What Is the Adult Self in
Complex Trauma and Dissociation?

There is some controversy over whether it is necessary to work directly with all parts or only to work with parts through the “adult self” in clients with DID and Complex PTSD. This workshop will describe problems that have led some clinicians to emphasize working solely through the adult self, such as dependency of child parts, chaotic switching, and unwillingness of the adult self of the client to engage in treatment. We will explore what we are really trying to achieve by requesting an “adult part” in the room, that is, to ensure the client can engage in a cooperative therapeutic endeavor. An alternative that allows for more flexibility in working directly with parts as needed will be offered. We will focus on three main issues: (1) how to access capacities in the client that are required to engage in effective psychotherapy: the ability to be present, to access and regulate emotion, to work cooperatively with the therapist, to share subjective experience, and to reflect; (2) how to decide when it is in the client’s benefit to work through an adult part or more directly with other parts; and (3) how to engage the entire systems of parts in each session.

Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe rationale for working through the adult self, as well as the pros and cons of this approach
  2. List capacities needed for a client to engage in effective psychotherapy

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60 day recording access.
Professional Development CEs not applicable.


Recorded June 2022
2 x 1 hour webinar.

Continuing Education Credits not available

Other Topics in this Series with Kathy Steele:

Register for all 4 Topics (14 Hours!)

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Page Last Updated: 02 August 2022