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Challenging But Possible: The Evidence-based Diagnosis, Ethical issues and Treatment of Clients with Complex Dissociative Disorders

  • 29 Mar 2014
  • 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Psychiatric Institute of Washington, 4228 Wisconsin Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20016


Registration is closed

Challenging But Possible: The Evidence-based Diagnosis, Ethical issues and Treatment of Clients with Complex Dissociative Disorders

Presenter: Bethany Brand, PhD

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Psychiatric Institute of Washington
4228 Wisconsin Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016

Please note: the closest Metro stop is Tenleytown/AU, which is about 1/2 mile away.

9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Registration opens at 8:30 a.m.
CEU: 6 Hours ethics

CEUs are applicable for psychologists and social workers only. This program is Approved by the National Association of Social
Workers (Approval #886650943-2508) for 6 Social Work
continuing education contact hours.

This presentation will focus upon clinical and ethical issues related to complex dissociative disorders, To accomplish this, the workshop will provide an overview of the assessment and treatment of complex dissociative disorders (DD). Individuals with DD are a highly challenging population to treat due to their wide range of serious, chronic psychological symptoms, mistrust of treatment providers, and difficulties with managing safety. Their myriad symptoms can be misdiagnosed, leading to ineffective treatment. Furthermore, if assessors are not aware of recent research on psychological assessment of complex trauma, they may misclassify these individuals, particularly those with DD, as malingering. We will start with a presentation of a case of woman with DD who was misdiagnosed for decades, and whose trauma history went largely unrecognized and untreated despite her receiving mental health care throughout her life. We will then review signs, symptoms and testing data that can alert clinicians to the possibility of a DD. The controversies about DD will be briefly reviewed and critiqued in light of research, followed by expert recommendations about the interventions to be used at each stage of DD treatment. The results of a large international treatment outcome study will be presented to inform participants about cutting edge research with DD. Last, we will discuss potential clinical missteps that can occur when treating individuals with DD related to boundary difficulties, traumatic re-enactments, and professional burnout, and methods for ethically handling these clinical dilemmas. Small group discussions will be used to engage participants in discussing how to make ethical and evidence-based decisions when working with DD clients.

CEUs: 6 Hours

Learning objectives:

At the conclusion of this session, the participant should be able to:

  1. Participants will be able to identify 5 symptoms that can alert clinicians to the possibility that a client has a DD.
  2. Participants will be able to discuss test scores that may be elevated in individuals with complex DD patients.
  3. Participants will list 2 personality tests that may over-classify DD patients as exaggerating or malingering if psychologists do not take into account recent research regarding interpretation of these tests.
  4. Participants will be able to summarize the findings of the largest treatment study to date of DD patients. 
  5. Participants will be able to describe the three stages of treatment for DD patients and appropriate interventions for each stage.
  6. Participants will identify 3 challenging ethical dilemmas that are common when treating DD patients as well as methods for effectively managing these situations.
  7. Participants will demonstrate an awareness of the therapeutic risk of vicarious traumatic and empathic countertransference when working with DD clients and be able to articulate appropriate ways to monitor and address this risk.

Cost (registration fees increase, except for students, on March 22):
  • DCPA Member Regular: $100.00
  • DCPA Member Late: $110.00
  • DCPA Student: $30.00
  • Non Member Regular: $120.00
  • Non Member Late: $130.00
  • Non Member Student: $40.00

Location: Psychiatric Institute of Washington
4228 Wisconsin Ave, NW
Washington DC 20016

Would you like to mail or fax in your registration?Registration Brochure in PDF

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