Fundamentals of Complex Trauma and Dissociation

  • 16 Mar 2019
  • 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
  • Lesley University, Brattle Campus, The Washburn Commons, 10 Phillips Place, Cambridge, MA 02138


(depends on selected options)

Base fee:
  • CEs cost $20 per registrant.
  • Any one working in an agency who is not in private practice and/or those who are retired from the profession. CEs cost $20 per registrant.
  • Any 4 or more registrants who register at the same time with one check or credit card will receive a 10% discount. $288 for 4; $432 for 6, etc. please call the NESTTD office 508-964-2234 with credit card information or send check. CEs cost $20 per registrant.
  • CEs cost $20 per registrant.
  • Current students and current faculty.
    CEs cost $20 per registrant.



MARCH 16, 2019

Online registration is now closed.

You may still register prior to the event,

on Saturday morning, at 8:30 am.

Morning Plenary Session

and Afternoon Workshops

9:00 am - 4:30 pm


Lesley University, Brattle Campus, The Washburn Commons,

    10 Phillips Place, Cambridge, MA 02138

This event requires a registration fee for both Members and Nonmembers. There is no member discount for this event. 

Sandra Dixon, PsyD

Morning Plenary:  9 am - 12:30 pm

Fundamentals of Complex Trauma and Dissociation

Summary description of plenary session: Many trauma experts formulate their therapeutic approaches to clients on the basis of their conceptualization of "complex traumatic stress disorders." Yet what are these? The renowned researcher and clinician, Bessel van der Kolk says, "Dissociation is the essence of trauma," and yet few graduate schools teach anything about dissociation. Our most challenging clients struggle with the long-term effects of insecure or disorganized attachment compounded by the impact of multiple instances of overt trauma. This program is designed for graduate students and behavioral health and social service providers who are new to learning about and working with the complex trauma spectrum. Among topics introduced in this workshop will be the concept of developmental trauma, attachment research, basics of relevant neurobiological research, core problems of survivors, assessment, barriers to collaborative therapeutic relationships, and types of therapies.

Sandy Dixon received her master's degree in 2003 and doctorate in clinical psychology in 2005 from Antioch University New England. She has a private practice in Arlington, MA. In addition to providing therapy for individuals and couples, she consults with the Harvard Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School, providing expert medical opinions and assessment for veteran clients, and guest lectures at Harvard Law School on trauma and working with veterans.

She was previously on the faculty at William James College, teaching graduate students in the clinical psychology doctoral program about working with clients who have experienced trauma and working with veteran clients. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation (NESTTD), and the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD). She is co-chair of the Program Committee of NESTTD.


~Lunch Break: 12:30 pm - 1:15 pm~


Lunch boxes are no longer available for purchase when registering.

The lunch break is 45 minutes, so we recommend bringing your own lunch if you have not ordered a box lunch.


Afternoon Breakouts -- Two sessions

Session One: 1:15 - 2:45 pm

Session Two: 3:00 - 4:30 pm

To complete the day, participants choose one workshop from each of the 1.5 hour afternoon breakout sessions.

Please be aware that some workshops may have limited space due to room size and could be closed for registration at some point. 

*The Institute for Continuing Education and the New England Society for the Treatment  of Trauma and Dissociation are co-sponsors of this program. CEs awarded only if participant attends until 4:10 pm. No CEs will be granted for partial attendance.

Bios of Presenters.

(The list of presenters' bios also appears at the end of this page, following the workshop descriptions.)


Session One: 1:15 - 2:45 pm (choose from five options)

     Robert Bonazoli, LICSW

Internal Family Systems (IFS): A Practical Introduction for Clinicians Working with Trauma & Dissociation

This workshop will offer an overview of the Internal Family Systems (IFS) framework for understanding trauma and dissociation, and offer some practical, immediately usable tools to begin to integrate this frame. The purpose of this workshop will not be to dive fully into the mechanics of the formal IFS model, but instead to develop a shared understanding of its core assumptions and concepts and to develop and practice a concrete basic toolbox based on that framework which clinicians can immediately put to work. It will also serve as a primer for those interested in pursuing formal IFS training.


