Preparing Clients to Resolve Attachment Trauma: Special Considerations for Attachment Injuries and Dissociation

Catherine HynesIn-Person Training

AVAILABILITY: in-person only
TARGET AUDIENCE: Mental Health Practitioners who work with complex trauma and wish to resolve traumatic memories. EMDR Therapy is an asset, but is not essential for this training.

COST:  $250 +GST per person
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In this workshop, Catherine discusses attachment injuries from a developmental and neurobiological perspective. Research evidence linking attachment injuries with dissociative disorders is reviewed, along with special treatment considerations for resolving trauma in the context of dissociation. Catherine provides practical, experiential exercises to establish the healing information that is required to heal these injuries, including how to establish this adaptive information in clients whose dissociative structures either block access to this information, or promote maladaptive information when attachment trauma is triggered.

Specific strategies are presented to resource clients in developing adaptive information from EMDR Therapy, and experiential strategies from Catherine’s own work, influenced by interpersonal neurobiology (Siegal, 2018; Hansen, 2018), polyvagal theory (Dana, 2018), and empirical research on trust (Brown, 2015). The content in this workshop is interwoven with clinical demonstrations and opportunities to practice skills throughout the workshop.

Detailed Content Summary

Part 1: Neurobiology of attachment

  • Why normal resourcing might not work with attachment injury
  • Recognising defenses against attachment
  • Strategies to address these defenses

Part 2: Safety: What has to be safe?

  • My body and its emotional responses
  • Other people
  • Love and Connection

Part 3: Responsibility: Who is responsible for making the children lovable?

  • Psychoeducation about Responsibility
  • Responsible for the self, one’s mistakes and somewhat one’s the environment: curating relationships and environments with values and assertiveness
  • Disentangling Blame and Responsibility

Part 4: Choices

  • Choosing to Heal, Choosing to Hope, Choosing to Matter
  • Choosing to exist, to feel, to set boundaries, to take on the metaphysical risk of existence, which means: people won’t like you sometimes
  • Choosing to connect in healthy ways

Recognising and Managing Resistance

Catherine HynesIn-Person Training

A wellbeing strategy for therapists and clients
Practicum Workshop

AVAILABILITY: in-person only
COST: $250 +GST per person
This workshop is capped at 21 participants, as there are 7 triads doing practicum throughout.
TARGET AUDIENCE: Mental Health Practitioners seeking strategies to formulate and overcome therapies that have become stuck.


Do you recognise these challenges in your work?

  • A client presents with such emotional vulnerability that you can’t bring yourself to start your intervention
  • A client is working hard on their therapy, but things aren’t improving, and they report a confusing “technical” problem that prevents the strategies that work for others working for them
  • No matter what you propose, your client reports it won’t work for them
  • You feel like you are doing more work on the therapy than a client

It’s possible that resistance is the source of the challenge. Do you know how to manage it?

Detailed Content Summary

Learning to recognise and manage resistance as a process in therapy helps your clients to make more progress, and also enhances your wellbeing as therapist.  Resistance refers to all the ways that people try not to feel their pain, (and all the ways we let clients do that), when facing the pain is what is needed for change.  In this workshop, Catherine walks you through:

  • Theories of resistance in the context of complex trauma
  • Self reflection on your caseload and your own profile of resistance
  • 3 x Practicum in triads (therapist-client-observer) to develop skills in addressing and managing resistance in your therapies, so it’s capped at 21 participants.

Part 1

  • Manifestation and Theories of Resistance in Therapy

Part 2

  • Self Reflection on Caseload
  • Self Reflection on Therapist Resistance
  • Practicum: starting a conversation about resistance

Part 3

  • Practicum Managing Resistance #1 – Hyperaroused Client
  • Group Debrief

Part 4

  • Practicum Managing Resistance #2 – Hypoaroused Client
  • Group Debrief

Working with Dissociation: Advanced Topics

Catherine HynesIn-Person Training

AVAILABILITY: in-person only
DURATION: 2 days
COST: In-Person Delivery Cost: $595+GST per person, including tea, coffee and lunch
TARGET AUDIENCE: Mental health practitioners who are seeking advanced levels skills in working with dissociation including DID.


This training is for mental health practitioners who have prior experience working with clients with complex trauma and dissociative disorders, who are looking to hone their advanced level skills in offering parts work interventions.  Catherine’s approach to working with trauma and dissociation is grounded in neurobiology, and is therapeutically integrative, involving strategies from Internal Family Systems Therapy, the Model of Structural Dissociation, Schema Therapy, Coherence therapy and other evidence-based approaches.  She also synthesises wisdom from experienced clinicians, including Kathy Steele, Janina Fisher, Richard Kluft, and Frank Putnam, among others. The training is a mix of didactic and interactive experiential demonstrations, and Catherine includes insights from her own clinical work.

