Is That Mine or Yours? Recognizing and Bringing to Consciousness the Client’s Untold Story
It has been established that attachment relationships, most notably between parents and children, include somatosensory communication via mirror neurons. This phenomenon, which can also manifest in the therapeutic relationship, is variously described as radical empathy, resonance, and a form of projective identification. Regardless of its name, empathic attunement to somatosensory information coming from the client can serve as be a powerful conduit for information needed to help them work through dissociated memory material. Information about the client’s experience may present itself to the therapist in ways that the client may not yet recognize in themselves, and which may not be immediately obvious to the therapist without some kind of framework for recognizing, stepping back from, and contextualizing it for the client.
This presentation will draw upon the available clinical and scientific literatures to explore empathic attunement as it manifests between the client and therapist. First, existing, psychodynamic, attachment, and dissociation-aware conceptualizations will be touched upon to contextualize this phenomenon; next, the evolution of scientific research that has lent support to these theories will be summarized; then, a practical, integrative technique for recognizing, framing, and bringing to consciousness dissociated material will be described and illustrated, via case examples. Finally, a discussion of the toll that this level of ongoing, deeply-experienced empathic resonance can have upon the therapist, as well as strategies for emotional cleansing, will be offered.
40 Minutes - Discussion of Theory
20 Minutes - Overview of Supporting Research
60 Minutes - Treatment Framework/Case Examples
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 two ways of contextualizing non-verbal, empathic attunement
- List at least two studies supporting the existing of mirror neuron function at the emotional level
- Identify three manifestations of empathic attunement in the psychotherapy relationship
- Name the elements of a technique for recognizing, framing, and bringing to consciousness dissociated material to resolve it
- Describe three strategies that can enhance one’s capacity for attunement
Presenter: D. Michael Coy, MA, LICSW
Presenter Bio: D. Michael Coy, MA, LICSW, (he/they) is a clinical social worker and maintains a private practice in Bremerton, Washington, USA. Psychodynamically grounded, Michael integrates EMDR therapy with additional training in clinical hypnosis, Ego State Therapy, and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. Michael is an EMDR Certified Approved Consultant through the EMDR International Association and served on EMDRIA's Standards & Training committee from 2014 to 2017. From 2017-2020, Michael co-chaired the ISSTD EMDR Therapy Training Task Group, which created ISSTD's EMDR therapy 'basic' training. He now co-chairs the EMDR Therapy Training Committee and co-teaches the training. Since 2016, Michael has collaborated with Jennifer Madere and Multidimensional Inventory of Dissociation developer Paul F. Dell to make the MID more accessible. He co-authored the MID Interpretive Manual, 3rd Edition, and manages the MID Analysis and MID website. Since 2017, Jennifer and Michael have taught hundreds of clinicians how to employ the MID, both in the US and internationally. More recently, Michael has presented original material, in the form of the EMDR Introject Decathexis (Id) Protocol, to unbind perpetrator parts from their traumatic wounding and harming behaviors, as well as a framework for recognizing, contextualizing, and resolving clients’ dissociated memory material communicated non-verbally through dissociative attunement. He also provides consultation on the use of the MID and clinical practice with complex clients more generally, as well as O’Shea and Paulsen’s Early Trauma Approach, in individual and group formats. Michael has been a member of the ISSTD Board of Directors since 2017, and became Treasurer in 2018, a role in which he continues to serve. Michael holds a MA in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago.
- 2.00 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.
- 2.00 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 2.00 continuing education credits.
- 2.00 ISSTD Certificate ProgramThis program is eligible for 2.00 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.
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