Treating Children with Dissociative Disorders : Attachment, Trauma, Theory and Practice book cover
1st Edition

Treating Children with Dissociative Disorders
Attachment, Trauma, Theory and Practice

ISBN 9781032159768
Published December 31, 2021 by Routledge
282 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book provides a comprehensive overview of research into dissociation in children and adolescents and challenges conventional ideas about complex behaviours.

Offering a new perspective to those who are unfamiliar with dissociation in children, and challenging prevalent assumptions for those who are experienced in the field, the editors encourage the professional to ask questions about the child’s internal experiences beyond a diagnosis of the external symptoms. Chapters bring together a range of international experts working in the field, and interweave theories, practice, and challenging and complex case material, as well as identifying mistakes that therapists can avoid while working with children who dissociate.

Filled with practical tools and examples, this book is a vital resource for professionals to enrich their practice with children who dissociate.

Table of Contents

1. Attachment and Dissociation Karl Heinz Brisch  2. Infant Attachment and Dissociative Psychopathology: An Approach Based on The Evolutionary Theory of Multiple Motivational Systems Giovanni Liotti  3. Importance of Attachment in the Presence of a Perceived Threat Mary Sue Moore  4. "You will not believe me if I tell you!" - Prenatal Trauma and Dissociation Renée Potgieter Marks  5. A Case Series of 70 Victims of Exploitation from Child Sexual Abuse imagery Joyanna Silberg  6. Star Theoretical Model: An Integrative Model for Assessing and Treating Childhood Dissociation Frances Waters  7. The Power of Care and Love: The Healing that comes from Teaching Non-offending Parents how to Regulate their Child after Physical and Sexual Abuse Christine Forner  8. Structuring treatment for dissociative children with the Sleeping Dogs method Arianne Struik  9. Genesis of a Dissociative Child: Kayleigh’s story – how ‘I’ became ‘us’ Jo Russell  10. The Inside-Outside Technique: exploring dissociation and fostering self-reflection Sandra Baita  11. Severe and unusual self-harm in DID: Motive, Means and Opportunity Adah Sachs  12. I Didn’t Know Where You Were: In the Play Space of Treatment with a Young Dissociative Boy Eva Teirstein Young  13. A Journey of Discovery Joy Hasler  14. The Price that Society and the Individual Victim Pays Zoe Hawton  15. Covid-19 – The Challenge, the Solution and the Unknown: Treating Dissociative Children Online Renée Potgieter Marks

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Valerie Sinason, PhD, is a widely published writer and psychoanalyst. She has pioneered disability and trauma-informed therapy for over 30 years, is President of the Institute of Psychotherapy and Disability, is Founder and Patron of the Clinic for Dissociative Studies and is on the Board of the ISSTD.

Renée Potgieter Marks specialises in working with children with complex trauma and dissociation. She is a national and international trainer on attachment, complex trauma and dissociation, and founder of Integrate Families and BICTD.


"Dissociative disorder in adults – ‘the presence of two or more distinct identity or personality states’ – is well known. Despite the fact that the majority of traumatic experiences associated with Dissociative Disorder derive from Adverse Childhood Experiences, there is less familiarity with the condition in childhood and young people. This detailed text aims to redress this failure, by describing the latest clinical and trauma research, integrating attachment, neurobiology, child development, mental health and family systems offering unique perspectives on the phenomena of dissociation, and presentations in children and young people.

Through clinical examples of detailed highly skilled therapeutic work with seriously traumatised children and young people, the concept of dissociation is brought to life – a key response to overwhelming toxic and damaging traumatic stress through the life-course. These result in the presence of self-states that either influence the child internally or directly by taking executive control over their bodies. An elemental dramatic relationship is enacted in the inner world of the child or young person, between figures who can guide, protect and cope, or are destructive to the self or other.  

The detailed therapeutic task is described, understanding the nature and origins of dissociative responses, and the extensive work of creating a coherent narrative of experiences. Separate self-states need to be integrated to establish a coherent, mature, individual, who can put their experiences in memory, to be open to relationships, to be creative and not to repeat and promulgate disastrous toxic ways of being." Arnon Bentovim, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist; Formerly Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and the Tavistock Clinic, UK 

"This is a long awaited and much needed book. Brave, theoretically deep, imbued with rich clinical experience, daring to state what we fear to hear, and written by some of the finest and most experienced clinicians in this field, this is a must-read for anyone trying to get to grips with this complex and challenging area of work." Graham Music, PhD; Consultant Psychotherapist, Tavistock Centre, London; Author, Nurturing Natures, The Good Life and Nurturing Children

"Offering detailed case histories and guidelines for treatment of children with complex symptoms (including discrete dissociative states of consciousness), this rare book takes us deep into the under-explored realm of multiple types of extreme trauma suffered by young victims, ranging from family violence, emotional or sexual abuse, to cyber-crime exploitation on the darknet. Experienced practitioners sensitively elucidate the ‘undoing’ of seemingly inexplicable disturbances in memory, identity, affect, soma and behaviour as aftereffects of protective dissociation, regarded here as a ‘psychological escape hatch – the only getaway at the time of the trauma’." Professor Joan Raphael-Leff, PhD; Retired Psychoanalyst/Transcultural Psychologist; Fellow of the British Psychoanalytical Society; Member, IPA; Leader, Academic Faculty for Psychoanalytic Research, Anna Freud Centre