Study Group – Broken Links: Dissociation in Multiple Guises

Study Group 2017-2018

Broken Links: Dissociation in Multiple Guises

18 CEU Credits are Approved by CT

Alexis Johnson PhD


The broad concept of dissociation covers many psychic events denoting lack of inner wholeness. Aspects of self or psyche are separated, sometimes from each other, sometimes from self-awareness, and usually from memory.


Dissociation is created by psychological trauma, both early relational or developmental trauma and shocking events like rape and natural disasters. Through the work of the neuroscientist Stephen Porges, we understand that flight and flight are our responses to threat, while freeze and faint – the neurological underpinnings of dissociation – are our responses to events we perceive as even more dangerous, our very life is on the line.


In this seminar we will read about and discuss the consequences created by trauma like rape and war, referred to as Big “T” events. We will also explore the more fleeting dissociated events created by developmental or small “t” trauma. These “freeze moments” happen when we encounter a psychically threatening event. We lose touch with our own feelings and needs and then reflexively follow a pre-determined pattern. Our history of trauma elicits an automatic protective response not a genuine one. All of us in the helping professions desire to create both verbal and body-based opportunities to enter these freeze moments and soften these protective mechanisms thereby encouraging more authentic ways of being in the world.


We will use three books for our time together: the chapter on dissociation from Patricia DeYoung’s Understanding and Treating Chronic Shame will begin our season. Then we will look at dissociation from a subjective point of view using Annie Rogers’ Shining Affliction. Finally we will read Philip Bromberg’s The Shadow of the Tsunami for a deeper understanding of all the processes involved.


We will meet 9 Friday afternoons between 2-4 on an irregular schedule.


September 15, 2017               The Challenge of Dissociated Shame in DeYoung

October 6                                The Other Side of Silence in Rogers

November 3                            Silence in Rogers

December 8                            Messenger in Rogers

January 19, 2018                   Chapter 1 in Bromberg

February 16                            Chapters 2&3 in Bromberg

March 9                                   Chapter 4&5 in Bromberg

April 13                                    Chapter 6&7 in Bromberg

May 11                                     Chapter 8 in Bromberg



Location: 96 Bouton Road, South Salem, NY 10590

Cost: $600 for the year. To reserve your place (group limited to 12) please send $200 deposit to the above address

Questions: Please email me at

If you plan on attending, I suggest you read the Rogers book over the summer. It is beautifully written, better than most novels, and will prime you for out time together this fall.




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