety of somatic and psychotherapeutic approaches, and has over 45 years of experience working with individuals and groups. She is co-founder of the Hakomi Institute, past faculty of Naropa University (1985-2005), a clinician, consultant, and sought after international lecturer. Dr. Ogden is the first author of two groundbreaking books in somatic psychology: Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to PsychotherapyandSensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment (2015) both published in the Interpersonal Neurobiology Series of W. W. Norton.Her third book in this series, The Pocket Guide to Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Essays and Articles, will be published in 2020, and she is working on Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for Children, Adolescents and Familiesand Sensorimotor Psychotherapy for Groups with Dr. Bonnie Goldstein.Her current interests include groups, couples, children, adolescents, and families; complex trauma; Embedded Relational Mindfulness; implicit bias, intersectionality and culture; the relational nature of shame; presence, consciousness, and the philosophical/spiritual principles that underlie Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.

Presenter: Kathy Steele, MN, CS
Presenter Bio: Kathy Steele, MN, CS has been in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia since 1985, and is an Adjunct Faculty at Emory University. Kathy is a Fellow and a past President of the ISSTD, and is the recipient of a number of awards for her clinical and published works, including the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from ISSTD. She has authored numerous publications in the field of trauma and dissociation, including three books, and frequently lectures internationally on topics related to trauma, dissociation, attachment, and therapeutic resistance and impasses.


Available Credit

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


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