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Digital Seminar

The Body as a Shared Whole: Using Visualization Techniques to Treat Dissociation

Janina Fisher, PhD
1 Hour 02 Minutes
Audio and Video
Sep 24, 2020
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Digital Seminar
Never expires.


Disconnection from self in the context of traumatic experience is a survival strategy that allows victims to disown what is happening and disown the parts that are victimized. The cost of dissociation as an instinctive mental survival response is often lifelong internal conflicts, shame and self-loathing, difficulty self-soothing, and complications in relationships with others.  Without internal coherence or compassion, these individuals are vulnerable to suicidality and self-harm or substance abuse, often marginalized by the label of “borderline.”

Despite the feeling of being irretrievably damaged, all humans have a brain capable of visualizing or imagining experiences of acceptance, closeness, and comfort that evoke the same somatic sensations associated with early secure attachment.  Helping clients discover their split-off younger selves and imaginatively bring them “home” spontaneously leads to an internal sense of warmth and safety they have never known.  In this presentation, we will explore the therapeutic power of using somatic experience to foster internal attachment to clients’ most deeply disowned younger selves.



Janina Fisher, PhD's Profile

Janina Fisher, PhD Related seminars and products

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, 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).


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Janina Fisher has an employment relationship with the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute. She is a consultant for Khiron House Clinics and the Massachusetts Department of MH Restraint and Seclusion Initiative. Dr. Fisher receives royalties as a published author. She receives a speaking honorarium, recording royalties and book royalties from Psychotherapy Networker and PESI, Inc. Dr. Fisher has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Janina Fisher is on the advisory board for the Trauma Research Foundation.


Additional Info

Program Information

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


  1. Determine signs of disowned parts and their internal conflicts experienced by clients  
  2. Employ visualization techniques that create a sense of closeness or attunement 
  3. Practice somatic interventions that foster an increased sense of compassion for dissociated parts 


Dissociation as a Survival Strategy

Visualization as a somatic strategy to foster a felt sense attunement

“Self-Compassion”: welcoming every part of the personality 

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Psychotherapists
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

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