     Wendy Forbush, LICSW

Recognizing and Assessing Dissociative Phenomena in Your Office                                  


Using clinical examples and  role play, this workshop will illustrate how  to recognize whether dissociative symptoms are transient PTSD-subtype, or suggest the dissociative disorder end of the complex trauma spectrum in adult clients.  Emphasis will be placed on the importance of distinguishing the nature and extent of dissociation for case conceptualization and treatment planning. The session  is designed for  behavioral health  clinicians.


      Dominique A. Malebranche, PhD

Cultural Trauma: Understanding the Dynamics of Social Inequality and Mental Health

This workshop will include an introduction to the association between trauma theory and social oppression through didactic and experiential activity. Participants will learn about the mental health implications of intersectional oppression, assess their own level of cultural humility, and begin to identify opportunities to apply knowledge in their personal and professional lives.


     Michelle Napoli, DAT, ATR-BC, REAT, LMHC

Culturally Centering Trauma Sensitive Art Therapy: An Introduction and Critical Dialogue

This workshop presents an overview of my research to find an ethical and culturally centering approach to strengthen identity formation as an approach to trauma treatment.  I will introduce Indigenous methodology as a way to deconstruct and critically analyze how oppression continues to be perpetuated in mental health systems.  I also look to the arts as a process that supports and facilitates a non-verbal exploration to support sovereignty and cultural reclamation. In this workshop we will begin a critical dialogue about how the arts can construct a sustainable, ethical, and culturally congruent path to dive deeper into forming identity amidst a legacy of erasure post genocide, and trauma exposure generally.


     Julie Thayer, PsyD

Treating Complex Childhood Trauma by Targeting the Building Blocks of Resilience: An Overview of the Attachment, Regulation and Competency (ARC) Framework

This workshop will provide an introduction to the Attachment, Regulation and Competency framework, a core components treatment model developed to provide a framework for intervention with youth impacted by complex trauma and their caregiving systems. It will provide an overview of  complex childhood trauma, explain the core intervention targets of ARC, and utilize experiential activities, discussion, and case applications to demonstrate the implementation of the ARC framework with children and their surrounding systems.


Session Two: 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm (choose from four options)


Kimberly Cherry, MMFT, LMFT                      Carla R. Rosinski, MA, LMHC


Developing a Critically Conscious Approach to Trauma Work

Trauma work requires that we are present and hold compassionate space in therapy while honoring the intersectional identities of our clients. Each of us is influenced by the dominant culture, so it is necessary to purposefully dismantle our own normative assumptions.  This workshop aims to engage participants in critical self-reflection as a significant tool in developing the self of therapist and a critically conscious approach to therapeutic practice.


We're sorry, but the Heather Finn workshop has reached full capacity and is no longer available.

      Heather Finn, LICSW

Somatic Regulation and Embodied Attunement: An Introduction to Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART)  

SMART is an innovative mental health therapy for complexly traumatized children and adolescents for whom regulation of emotional, behavioral and interpersonal life is a primary problem.  The goal of SMART is to expand the repertoire of regulating experiences for children and their caregivers with the aim of nurturing healing and growth. This innovative, child led, treatment approach utilizes movement, multi-sensory tools, and embodied play to support improved regulation, attachment building and more integrated processing of traumatic experiences.  This workshop will provide a basic introduction to Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART), through exploring the essential role that Somatic Regulation and Embodied Attunement play in improving co-regulation, developing rhythms in relationship, and supporting self-regulation for children, adolescents and their caregivers.  Participants will learn how to identify and utilize tools of regulation in therapy to support children and adolescents in becoming more organized, flexible, expressive, and able to engage effectively in the present moment.


