“J” and “S” are a couple in their 40s. In their two years together, health problems have undermined S’s functioning, increasing pressure on J. to be the breadwinner and caregiver. In this session, the couple is asked to mindfully notice their interaction: he speaks glowingly of his hopes for their future; she pulls away; he feels crushed and withdraws. Both feel alone and unhappy. In this session, they are asked to attend to their physical and emotional responses to each other without attributing blame. When they can stay connected to their bodies and focused on describing their own experience, the emotional walls come down, and they feel closer to one another.
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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