Michael Shiffman, PhD, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT #122513) in private practice in Los Angeles. Michael is a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP), a certified Neuroaffective Relational Model Therapist (NARM), a Level 2 PACT Couple Therapist, and is trained in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Michael is uniquely trained in the use of touch for trauma resolution and attachment repair.
Michael sees individuals and couples, and runs groups. His clinical work is mindfulness based, somatically grounded and asset oriented. He has a substantial background working with anxiety, panic, traumatic stress, substance abuse and recovery, relapse prevention, and somatic-oriented therapeutic practices. He teaches mindfulness meditation, neuroaffective regulation and somatic psychotherapy.
Michael received his PhD from the UCLA department of sociology. His academic training includes conversation analysis, social movements, labor union history, gender studies, and social psychology. His doctoral dissertation was on family trauma and posttraumatic stress among adult children of alcoholics. He has worked in program evaluation, health care research, grant writing and has provided technical services at UCLA and through several private computer companies.
Michael began meditating in 1994 under the guidance of Shinzen Young. He founded LA Dharma in 1999 through which he hosted a meditation group and coordinated 20 daylong retreats and two large conferences with teachers from the Spirit Rock Meditation Center and the Insight Meditation Center. In 2002 he began teaching mindfulness meditation and has since taught beginning, intermediate and advanced meditation practices. He studied with Shinzen Young and Jason Siff, and has studied and practiced with Rev. Hye Wol Sunim since 2002. Michael loves to cook and is frequently happy at home in Encino, California.
For more details, visit his website at https://michaelshiffman.com.
Michael Shiffman, PhD
Intersectionality and Trauma:
Identity and Clinical Practice
As therapists, we recognize that our client’s history presents itself in the present moment. We develop the skillfulness to look beneath our client’s symptoms to explore their somatic patterns and adaptive emotional strategies. Many of our clients have complex histories that go beyond their immediate families, and beyond the scope of intergenerational transmission. To understand the epigenetics of trauma, we must embrace transgenerational dimensions.
Transgenerational trauma is both deeper and broader than the classical concerns of mental illness, substance abuse or intimate violence. Transgenerational trauma captures the impact of the greater historical, structural, institutional and socio-cultural forces that affect our lives. These forces – gender, race, class, ethnicity, religion, migration, age, neurodiversity and physical diversity – to name a few, are dimensions that are difficult to discuss yet have tremendous impact on us. The historical impact of slavery for Blacks, the Holocaust for Jews, genocide for Armenians, internment camps for Japanese, and migration to escape political violence, are traumatic forces contributing in invisible and unconscious ways to our histories and the histories of our clients.
The convergence of historical and relational factors on an individual should not be ignored and yet is elusive to discuss. We will explore the impact of these factors on our ourselves and our clients from the transgenerational to the intrapsychic. We will integrate didactics with small and large group discussions to enter the uncomfortable world of oppression and privilege.
Participants will be able to:
- Define and discuss intergenerational trauma;
- Define and discuss transgenerational trauma;
- Describe the effects of transgenerational trauma on your personality;
- Explain how guilt and rage are two sides of the same coin;
- Discuss how grief and loss are connected to transgenerational trauma;
- Discuss how self-care is key to maintaining a conscious grounded center while doing trauma therapy.
Continuing Education Units are available for this training.
There is a $20 charge for each CE certificate. Certificates are issued after the evaluation is submitted.
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 4 CE units.
MFTs / LCSWs / LPCCs: The California Board of Behavioral Sciences now accepts APA CEs. This course provides 4 CE units.
Part 1: The first section will explore how historical, structural and institutional forces shape our perceptions and attribute meanings to the lived experience of our daily lives. We will explore the impact of transgenerational forces and their intergenerational elements. This section will include both lecture and discussion with the group as a whole.
Part 2: The second section will take a personal look at how these forces affected our families and our individual development. We will explore intergenerational and familial patterns and messages as they relate to our personal identities. Organizing questions will be taken into small groups to deepen the discussion and then brought to the group as a whole.
Part 3: The third section will explore relational dynamics with our clients. We will discuss how we experience these forces as both obstacles and resources in our work. Transference and identification processes will be addressed. Fear, guilt and shame, anger and rage, will all be explored with a close look at their origins in privilege and oppression and their consequences for clinical interventions. Organizing questions will be taken into small groups to deepen the discussion and then brought to the group as a whole.
Part 4: The last section will explore grief, loss and self-care. Socially conscious people, both oppressed and privileged, experience deep states of grief and loss. White fragility and Black rage are relational experiences that involve lost opportunities and evoke guilt and anger. This last section will explore ways to keep the conversation going with increasing openness while maintaining a grounded center.