Neurobiological Research with Dissociative Populations: Multifaceted Perspectives
Despite gaining increasing media attention over the years, dissociative symptoms and disorders are infrequently the focus of research. Misinformation and skepticism surround dissociative phenomena, which has led to the exclusion of dissociative features and populations from neurobiological research. In this panel, a group of clinical researchers will discuss ways in which they have incorporated dissociation in their program of research, from cross-sectional to longitudinal/intervention studies. Panelists will describe their approaches to increasing acceptance of dissociation in various research contexts, and will explain the different ways in which they have included dissociative populations in various research contexts. They will discuss insights they have gained throughout the years, as well as ethical considerations for the conduct of neurobiological research with dissociative populations. Dr. Janine Thome will discuss her unique program of research on dissociative trauma-exposed individuals, which focuses on the role of arousal and related brain circuitry on the development of dissociative symptoms. She will discuss her focus on often-neglected brain regions, the midbrain and brainstem, and their roles in dissociative symptoms in people with posttraumatic stress disorder. Dr. Negar Fani will describe her program of cross-sectional and interventional research in trauma-exposed Black American individuals over the past 15 years, discussing ways in which she has incorporated neuropsychological, psychophysiology and neuroimaging techniques to investigate dissociative phenomena. Dr. Sherain Harricharan will discuss how emotion dysregulation among individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect sensory signaling pathways in the brain. She will introduce a theoretical hierarchy of sensory transmission in the aftermath of trauma and discuss its clinical impact on the distinct PTSD and dissociative subtype symptom profiles. Discussants (Drs. Lebois and Kaufman) will provide a synthesis of these studies, including strengths and limitations of existing methods, moderating discussion with the audience on ways to incorporate research methods across varied settings.
At the conclusion of this session participants will be able to:
- Describe current neurobiological methods being used with dissociative populations
- Identify different applications of these methods across different types of dissociative populations
- Understand strengths and weaknesses of these methods
- Interpret data from these methods
- Consider different ways to incorporate neurobiological with clinical information
Janine’s research focuses on the impact of trauma on psychophysiological and neuronal responses and associated processes such as memory and cognitive functions. Her research interests include studying how trauma affects critical survival processes such as arousal regulation at the brain level. In this context, she investigates the role of dissociation and the interplay of the central nervous system and the autonomous nervous system (i.e., brain-body interaction). She is also concerned with the impact of trauma on implicit memory processes, their neuronal underpinnings, and the association with dissociation. Janine aims to inform therapeutic approaches through her research by identifying behavioral and biopsychological parameters. To date, she has published 33 publications and serves on the Scientific Committee for the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation.
- 1.50 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.
- 1.50 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 1.50 continuing education credits.
- 1.50 ISSTD Certificate ProgramThis program is eligible for 1.50 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.
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