Structural Dissociation

Becoming thoroughly informed about dissociation is mandatory for all clinicians working with traumatized individuals, including therapists working with EMDR. Structural dissociation of the personality—originally described by Pierre Janet and further elaborated in recent times--is fundamental to the understanding and treatment of any client or patient who has been seriously traumatized.

The theory of structural dissociation of the personality (TSDP) postulates that the personality of traumatized individuals is unduly divided in two basic types of dissociative parts. One type involves apparently normal parts of the personality (ANP), primarily mediated by daily life action or motivational systems. The other type involves emotional parts (EP), primarily mediated by the defensive action or attachment cry system, that contain the individual’s traumatic memories. The more complex and chronic the traumatization, the more complex also the structural dissociation, manifesting in the development of more EPs and ANPs respectively

The workshop will describe the nature of structural dissociation and its various levels of complexity and how to identify its many symptoms. Participants will be informed about a practical and theoretically sound phase-oriented approach to treating the “whole” client or patient while dealing effectively with dissociative parts and with the difficult issues in which dissociation may play a major role, such as self harm, substance abuse, eating problems, and unstable relational patterns. Phase-oriented treatment consists of
(1) stabilization, symptom reduction, and skills training;
(2) treatment of traumatic memories; and
(3) personality (re)integration and rehabilitation.

This workshop will also introduce the role of disorganize attachment in complex trauma. Fundamentally disorganized attachment styles make a person vulnerable to dissociative disorders in later life. An infant is biologically wired to attach to the caregiver. According to Bowlby’s definition, attachment is related to seeking care and help, and soothing when facing environmental threats or in times of perceived loneliness and distress Complex trauma can develop as the result of ccumulative traumas in the infant, which leads to the persistent activation of the defense system. Typically the attachment figure either does not protect the child from traumatic experiences (neglect) or is the perpetrator of repeated maltreatment. Conflicting and persistent activation of the attachment and the defense system is the hallmark of attachment disorganization. Implications for treatment and the application of EMDR will be discussed.

The workshop’s emphasis is on understanding and treating the more complexly traumatized clients or patients. The workshop will include a brief overview of theory, didactics, role plays, and video presentations.

Although not required, it would be helpful to read the presenter’s book prior to the workshop: Onno van der Hart, Ellert Nijenhuis, & Kathy Steele. (2006). The Haunted Self: Structural Dissociation of the Personality and Treatment of Chronic Traumatization. New York: Norton.

Educational objectives
Participants will be able to:
(1) understand the nature of dissociation
(2) understand the role of various dissociative parts within the context of the client’s personality as a whole
(3) identify practical EMDR approaches in each of the three treatment phases.


Nijenhuis, E.R.S., Van der Hart, O. & Steele, K. (2002). The emerging psychobiology of trauma-related dissociation and dissociative disorders. In H. D’haenen, J.A. den Boer & P. Willner (Eds.), Biological Psychiatry (pp. 1079-1098). Chicester, New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Van der Hart, O., Nijenhuis, E. R. S., Steele, K., & Brown, D. (2004). Trauma-related dissociation: Conceptual clarity lost and found. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 38(11/12), 906-914.

Van der Hart, O., & Nijenhuis, E.R.S. (2008). Dissociative disorders. In P.H. Blaney & T. Millon (Eds.), Oxford textbook of psychopathology, 2nd ed. (pp. 452-481). New York: Oxford University Press.

Van der Hart, O., Nijenhuis, E. R. S., & Solomon, R. (in press). Dissociation of the personality in complex trauma-related disorders and EMDR: Theoretical considerations. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research.

Van der Hart, O., Nijenhuis, E.R.S., & Steele, K. (2006). The haunted self: Structural dissociation and the treatment of chronic traumatization. New York/London: W.W. Norton & Co.

Van der Hart, O., & Witztum, E. (2008). Dissociative psychosis: Clinical and theoretical aspects. In A. Moskowitz, I. Schäfer, & M. Dorahy (Eds.), Dissociation and psychosis: Multiple perspectives on a complex relationship (pp. 257-269). London: John Wiley & Sons.

Van der Kolk, B.A. & Van der Hart, O. (1989). Pierre Janet and the breakdown of adaptation in psychological trauma. American Journal of Psychiatry, 146, 1530-1540.



  • This training is available to all those who have completed a minimum of the Weekend 1 training


Training Dates 2018 - 2019

Katathani, Phuket: 25-26 November 2018 (full payment required by 31 Aug 2018)

Mt Maunganui, New Zealand: 17-18 February 2019 (full payment required by 30 Nov 2018)

Sunshine Coast, Mooloolaba, Qld, Australia: 29-30 March 2019 (full payment required by 30 Dec 2018)

Australia, (Venue to be advised): 2-3 December 2019 (full payment required by 31 Aug 2019)

Tuition Fees

Structural Dissociation, Phuket, Thailand, Sunshine Coast, Australia and Mount Maunganui, New Zealand:

The regular tuition fee for this two day training is AUD $660 (inc GST). This includes handouts, pre-reading information, morning and afternoon tea and lunch.

A discounted rate of AUD $352 (inc GST) applies if you are also attending the Master Class and a further discounted fee of AUD $176 (inc GST) applies if you have attended 3 or more Master Class trainings.

The two day Structural Dissociation training is a mandatory pre-requisite for the Master Class and must be attended even if you have previously attended the one day Structural Dissociation training. Separate registration is required.


Phuket, Thailand: Katathani Phuket Beach Resort, 14 Kata Noi Road, Karon Muang, Phuket 83100 Thailand
Rooms have been set aside for participants at reduced prices.
Please click on the link to access these - Click here for Katathani Phuket Beach Resort Booking

Mt Maunganui, New Zealand: The Master Class and the Master Class Intensive will be held at Oceanside Resort and Twin Tower
1 Maunganui Rd, Mount Maunganui, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga 3116, New Zealand, Tel: +64 7-575 5371

Sunshine Coast, Australia: The Master Class and Master Class Intensive will be held at the Mantra Mooloolaba Beach, 7 Venning St, Mooloolaba QLD. Reservations 1300 737 111,


About the instructor:
Roger Solomon, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist who specializes in treatment of trauma and grief. He is on the Senior Faculty of the EMDR Institute and provides EMDR training internationally. At the present time, he is a consultant to NASA, the US Senate, South Carolina Department of Public Safety, and Polizia di Stato (Italy). He has also worked with are the FBI, the Secret Service, US Department of State Diplomatic Security, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, several national security agencies. Dr. Solomon has authored 33 articles and book chapters on topics of trauma, grief, stress, and EMDR.

NOTE:A minimum of 9 participants is required for training to proceed.