Post Conference Workshop

Mainstreaming Complex Trauma: Strategies, Opportunities and Ongoing Challenges

Monday, March 26
1:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Wilson

Neuroscience has validated the role of dissociation as a response to traumatic events. Incorporating such findings, the DSM V has expanded the PTSD diagnostic category to include a Dissociative Sub-type. Despite such important insights many clinicians ignore the existence of dissociation in the patients they treat. Many insurance companies in the USA will not reimburse for treatment that primarily targets dissociative symptoms. Many training programs do no include information on dissociation and Complex PTSD/dissociative disorders in their syllabus. Trying to inform others in a treatment team about the presence of dissociation can be challenging, as many health professionals seemingly remain comfortable in the belief that this spectrum of illness does not exist or that its origins are socio-cultural/iatrogenic. The "false memory syndrome" advocates have been able to create enough doubt, such that claims of child abuse are not infrequently considered unreliable and as such can be ignored.

In this workshop, the presenters will discuss their experiences in "mainstreaming" complex trauma/dissociative disorders and advocating for victims and survivors of severe abuse, and they present a group of guiding principles for the advancement of the complex trauma/dissociative disorders field. Key themes include:

· Understanding the impact of the 'memory wars' on practice and patient care
· Analyzing the use and misuse of research and evidence in the complex trauma/dissociative disorders field
· Recognizing the role of the mass media and the internet in shaping public and clinical understandings of complex trauma/dissociative disorders
· Responding to the backlash against the provision of care to complex trauma survivors - working with the politics of trauma
· Addressing vicarious trauma and its negative effect on public advocacy efforts
· Consolidating and growing the evidence base for organized abuse - including an analysis of the conduct and findings of major commissions of inquiry
· Crafting a mainstream message about the extreme or seemingly "bizarre" in complex trauma
· Finding sound fellow travellers and working with them
· Guidelines for being a safe practitioner in the field of trauma and dissociation and for making constructive research and clinical contributions

Learning Objectives:

Warwick Middleton

Past President, ISSTD
Latrobe University, University of New England, University of Canterbury
Brisbane, Queensland

Professor Middleton has had long-term ongoing involvement with research, writing, teaching (including workshops and seminar presentations), supervision and conference convening. He has made substantial and ongoing contributions to the bereavement and trauma literatures and was with Dr Jeremy Butler author of the first published series in the Australian scientific literature detailing the abuse histories and clinical phenomenology of patients fulfilling diagnostic criteria for Dissociative Identity Disorder. He was the first researcher to publish systematic research into ongoing incestuous abuse during adulthood. He is a Past President of the ISSTD, is Co-Chair of the ISSTD Membership Committee, and Vice-Chair of the ISSTD Scientific Committee. Prof Middleton chairs The Cannan Institute. In 1996 he was a principal architect in establishing Australia’s first dedicated unit treating dissociative disorders (the Trauma and Dissociation Unit, Belmont Hospital). He has authored many papers and book chapters and has been the co-editor of two books based on journal special issues. The second such book ("The Abused and the Abuser: Victim - Perpetrator Dynamics" will be published in 14th January 2018 (Eds, Middleton, W, Sachs, A. & Dorahy, M. J.).


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Michael Salter

Senior lecturer in criminology
Western Sydney University, School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Waterloo, New South Wales

Dr Michael Salter is a criminologist based at Western Sydney University, and an internationally recognized expert in organised abuse and complex trauma. He is the author of Organised Sexual Abuse (Routledge, 2013), the first research monograph on organised abuse in Australia, and he is published internationally on the subjects of child sexual abuse and violence against women. He leads the ANROWS-funded research project “Constructions of complex trauma and implications for women’s wellbeing and safety from violence” which is examining multi-agency response to complex trauma.

Dr Salter sits on the Board of Directors and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, where he chairs the Organised Abuse Special Interest Group. He has been an expert advisor to the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and he has consulted to state and federal agencies and governments on the primary prevention of violence against children and women. He regularly delivers training to mental health workers, police and child protection workers on complex trauma and organised abuse. He is involved in international efforts to improve the identification, support and care of victims of online child abuse imagery.


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Heather Hall

Attending Psychiatrist
Heather Hall MD LLC
Elk Grove, California

Dr. Hall is a psychiatrist who sees adults and adolescents aged 14 and older. She specializes in working with patients from diverse backgrounds by developing an individual, personalized treatment plans. She completed her medical education at Hahnemann University (now Drexel University) in Philadelphia, PA, and her psychiatric residency training at the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital. She is certified by the American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry.
Dr. Hall is an attending psychiatrist at TMS Health Solutions, where she treats audiences and adults. She specializes in both medication management and psychotherapy. Dr. Hall has additional expertise in working with patients who have a history of early childhood trauma.
As a former Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California in the school of medicine at both UCSF and UC Davis, Dr. Hall taught community psychiatry, cultural diversity, and competency to psychiatry residents and medical students. Her clinical duties involved medical leadership and treatment at the UC San Francisco Medical Center’s Cultural Focused Units and Turning Point Community Program.


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Thomas G. Carlton

ICE Health Service Corps
San Diego, California

Thomas G. Carlton, M.D. is a psychiatrist, clinician and teacher. He is a fellow of the International Society for the Study of Dissociation (ISSTD), and a former Treasurer and Past President of ISSTD. Dr. Carlton has presented at ISSTD conferences, and has taught for the ISSTD Professional Training Program at standard and advanced levels for over 15 years.

Dr. Carlton spent the first half of his professional career as a US Navy psychiatrist, treating military personnel and their families. On retiring from the Navy, he entered solo private practice, with a focus on trauma-related disorders. For eight years, he was the Medical Director of the Center for Emotional Trauma Recovery at Lake Chelan, an acute inpatient unit for dissociative disorders and other disorders related to complex trauma. Since leaving Chelan, Dr. Carlton has worked for two managed care companies, trained military Family Medicine Residents in the aspects of behavioral health care that people bring to their personal physician, and worked as a clinician in a Naval Hospital serving US Marines and their families.

Dr. Carlton is board certified in both psychiatry and addiction medicine. He currently resides in San Diego, CA.


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Mainstreaming Complex Trauma: Strategies, Opportunities and Ongoing Challenges

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