Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Self-Alienation

Dr. Janina Fisher, Psychologist. Ph. D.

Excerpt: defensive stategy of trauma survivors

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  • 6h of continuing education
  • 24 lessons that last from 5 to 15 minutes each
  • 1 certificate of achievement
  • 1 bibliography
  • 1 course evaluation
  • 4 months unlimited access
  • 7-day money back guarantee
  • 90% of participants who completed the satisfaction survey declare they would recommend this course to a colleague


Alienation from self (in the context of abusive or dysfunctional parenting) is a survival strategy that maintains children’s attachment to caregivers by disowning themselves as “bad” or “unlovable.” It is a survival ability only possible because of the innate hypnotic ability of young children to create imaginary worlds and companions in frightening environments. The result, however, is a deeply painful failure of self-acceptance maintained by lifelong shame and self-loathing, difficulty self-soothing, and complications in relationships with others.

To overcome this alienation from self, clinicians must learn to focus on cultivating clients’ ability to observe painful emotions as communications from their disowned selves and then to provide the “missing experiences” for which their inner child has longed.

About the expert

Picture of Janina Fisher

Dr. Janina Fisher, PhD, is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Instructor at the Trauma Center, an outpatient clinic and research center founded by Bessel van der Kolk. Known for her expertise as both a therapist and consultant, she was also formerly president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation, an EMDR International Association Credit Provider, a faculty member of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and a former instructor at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Fisher has been an invited speaker at the Cape Cod Institute, Harvard Medical School Conference Series, the EMDR International Association Annual Conference, University of Wisconsin, University of Westminster in London, the Psychotraumatology Institute of Europe, and the Esalen Institute. She has authored numerous publications, including such books as Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Internal Self-Alienation; Transforming the Living Legacy of Trauma: A Pathway to Healing for Survivors and Therapists; and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Trauma and Attachment. Dr Fisher lectures and teaches nationally and internationally on topics related to the integration of research and treatment and how to introduce these newer trauma treatment paradigms in traditional therapeutic approaches.

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Learning objectives

  1. Describe the relationship between early attachment trauma and alienation from self and recognize clinical signs of self-alienation.
  2. Transmit to the clients how to mindfully notice their distressing emotions and impulses as communications from child ego states.
  3. Describe hypnotic and somatic interventions that create an increased somatic sense of connection or attachment to one’s self.
  4. Foster earned secure attachment’ as the outcome of attachment bonding between adult and child selves.

Learning material

This workshop includes theory as well as clinical examples. It includes videos ranging from 5-15 minutes in length.


  • Alienation from self as a survival strategy in the context of abuse

  • 1. Alienation from self
  • 2. Internal attachment styles
  • 3. Manifestations of self-alienation
  • 4. Self-alienation and brain
  • Fragmentation and splitting as an adaptation to trauma: the Structural Dissociation model

  • 5. Dissociation structure (part 1)
  • 6. Dissociation structure (part 2)
  • 7. Defensive strategy
  • 8. Alienated parts
  • 9. Question session #1
  • Mindfulness-based techniques for ‘befriending’ dis-owned aspects of the self

  • 10. Relationship to self
  • 11. Language of parts
  • 12. Mindfulness to fragmented system
  • 13. Video clip #1
  • 14. Question session #2
  • Developing attunement and empathy for one’s traumatized parts, facilitating internal dialogue skills

  • 15. Who is I
  • 16. Mindful unblending
  • Using internal dialogue techniques to repair the emotional wounds of child parts

  • 17. Practice unblending
  • 18. Relationships with parts
  • Healing the wounds of childhood through reparative experiences and fostering “earned secure attachment”

  • 19. From alienation to attachment
  • 20. Question session #3
  • 21. Protocol for work with parts
  • 22. Befriending questions
  • 23. Repair of internal attachment
  • 24. Video clip #2
  • Bibliography

CE Credits

Download a certificate of successful completion.


This training is intended for mental health professionals.


  • 6h of continuing education
  • 24 lessons that last from 5 to 15 minutes each
  • 1 certificate of achievement
  • 1 bibliography
  • 1 course evaluation
  • 4 months unlimited access
  • 7-day money back guarantee

Legal notice

The courses offered by ASADIS are accredited by different professional organisations. In addition, ASADIS is approved by the Canadian Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. ASADIS maintains responsibility for the program.

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