     Dominique A. Malebranche, PhD

Identify-based Trauma: An Experiential Exploration of Self in Context

This workshop will utilize experiential exercises to explore individual and relational experiences of cultural bias and benefit. Participants will have the opportunity to explore their own social identities and consider ways to engage in applied knowledge in clinical and supporting contexts.


     Peter Pruyn, LMHC

Everything I Wish Someone Had Told Me about Treating Trauma Before I Worked in Community Mental Health

Most graduate programs in mental health do not require a course in trauma.  Meanwhile, the most common first job for many graduates is working in community mental health where clients with significant trauma histories are the norm.  In this session I will present the most important points about working with trauma that I wish I had known before making that transition.  This workshop will begin with a centering exercise followed by polling the audience for what specific trauma topics you would like to cover most.

While this session is designed for behavioral health professionals, anyone is welcome. 


Bios of Workshop Presenters

Robert Bonazoli, LICSW is a psychotherapist in private practice in Boston’s Back Bay. He is trained in IFS, EMDR, and DBT, and has completed post-graduate fellowships in psychodynamic psychotherapy at the Boston Institute for Psychotherapy and general outpatient psychotherapy through Harvard Medical School’s Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention. He is an adjunct professor at Boston College’s Graduate School of Social Work where he teaches classes in Adult Psychological Trauma and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, teaches community classes in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), and serves as a Mindfulness Instructor with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s “Mind the Moment” program. He has over 25 years of experience working with community organizations including the Pine Street Inn, City Year, the Massachusetts Commission on National and Community Service, Advocates, Inc., and served as co-founder and Managing Director of the ALS Therapy Development Institute.


Kimberly Cherry, MMFT, LMFT, RYT200 (she/her/hers) is a queer, white, cisgender psychotherapist and clinical supervisor who specializes in trauma work and affirming therapy for LGBTQ-identified individuals. For the past decade she has evolved in her use of an integrative, mind-body-spirit approach while utilizing specialized training in EMDR, meditation and mindfulness, and yoga.  She is a PhD student at Lesley University in the Counseling and Psychology program interested in exploring the practice of supervision from the perspective of transgender therapists. Parallel to therapeutic practice, she believes that critical reflection on intersectionality and centering subjugated voices in research is important in helping us develop a more socially just and equitable concept of what healing in psychotherapy can mean.


Heather Finn, LICSW is a practicing psychotherapist who specializes in the treatment of children, adolescents and adults who have been impacted by chronic adversity and traumatic stress. She graduated from Smith College School for Social Work in 2001, and has seventeen years’ experience working with trauma impacted individuals in both outpatient and residential treatment settings.  In her tenure at the Trauma Center at JRI, Heather served as the Clinical Director, a contributing developer of the Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART) model, and lead co-author of the article “The Boy Who Was Hit in the Face: Somatic Regulation and Processing of Preverbal Complex Trauma,” published through the Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma in 2017.


Heather is currently a founding partner of SMARTmoves, LLC, providing supervision, consultation and training in SMART to clinicians working in both outpatient and residential treatment programs. She has particular interest in the healing role that movement and embodied treatment interventions can have in healing from adversity, supporting relational growth and enhancing resilience on individual, family and community levels.  In addition to her work with SMARTmoves, LLC, Heather also maintains a private practice where she provides adolescent and adult psychotherapy and parent consultation in Boston, MA.


Wendy Forbush, LICSW has been a therapist, supervisor, or consultant in agency and private practice settings for 30 years. Working first in outpatient alcohol and drug treatment, she developed an interest in how the effects of both early childhood neglect and overt trauma interfered with clients' recovery. In the '90s she co-led male sexual abuse survivor groups and trained in both DBT and in EMDR. When several BPD clients failed to make gains with DBT, her team diagnosed previously unrecognized DID, and they then made efforts to learn how to recognize and treat these clients.



