Changes in traumatic memory are a hot topic within psychotherapeutic long-term treatment of dissociative posttraumatic disorders. In cases of exposure to violence from major attachment figures or of severely shocking experiences for infants at preverbal and preschool age, the traumatic incidents will often be stored as very fragmentary-distorted, mixed emotional-magical memories, arranged in the mind in a structurally illogical way. Traumatically harmed clients will often be confronted, in the courtroom e.g., with unscientific and sometimes cynical misrepresentations of their traumatogenic memory problems as “evidence of their non-credibility". We have put this important issue on the agenda of our next ‒ shorter ‒ conference so as to not leave the field of a much-needed scientific analysis of changes in traumatic memory to the False Memory movement.
By presenting a number of case studies and different practitioners’ perspectives, we would like to illuminate the ways in which trauma memory changes in an intricate interaction process between individual and group therapy treatment, from the first session to the successful completion of psychotherapy. That is, what kind of atmospheric, symbolic or factual content information initially holds and how these data can be set in motion over the course of the clients’ recovery, or how they can be brought to the surface and be organized through different therapy methods.
List of confirmed Speakers
PD Dr. phil. Rosemarie Barwinski (Switzerland) Is a psychoanalyst and psychotherapist in her own private practice in Winterthur (Switzerland) and a lecturer at the University of Cologne. Since her habilitation dissertation in 2005, she has been researching the topic of trauma processing in analytical long-term treatment; director of the Swiss Institute for Psychotraumatology (SIPT), Winterthur; numerous publications in the field of psycho-traumatology, psychotherapy and trauma memory research.
Topic: “The integration of traumatic experiences”
The mental integration of traumatic experiences is a very complex process which not only includes dealing with overwhelming emotions but goes along with changes in the client’s mental structures. As these changes can sometimes take years – especially in the context of early childhood traumatization – the aim is to gain insight into the long-term processes of these changes. Using case vignettes, a model will be presented that describes the mental processes and insights necessary to handle such complex traumatic experiences that were made in a distant past. The model was developed on the basis of the results of one of Dr. Barwinski’s own studies that looked into trauma-related steps of change in three long-term therapies of moderately to severely traumatized patients. Consequences for psychotherapeutical practice that might arise from the results of the study will be pointed out.
PhD Renée P. Marks (United Kingdom) Renée Marks is the senior psychotherapist at the Integrate Families Institute in Manchester (Northern England). The institute is a national center for children and youth suffering from complex trauma and dissociation. Mrs. Marks is a national and international coach for attachment disorders, affect regulation disorders and other forms of complex traumatization in children and adults. She is also chairwoman of the ESTD committee on children and adolescents, as a specialist for severe complex traumatization in children and adolescents. Other field Dr. Marks works in are supervision and forensic psychiatric reports.
Topic: “Therapeutic changes in the memory of children and adolescents with dissociative trauma disorders”
Children suffering from preverbal trauma often have poor memories of the trauma, including many memory gaps. External manifestations of their history are likely disturbed behavior, emotions, word order and spontaneous actions.
Over the course of trauma treatment, we often notice symbolic or metaphorical symptoms before the verbal memory begins to operate. These breakthroughs will initially often present themselves as one-word sentences. These can be regarded as fragmented trauma markers in the context of upcoming emotions. Over the course of trauma exposition work, these details will change significantly and their correlation with context will increase. The changes trauma memory undergoes will be illustrated by case studies of children and adolescents.
PhD Valerie Sinason (United Kingdom) Is a poet, writer, psychotherapist for children and adults, and a psychoanalyst. She has worked in the Tavistock and Portman clinics and at the department of psychiatric disabilities at the St George Hospital Medical School (University of London). She is a founding member and director of the Clinic for Dissociative Research, an independent tertiary provider of the NHS (UK National British Health Service). She is the author of numerous articles, books (including, as the editor: "Trauma, Dissociation and Multiplicity: Working on Identity and Selves”), and various other monographs on working with highly dissociative disorders. .
Topic: “Therapeutic problems with and access to the memory of highly dissociative patients”
Building on long-term experience with highly dissociative clients, some basic attachment-oriented rules for working with psychotrauma will be described as they have been applied in the London clinic for years. Following that, it will be pointed out ‒ by analyzing case studies with patients suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder ‒ which general and specific changes occur in trauma processing and which resourceful interventions served to tackle these cases and their respective crises. It is particularly complicated to deal with clients who still have direct or covert contact with their perpetrators within or outside their families, where the trauma occurred. In theoretical proximity to the SPIM-30 model of introject development, suggestions for dissociative categories ‒ such as quaternary dissociation ‒ are explained, which might contribute be a significantly to a new understanding of trauma dynamics in highly dissociative patients.
