Mentalizing, Mindfulness, and the Body in Chronic Traumatization

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About the Course:

This course is based on Integrating Mind Body Perspectives in the Treatment of Chronic Traumatization
Mentalizing is the process by which we make sense of the contents of our own minds and that of others. Requiring an optimal level of arousal as well as a nurturing and safe attachment relationship to develop, mentalizing is conspicuously impaired and even frightening for patients who have suffered attachment trauma. Mentalizing requires the capacity to be present, to accurately read relational cues, and to be mindful and tolerant of one’s own inner experiences. Trauma patients are not flexible in their ability to accurately “read” people’s intentions, emotions, and behaviors, but rather are fixed in rigid patterns of prediction about danger, rejection, and lack of caring. Such individuals typically experience a variety of symptoms that they do not understand and are susceptible to dysregulated arousal because they are unaware of internal and environmental triggers that evoke hyper or hypo arousal. Their inner “world” is frightening, overwhelming, and baffling, because they have not personified their own minds. The process of mentalizing often occurs automatically, without thought or deliberation, and is influenced by many factors, including the capacity to observe one’s own mental actions, as well as posture, sensation, and movement of the body.

In this webinar we will define mentalizing, describe the difference between explicit and implicit mentalizing, and explore how to address failures in mentalizing in traumatized populations. The presenters will explore therapeutic approaches to increase mentalizing skills, including the body’s role in mentalizing, and will demonstrate both verbal and non-verbal, somatic interventions useful in improving patients’ mentalizing ability. They will also provide a clinical map of “directed mindfulness” that orients attention and enhances reflective functioning.


International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation

Publication Date:

December 2, 2008


Pat Ogden, PhD; Kathy Steele, MN, CS

About the Authors:

Pat Ogden, PhD is the founder and director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy
Institute, an internationally recognized school that specializes in training
psychotherapists in somatic/cognitive approaches for the treatment of trauma,
developmental and attachment issues. Her seminal work on integrating
psychological and somatic treatments for trauma survivors has received
international acclaim. She is the first author of the groundbreaking book, Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy, Norton, 2006.

Kathy Steele, M.N., C.S., is in private practice, and is Clinical Director of Metropolitan Counseling Services in Atlanta. She was President of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation from 2008 to 2009, is a Fellow of that organization, and has received several awards for her work. Kathy is a frequent international presenter and has authored or co-authored numerous publications on trauma and dissociation. She and her Dutch colleagues, Onno Van der Hart and Ellert Nijenhuis, have written an award winning book that is part of the Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology: The Haunted Self: Structural Dissociation of the Personality and Treatment of Chronic Traumatization, Norton, 2006.

Recommended For:

This ISSTD course is recommended for mental health and allied professionals, including: Psychologists, Counselors, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Counselors, plus any other professional whose work involves providing service to individuals suffering from trauma and dissociative disorders and other academics whose studies include chronic trauma and dissociation in its many varied forms. It is appropriate for an intermediate level of participants’ knowledge.

Course Objectives:

  1. Define mentalizing and its importance in healthy relational functioning.

  2. Describe several example of inaccurate and accurate mentalizing in their clients.

  3. Employ physical and mental interventions to support accurate mentalizing.

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Course Number: 101923
Credit Hours: 2cr
Exam Fee: $13.94
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Format: Recorded Webinar
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Popularity: 71 members have taken this course

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