Paula Thomson, PsyD, is Professor in the Department of Kinesiology, California State University, Northridge (CSUN). She is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and works in private practice in California. She is Co-Director of the Performance Psychophysiology Laboratory at CSUN, and Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar at York University’s Departments of Theatre and Graduate Studies (Canada). She is a reliable Adult Attachment Interview coder and actively conducts research investigating attachment, early trauma, and creativity.
Dr. Thomson is the co-author of two books, Creativity and the Performing Artist: Behind the Mask and Creativity, Trauma, and Resilience and author of multiple chapters and peer-reviewed articles. She is a Fellow with the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation and a member of the Mental Health Working Group with the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science. She was a professional dancer and continues work as choreographer and movement coach in dance, theatre, and opera.
Past professional choreographic company work includes Canadian Opera Company, Canadian Stage Company, Stratford Shakespearean Festival, Northern Lights Dance Theatre, Ballet Jorgen, and UCLA On the Edge of Chaos. In 2013, she was named one of the top 20 female professors in California.
Paula Thomson, PsyD
Turning Pathology into Resilience
The dissociative aftermath of childhood trauma can wreak havoc for years and even decades; however, dissociation may not always be pathological. Some individuals exposed to substantial childhood adversity may employ higher dissociative propensity to foster resilience.
This workshop will address the specific DSM-5-TR / ICD-10 dissociative disorders (dissociative amnesia including fugue states, depersonalization/derealization, dissociative identity disorder, other specified dissociative disorders, conversion disorders and pseudoseizures).
Evidence-based treatment approaches will be outlined to ameliorate dissociative processing. Unresolved mourning and how dissociation negatively influences resolution for past trauma and loss will be introduced. Anomalous experiences and maladaptive daydreaming will be included in this workshop, specifically because they are phenomenon that often overlap with dissociative absorption characteristics. The positive features of dissociation will be outlined, including strategies to deliberately mobilize dissociative states to compartmentalize and distance from physical and/or psychological pain.
This positive form of dissociation can be sustained for prolonged periods of time. Unlike individuals suffering a dissociative disorder, the ability to consciously shift out of dissociative states by focusing on immediate physical sensations and environmental stimuli becomes a self-regulating strategy and promotes resilience and adaptation.
Participants will be able to:
Identify the dissociative disorders that are included in the DSM-5-TR / ICD-10 editions.
Explain the evidence-based treatment protocols for patients suffering complex trauma and dissociative disorders.
Define unresolved mourning and how dissociation influences lack of resolution.
Define anomalous experiences and maladaptive daydreaming and their relationship to dissociative absorption states.
Identify and discuss the positive features of dissociative states.
Describe the similarities and differences between resilience and adaptation to adversity.
Continuing Education credits are available for this training.
Psychologists: The Insight Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Insight Center maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This course provides 3 CE.
MFTs / LCSWs / LPCCs: The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts APA authorized continuing education. This course provides 3 CE.