Please Don't Leave Me: Strategies to Promote Healthier Absences for Clients & Therapists

Many of our complex trauma and dissociative clients have difficulties when their therapists take time off for a myriad of reasons such as regulation dependency, fear of abandonment, developmental wounds, insecure/anxious attachment styles and/or punishing introject states.  Vacations, medical time off, and/or traveling for conferences all become challenging times for both therapists and their traumatized clients.  Often clients become unstable, participate in self-harm, display aggression upon therapist return, or and may even have to be hospitalized for suicidal ideation.  Therapists can struggle with guilt and anxiety on how to address their need for educational, personal, and/or recreational time off and may even feel controlled by their client’s dependent nature.    This program will address important considerations within the realm of ego state work to understand their client’s ‘panic’, and to  foster healthier absences for both client and therapist, including developmental repair, addressing attachment styles, fostering concept of object constancy for younger states, promoting ego state self-regulation, strengthening and cooperative strategies.

This session was originally presented as a live conference session in May 2020.

Target Audience


Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this session participants will be able to:

  • Describe the role of attachment theory at play during therapeutic absences and upon return Illustrate several strategies based on ego state theory to assist in self-regulation during absences
  • Demonstrate use of transitional objects for absences and ways to reinforce their success
  • Demonstrate ways to foster concept of object permanence for young ego states to help alleviate fears of no return
  • Describe ways to elicit ego state cooperation and collaboration to manage absences
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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ISSTD Member cost:
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Presenter: Wendy Lemke, MS Licensed Psychotherapist
Presenter Bio:  Wendy is a licensed psychologist with a clinical and consulting practice. She also serves as adjunct faculty for St. Cloud Technical Community College. She is an American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) certified approved consultant, current secretary, and a former Vice President for ASCH. She is also an active member of the Minnesota Society of Clinical Hypnosis (MSCH) and has served on the Board and various committees for both organizations as well as teaching basic, intermediate, and advanced workshops at regional and annual conferences.

She has received numerous awards including a journal award for publishing, a Merit award, and most recently a Presidential award for her continued efforts to expand clinical hypnosis education to the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. She was also honored with the Daniel P. Kohen M.D. Outstanding Clinician Award in recognition of outstanding leadership in the clinical practice, teaching, and utilization of therapeutic hypnosis by the Minnesota Society of Clinical Hypnosis.She is a fellow and an active member of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD).

She has published articles in the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, and the American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis. She also wrote and produced: You’re Not Crazy & You’re Not Alone: Inside the Inner World of Dissociative Identity Disorder as well as two Self-hypnosis CD’s: Self-hypnotic Mental Vacations, and Peaceful Mind, Peaceful Sleep.

Available Credit

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


ISSTD Member cost:
Your Price:
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"Your Price" above reflects your final price based on your membership status and career level. 

  • 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. 

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.