Clinical Conferences 2013
May 18, 2013
Three Women: Dissociation and Mentalization in the Wake of Incest
Ellen Nasper, Ph.D.
Discussant: Lisa Cross, Ph.D.
Dr. Nasper describes her work with three women with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) who were incestuously abused by their fathers. Each case demonstrates thecomplex psychological problems that develop in the wake of prolonged incest and neglect. However two of these women, despite significant dissociative symptoms, demonstrate exquisite sensitivity, intelligence, and concern for the wellbeing of small children. They remain capable of mentalization and empathy. This fact challenges the generally held belief in trauma studies that attachment trauma and dissociation block the ability to mentalize (to reflect on one’s own mind and recognize others as intentional beings). Dr. Nasper will speculate on the sources of that strength, and how its development might be understood.
Ellen Nasper, Ph.D. has a private practice in New Haven and is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale Medical School. Dr. Nasper worked for 26 years for the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and as an early voice recognizing the prevalence of trauma in the DMHAS population. She led the DMHAS Dialectical Behavior Therapy project from 1995-2000. For the past decade Dr. Nasper has taught an elective at Yale on the Consequences of Childhood Attachment Trauma. In 2009 she was given the Distinguished Faculty award by Psychology in Psychiatry at Yale.
Lisa Cross, Ph.D. is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine where she has taught in the departments of Psychiatry and Psychology. A supervisor in the Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology at Yale, Lisa has published papers on resiliency, eating disorders and self-cutting along with other subjects.
Upon completion of this conference attendees will be able to:
1) describe the development of the capacity to mentalize
2) Explain how severe abuse and neglect reflect failures in mirroring and attunement leading to disorganized attachment
3) Demonstrate how specific relational experiences may mitigate some of the effects of severe attachment trauma.
The New Haven Lawn Club 10:30am - 12:30pm
Image: Conversation © 2010 Morel Morton Alexander
Online registration for this conference is now closed. Please register on-site.