Where to Start First? Treating Dissociative Youth with High Rate of Comorbidity

Dissociative children and adolescents often present with a plethora of comorbid symptoms that can cause severe impairment in attention, relationships, school adjustment, and self-control. Some disturbing behaviors, such as obsessive-compulsive disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse, and destructive, suicidal or homicidal behaviors, can be very dangerous and often difficult to manage. These behaviors can take center stage in the treatment trajectory and be very resistant to typical interventions. Often, these children’s placements are disrupted, and they cycle through residential, psychiatric hospitals, foster and adoptive homes with little improvement. 

This workshop will describe when and how to target these disturbing and resistant symptoms while exploring dissociative mechanisms that are driving the symptoms. Examining internal dynamics of often hidden states, origin of past, unresolved traumas and environmental stressors that contribute and perpetuate these symptoms will be discussed. Creative Intervention strategies that uncover and treat these symptoms will be described. Clinical vignettes, artwork, and videos will illustrate the process of treatment.

This session was originally presented as a live webinar in April 2020.

Target Audience


Learning Objectives

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

  • Recognize dissociative mechanisms that are driving the symptoms
  • Describe how to interview the child for hidden states that carry the symptoms
  • Identify creative strategies to stabilize the child to minimize disturbing behaviors
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 3.00 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 3.00 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.
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Presenter: Frances S Waters, DCSW, LMSW, LMFT
Presenter Biography: Frances S. Waters, DCSW, LMSW, LMFT, is an internationally recognized trainer, consultant, and clinician in the area of childhood trauma, abuse, and dissociation, and has presented extensively in five continents Ms. Waters is the past President of The International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD) and has served on many committees with ISSD, including currently co-chair of ISSTD’s Child & Adolescent Committee, and Faculty Director of the Child Adolescent Psychotherapy Training Programs. She also serves on Editorial Board of the Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, contributing guest editor for the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, and on the national Advisory Board of the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence. Ms. Waters is author of Healing the Fracture Child: Diagnosing and Treating Dissociative Youth (2016) and has published many chapters and articles on childhood trauma and dissociation. Ms. Waters is the executive producer of two training videos, The Traumatized Child: Understanding and Parenting the Traumatized Child, and Trauma & Dissociation in Children specifically geared toward child forensic evaluators and prosecutors. Ms. Waters received the 2008 Media Award from American Professional Society on Abuse of Children for her production of Trauma and Dissociation in Children, and ISSTD’s Presidential Award for her faculty directorship of ISSTD’s Psychotherapy Training Course on Child & Adolescent Trauma and Dissociation. She is a fellow of ISSTD. She maintains a private practice in Marquette, MI.

Presenter: Joyanna Silberg, PhD
Presenter Biography: Joyanna Silberg, Ph.D. is the Senior Consultant for Child and Adolescent Trauma at Sheppard Pratt Health System in Baltimore Maryland and the President of the Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence. Her psychotherapy practice specializes in children and adolescents suffering from dissociative symptoms and disorders, and her forensic practice specializes in child sexual abuse She is past-president of the International Society for the Study of Trauma & Dissociation (ISSTD) and recipient of the 1992 Walter P. Klopfer Award for her research, 1997 Cornelia Wilbur Award for clinical excellence, and the 2011 William Friedrich Award for work on Child Sexual Abuse. Silberg is the editor of The Dissociative Child (Sidran Press) and co-editor of Misinformation Concerning Child Sexual Abuse and Adult Survivors (Haworth Press). She received the Written Media award from ISST-D for her newest book The Child Survivor: Healing Developmental Trauma and Dissociation, which was released by Routledge Press in 2013, new edition, 2020.

Available Credit

  • 3.00 ISSTD Certificate Program
    This program is eligible for 3.00 credits in the ISSTD Certificate Program.


ISSTD Member cost:
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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 cfas@isst-d.org to receive the appropriate discount code.