DP Irina Vogt (Leipzig) Irina Vogt is a psychotraumatologist and depth psychologist (psychodynamic therapist) working in private practice. She is also a body psychotherapist and creative arts and play therapist. She has been working with complexly traumatized / dissociative patients for over 20 years. Together with her husband, she has been working on the SPIM-30 treatment program for dissociative disorders since about the year 2000. In 2002, they founded the Trauma Institute Leipzig as a training and research center. Irina Vogt has also worked as a trauma specialist lecturer for other national and international institutions. 2011 Fellow Award of ISSTD for outstanding achievements in the field of traumatherapy.
Topic: “Case studies of memory confusion in dissociative disorders”
In Fallanalysen mit dissoziativen Traumapatienten werden empirisch Ereignisfolgen von In case analyses of dissociative trauma clients, the consequences of trauma exposure for women overrun with sexual violence will be empirically investigated and described as stages of psychodynamic insight. The focus will be on differentiated work with different personality parts, which is an essential and constant component in working with these clients. It is particularly worth noting that perpetrator introjects seem to systematically thwart the analytical and processing work over and over again, trying to crush any further trauma work with their dissociative re-enactment capacities. These perpetrator structures seem to sometimes hold the key to understanding the initially split-off trauma content. They correspond to the unconscious, extended perpetrator’s will, maintaining the perpetrator’s smokescreen by activating auto-aggressive punishment and destabilizing relapses in the internal regulation. The practicalities of handling trauma treatment according to the SPIM-30 model and the corresponding settings will be described.
Dr. rer. nat., DP Ralf Vogt (Leipzig) Dr. Vogt is a psychotraumatologist and psychoanalyst working in private practice. He is also an analytical body psychotherapist, family therapist and clinician for imaginative psychotherapy (guided imagery). He has been working with complexly traumatized clients for about 20 years. Since 2000, he and his wife have been working together on the development of their own treatment program for dissociative disorders, SPIM 30. Together, they founded the Trauma Institute Leipzig as a training and research center in 2002. Dr. Vogt is a Past Board Member of the International Board of the ISSTD. In 2011, he received the Fellow Award for outstanding achievements in the field. He is the author of numerous books on the subject.
Topic: “Research concept for memory level changes in trauma patients”
Zu Beginn sollen neue Erkenntnisse des SPIM 30-Modells in Bezug der neurobiologischen At the outset, new findings from the SPIM-30 model will be outlined theoretically in terms of neurobiological links to the Polyvagal theory by Porges, as well as our own classification of trauma types, perpetrator attachment structures and the gradual memory reconstruction work. Then, the practical implications of these findings will be discussed. Bridges to contributions from American colleagues (Kluft, Putnam) and Dutch trauma specialists (Van der Hart, Nijenhuis, Steele) will be pointed out, and integrative connections will be established. The aim here is to make the 7-stage model of the SPIM-30 theory more transparent for other colleagues by comparing some of the SPIM-30 key terms and concepts with the terminology used in other renowned theories.
To conclude with, case studies from a small practice study will be presented, including an analysis of the changes in trauma memory contents, based on individual cases and small diagnostic groups. Regular or frequently found empirical results of the processes of change will be described hypothetically. Here, a dynamic understanding of trauma material that is accessible or protected out of necessity material will be a central focus, which might give practical input to and cross-fertilize future memory research at university level.
MSc Psych Winja Lutz (Bad Wildungen) Winja Lutz is a qualified, state-approved educator and a psychologist and specialized trauma consultant, also holding a diploma in fine arts. She has worked as an educator for inpatient youth services for many years, as a researcher at the Trauma Institute Leipzig, and as an interpreter in the field of trauma therapy. Since 2015, she has been working as an inpatient psychologist at the Wicker Clinic, Bad Wildungen. She has translated several textbooks on trauma therapy into German, and in 2013, received the ISSTD Student Award for her outstanding achievements in the field. She is on the editorial board of the ESTD, and a university lecturer for trauma pedagogics.
Topic: “Getting lost in the mall is not child abuse – Loftus and the methodological errors of memory researchers”
This presentation will briefly outline various features of memory under normal versus stressful conditions, and then go on to introduce the current state of research on the so-called "trauma memory”. The example of the Lost-In-The-Mall study by Elizabeth Loftus is used to point out the manifold methodological flaws of memory research within the framework of the False-Memory-Syndrome movement attempting to deny the reality of dissociative amnesia.
Other speakers have been asked for a contribution.
Now also in english language!
SPIM 30. Treatment Model for Dissociative Trauma Disorders
Selected Essays, Concepts and Case Examples
2015, 200 pages
"Täterbindung – Gruppentherapie und Soziale Neurobiologie"
has been published at Asanger Verlag.
Asanger Verlag, Kröning
Hardcover, 272 pages (german)