Please be aware that this advanced training assumes that participants can agree with the following:

  • I am confident of the boundaries that need to be in place to safely work with clients who dissociate.
  • I know what causes dissociative disorders and how they originate.
  • I know about the false memory debate and the controversies about dissociative disorders, and I could defend my work with dissociative clients.
  • I know how to assess for dissociation.
  • I am able to treat people with dissociative parts, and I can produce a psychological formulation of a person’s internal system of parts.
  • I am competent in managing risk in dissociative clients.

For those who are not so confident, they will likely get more out of this training by first doing an introductory training in dissociation, for example: (, or by reading a text such as Treating Trauma-Related Dissociation (Steele, Boon & van der Hart, 2017).

Detailed Content Summary

Day 1:

Morning Session 1:

Context of Therapy

  • Therapy for dissociation is relational and emotional
  • A close look at risks to the therapeutic relationship
  • Strategies to mitigate the emotional intensity and repair ruptures

Definition of Dissociation

  • A neurobiological and developmental contextualising of dissociative disorders
  • A look at trance and dissociation
  • Inner Wisdom and Inner Self Helper Phenomena

Morning Session 2:

What is a Part?

  • Detailed look at several therapeutic models of parts
  • A critique of models looking at strengths and weaknesses
  • Development of an integrative approach to parts work

After Lunch Session 3:

How do you do parts work?

  • Details on Accessing Parts
  • Details on Mapping Parts
  • A Strategic Guide to Parts Work

Afternoon Session 4:

General Principles of Parts Work

  • Straightforward, Non-technical Therapy
  • Equanimity and its Challenges
  • Unresolved Dialectics and Polarisations
  • Grounding Therapy in Neurobiology

Day 2:

Morning Session 5:

Phases of Therapy

  • A close look at the 3 Phases of Trauma Therapy with details on strategies in each phase
  • Richard Kluft’s 9 Phases of Therapy

Morning Session 6:

What Types of Part Exist?

  • Detailed look at functions and types of parts
  • Development of a parts inventory with treatment considerations
  • Problem parts in treatment with specific solutions, including:
    • Anger
    • Shame
    • Affect Avoidance
    • Recalcitrant Toddler Parts
    • Perpetrator Imitating Parts

After Lunch Session 7:

Memory Work in Dissociative Disorders

  • A detailed look at the timing and process of memory resolution work in dissociative clients

Afternoon Session 8:

Integration Processes

  • The how and why of integration in dissociative disorders


  • The role of hypnosis in treatment
  • Specific techniques to enhance dissociative treatment

EMDR Therapy – Considerations for Complex Cases

Catherine HynesFree Webinars

18 July, 2019 (68 min)

This presentation looks at some of the complexities of using EMDR with complex trauma and dissociation. Catherine provides a detailed look at the adaptive information processing model and its therapeutic mechanics, demonstrating how to formulate complex cases with clarity. She takes a close look at common areas of confusion and stuck points for EMDR therapists, and introduces a framework for resolving these processing difficulties. This is elaborate in her 1-day training Advanced Topics in EMDR Therapy.

EMDR and Schema Therapy

Catherine HynesFree Webinars

30 November, 2018 (45 min)

This was the inaugural event of our Harmonious Discussions series at Brisbane Harmony Centre, where we get therapists together for a stimulating and sometimes controversial discussion on a topic in the trauma treatment field. You can sign up for an invitation to attend these free events here.

Working with Dissociation: an Introductory Workshop

Catherine HynesIn-Person Training

AVAILABILITY: in-person and online
Online: (

DURATION: 2 days
IN-PERSON DELIVERY COST: $595+GST per person, including tea, coffee and lunch
TARGET AUDIENCE: Mental Health Practitioners who work with trauma and complex trauma

Dissociation and dissociative disorders are common clinical phenomena, but unfortunately, they are often misunderstood, under-diagnosed and frequently remain untreated in clinical practice. This introductory workshop provides an overview of research on dissociative disorders, assessment and treatment considerations for mental health clinicians who are looking to begin to develop expertise in the treatment of trauma and dissociation in adults. 

This workshop is intended as professional development for mental health practitioners who offer therapeutic interventions for people with trauma. It assumes knowledge of clinical skills, working with complex clinical presentations, and therapy for trauma.

Detailed Content Summary

Part 1: The Context of Therapy

  • Working within Area of Expertise
  • Therapist Self Care
  • Grounding and Containment
  • Establishing Boundaries

Part 2: Research on Dissociative Disorders

  • Definition and Prevalence
  • Causes of Dissociative Disorders
  • Models and Explanations of Dissociation (briefly)
  • Controversies and Evidence Against the Controversies

Part 3: Assessment Considerations and Treatment Beginnings

  • History Taking
  • Reported
  • Observed
  • Formal Measures
  • Formulating Dissociation
  • Managing Dissociation in Session

Part 4: Treatment

  • Mapping a Dissociative System
  • Case example

Part 5: Managing Risks and Concluding Remarks

  • Possible road blocks to therapy
  • Directions for Future Learning

Trauma Informed Self Care for Clinicians

Catherine HynesIn-Person Training

AVAILABILITY: in-person and online
DURATION: 3 hours with 30 min break
TARGET AUDIENCE: Mental Health Practitioners who work with trauma presentations

Clinicians who work with people who have experienced trauma are at risk of developing vicarious trauma. In this practical workshop, Catherine describes research into vicarious trauma and its mitigation, and leads you through developing a detailed personal plan for self care, giving you time to reflect on your personal situation, and providing trauma informed strategies from EMDR therapy and somatosensory psychotherapy, along with practical tips from Catherine’s own experience as a trauma therapist in private practice.