Dominique A. Malebranche, PhD is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Trauma Center in Brookline, MA, where she specializes in mind-body interventions for individuals with complex trauma exposure, including gender-based violence and exploitation through Project REACH. A counseling psychologist by training, she is a graduate of the University of Missouri where she studied multicultural psychology and education and worked to develop cultural competencies in clinical and organizational systems. She utilizes mindfulness and compassion-based approaches to address trauma response and mental health for cross-cultural populations as well as to promote social justice initiatives. Dr. Malebranche has contributed to compassion-based intervention research for Veterans with PTSD, facilitated mindfulness groups on race-based stress, and, most recently, is working to develop a program to implement Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) for special populations such as survivors of human trafficking and youth with histories of commercial sexual exploitation. Her work strives to enhance social consciousness and provide access to mental health services for disenfranchised populations and global mental health efforts.


Michelle Napoli, DAT, ATR-BC, REAT, LMHC holds a doctorate in Art Therapy, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Board Certified Art Therapist, and Registered Expressive Arts Therapist.  Michelle has been a counselor, educator and supervisor for over 12 years specializing in cross-cultural arts-based trauma treatment.  Michelle’s research looks at the ethical engagement of Indigenous Methodology in clinical approaches, specifically with communities post genocide. She is active in language reacquisition and cultural reclamation efforts with her Tribe in California, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.  She is also the founder of the Survivor Quilt Project, which focuses on preventive and proactive approaches to intergenerational trauma, specifically regarding issues of incest.


Peter Pruyn, LMHC is a psychotherapist who specializes in the treatment of trauma.  He is influenced by humanistic, psychodynamic, and mindfulness approaches and utilizes EMDR, spirituality, and expressive therapies including art, sandtray and music.  Peter interned at a shelter for homeless veterans and the Lesley University Student Counseling Center, and has worked at a methadone clinic in the South End and a community mental health clinic in Everett.  He is a member of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma & Dissociation and is currently in private practice in Cambridge.  His favorite self-care activities include piano, meditation, cycling, writing, guitar, photography and improv comedy.


Carla R. Rosinski, MA, LMHC (she/her/hers) is a sex positive mental health clinician and supervisor with 20 years of experience working in community mental health and activism within the LGBTQ community. As a queer, white, cisgender sex therapist, she has a particular focus on intersectional feminism, equity, and justice. For the past 8 years, Carla has been in private practice primarily serving transgender and non-binary folks, their partners, and their families. She is currently a PhD student at Lesley University in Counseling & Psychology preparing to begin research that explores how we can disrupt normativity and liberate sexuality and gender from a dysfunctional culture. Ultimately, Carla is actively working towards creating space for clinicians to explore how to embrace sex positivity in their personal and professional lives.


Julie Thayer, PsyD is a licensed psychologist whose clinical work focuses on the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, and adults impacted by complex trauma. She is also a Certified ARC Trainer and Consultant. Dr. Thayer received her master’s and doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology in June 2014. She has experience providing a range of clinical services in school-based, in-home, college counseling, outpatient, and inpatient settings. She completed a two-year fellowship at Metrowest Behavioral Health Center at JRI, focused on the treatment of complex trauma, and subsequently worked in clinical and administrative roles at both Metrowest Behavioral Health Center and the Trauma Center at JRI. She has a special interest in providing trauma-informed caregiver consultation and groups, clinical supervision, and dyadic treatment approaches. 

This event takes place at Lesley University Brattle Campus.
Click here for map: and here for walking/parking instructions: LESLEY UNIVERSITY BRATTLE CAMPUS Directions.pdf


 1) the basic principles of staying proactively grounded as therapists working with Complex PTSD and Dissociative Disorders; and 2) the opportunity to explore and develop a toolbox of resources to assist with staying grounded. The workshop will include didactic material, experiential exercises, and demos.” 
PO Box 772,
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(508) 964-2234
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