When Angels Fear to Tread: Perpetrator Introjects in Children


Complex behaviour in children are escalating worldwide. Many hours are presently being invested by therapists and mental health professionals to combat these very complex behaviours, which at times can leave experienced mental health professionals despondent. Some of these behaviours in children who suffered complex trauma, might be due to perpetrator introjects, a less familiar dissociative state. The usual way to address dissociative states, does not always appear to be successful where perpetrator introjects are present in the child. This training will explain the term perpetrator introjects, which is relatively new in the world of trauma and dissociation. In some of the more complex cases where parents, adults and children become the regular victims of some of the most traumatised children, the possibility of the presence of a persecutor introject needs to be explored. During this training the origins of perpetrator introjects will be analysed as well as the signs of a perpetrator introject. This training will also explore the different types of perpetrator introjects as well as the functioning of these complex dissociative states. In the second part of this training the focus will be on the most important aspects that might need to be taken into account during the therapeutic process. The therapeutic process might be complex, but with a good understanding and working with dissociative children, this training will greatly enhance the participants concept of perpetrator introjects and empower participants to formulate a more effective treatment plan for children and adolescents with a perpetrator introject. During this training there will be multiple references and discussions of practical cases.

Target Audience


Learning Objectives


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

  • Distinguish between a dissociative state in a child or adolescent and the presence of a perpetrator introject
  • Identify the different types of perpetrator introjects in children and adolescents
  • Design a more effective treatment plan for children or adolescents with perpetrator introjects
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: Renée Potgieter Marks, PhD
Presenter Bio: Renee Potgieter Marks, has over 32 years experience working with children and families. She provides assessments and direct therapeutic interventions in relation to attachment and complex trauma. She is recognized for her specialist knowledge in relation to allegations, sexual abuse, trauma and dissociation in children and adolescents. Dr. Marks works predominantly in the fields of adoption, fostering and corporate parenting. She has an international reputation and has been involved in delivering training and keynote speeches across the English speaking world.

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 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. 
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