Detailed Content Summary

Workshop Content

The workshop covers research and practice on vicarious trauma, including:

  • Vicarious trauma defined, and research on how all mental health workers are at risk
  • Risk and Protective Factors for complex trauma
  • Self-reflection on current workplace stress
  • Trauma-Informed Framework for Clinician Self Care
    • Workplace Strategies for Reducing Vicarious Traumatisation
    • Work-Life Balance
    • Time to Generate a Personal Plan

Workshop Activities

Participants are asked to self-assess their mental health at the moment, as they would do an Intake with a client for a mental health service.  This information is private to the participant, and includes:

  • Completing an Impact of Events Scale on their current most stressful workplace situation, and participants with a score greater than 29 (i.e. may meet criteria for PTSD) are advised to seek mental health support beyond this workshop.
  • Completing the Adverse Childhood Experiences Scale for both Risk and Resilience Factors
  • Taking a detailed mental health history, including medial, relationship, trauma and bereavement history, as well as current stressors

During the workshop, participants are invited to take detailed notes and develop a personal self care plan incorporating aspects of the workshop, including:

  • A detailed assessment of current stressors
  • Developing a Self Care Plan outside work
  • Developing a Self Care Plan for work, including strategies for:
    • During sessions
    • General Workplace Approaches
    • Daily and Yearly plans

Advanced Topics in EMDR Therapy

Catherine HynesIn-Person Training

Extending your Practice to Work with Dissociation and Complex Trauma

AVAILABILITY: in-person and online (

DURATION: 2 days
IN-PERSON DELIVERY COST: $595+GST per person, including tea, coffee and lunch
TARGET AUDIENCE: Practitioners who have completed EMDR Basic training and are looking to extend their skills to work with complex trauma


The topics in this training are based on common questions and stuck point that therapists raise in consultation with Catherine in her work as an EMDR Consultant. Topics include a closer look at the Adaptive Information Processing Model, EMDR, Attachment and Dissociation, Choosing Negative and Positive Cognitions, Doing Resourcing Well, Using Cognitive Interweaves, Using Future Templates, Dealing with Blocked Processing, Using Bilateral Stimulation Progressively, Mobilising Self Compassion, EMDR and Values.

Detailed Content Summary

Part 1: Adaptive Information Processing Model: Presenting EMDR Therapy to Clients (51 min online)

  • Overview of the AIP model in broad neurobiological terms, linking it to action systems in the limbic system
  • Detailed demonstrations of how to present neurobiological rationales for trauma therapy, EMDR Therapy, and resolving emotion phobia to your clients
  • Demonstration of the Container exercise

Part 2: EMDR Therapy, Attachment and Dissociation (1h 14 min online)

  • Brief overview of attachment and dissociation and their relevance to trauma therapy
  • Assessment and formulation of dissociation for EMDR Therapy
  • Demonstrations of how to present dissociation to clients
  • Brief overview of some therapies that address dissociation

Part 3: Making an EMDR Formulation (29 min online)

  • Making an EMDR formulation
  • EMDR specific risk factors, attachment assessments and EMDR trauma themes
  • Practice formulating 3 cases for EMDR Therapy

Part 4: The Meaning we Make of Trauma: Establishing Negative and Positive Cognitions (1h 32 min online)

  • This section addresses the most common question from new EMDR therapists in consultation: “How do you know when you have the right Negative Cognition?”
  • Practice assessing for the three trauma themes in 3 cases
  • Transcripts of real sessions determining the NC with commentary
  • Resourcing considerations for each trauma theme

Part 5: Comments on the Standard Protocol (36 min online)

  • Cognitive Interweaves as a means of bridging Maladaptive and Adaptive Information
  • Review of each step of the standard protocol and special considerations for each step
  • Comments on bilateral stimulation

Part 6: Help!! Processing Problems (1h 18 min online)

  • A close look at common challenges with the Phase 4, reprocessing
  • Linking processing to formulation
  • Roadmap to addressing processing problems and steps to take depending on the challenge you are facing
  • Demonstration and/or of some adjunct protocols that are useful for resolving processing problems, including: Loving Eyes, CIPOS, Flash, Parts Work, Level of Urge to Avoid, Positive
  • Affect Tolerance
  • Overview of using the Progressive Approach to EMDR when the Standard Protocol is not possible

Part 7: EMDR Therapy and Values (27 min online)

  • Brief comments on the relevance of values work to EMDR Therapy with complex trauma
  • Demonstration of an Inner Wisdom exercise to access values
  • Comments on the self and values
  • Concluding remarks