Single Paper or Case Study

Dissociation as the Hidden Obstacle to Treatment Success

Sunday, March 25
3:30 PM - 3:50 PM
Location: Logan

In eating disorder programs, domestic violence shelters and substance abuse rehabilitation centers there are certain clients seen as difficult, problematic, resistant and manipulative. Their treatment histories are marked by repeated failures.

Dissociative symptoms are common responses among many of these “difficult” clients. Unfortunately these defenses are hidden and overlooked factors complicating treatment and compromising the outcomes.  A review of current literature provides a glimpse into the nature and extent of this problem.  The ramifications of overlooking or ignoring this class of client defenses will be delineated. 

This presentation will explore how the “difficult” client utilizes dissociative defenses to modulate affect and control attachment crises and conflicts.  Participants will be able to identify dissociative defenses, utilize diagnostic tools to confirm the presence of dissociative symptoms, and design treatment plans utilizing specific techniques to respond to these clients’ needs. Participants will be able to communicate effectively with colleagues in agency settings, treatment centers and other programs as to how to recognize and work with dissociative clients.

Learning Objectives:

Kevin J. Connors

Long Beach, CA

Kevin J. Connors, MS is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in private practice in Long Beach, California and a frequent national and international presenter on complex trauma and dissociative disorders. He is co-author of Treating Complex Trauma and Dissociation: A practical guide to navigating therapeutic challenges.

Kevin is a Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD); currently serving as the President-Elect of the ISSTD and the Co-Chair of their Conference Committee. Kevin also serves as Chair of the Institute on Violence, Abuse, & Trauma’s International Summit Planning Committee’s Adult Survivors of Childhood Maltreatment Track and as a Board Member of the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence.


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Dissociation as the Hidden Obstacle to Treatment Success

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