“CP,” a client with Dissociative Identity Disorder, is working on changing her relationship to chronic suicidal ideation and impulsivity. In this session, she is helped to re-frame the wish to die as an expression of a suicidal part of her personality trying to control flashbacks and overwhelming emotions. This helps her more clearly differentiate the wish to live despite the self-destructive impulses. She speaks frankly about the shame evoked by traditional approaches to suicidality and how it fuels the suicidal part to desperate measures. By understanding the suicidal ideation as a communication from the suicidal part, she reports a growing ability to keep herself safe, no matter how intense the suicidal impulses.
Janina Fisher, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and former instructor at The Trauma Center, a research and treatment center founded by Bessel van der Kolk. Known as an expert on the treatment of trauma, Dr. Fisher has also been treating individuals, couples, and families since 1980.
She is past president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation, an EMDR International Association Credit Provider, Assistant Educational Director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and a former Instructor, at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Fisher lectures and teaches nationally and internationally on topics related to the integration of the neurobiological research and newer trauma treatment paradigms into traditional therapeutic modalities.
She is co-author with Pat Ogden of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Attachment and Trauma (2015) and author of Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Internal Self-Alienation (2017) and the forthcoming book, Working with the Neurobiological Legacy of Trauma (in press).
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