Child Colloquium Series

2023 - 2024 Child Colloquium Series

Program Title:Parts in Play: Treating Children and Adolescents with Complex Trauma and Dissociation.
Date:Saturday, January 27, 2024
Time:10:00am – 12:00pm
Presenter:Eva Teirstein Young, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT
Caes Presenter:Kylie Svenson, LCSW
Moderator:David Frankel, PhD

San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis
444 Natoma Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

This is an in-person event only; remote participation is not available.

Program Fee:Free

“It is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self.” (Winnicott 1971).

In this didactic and experiential presentation, Eva Young will introduce fundamental concepts on the treatment of trauma and dissociation with children and adolescents. The role of the therapist as an “organizing, enhancing and engaged play partner” (Slade, 1994) will be emphasized as well as Winnicott’s understanding that one’s capacity for play and creativity relates directly to one’s capacity to enter a life of healthy vitality. General treatment principles recommended by the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation will highlight the significance of the therapist’s authentic presence and playfulness, regardless of technique, modality or clinical orientation.

Young children who suffer from horrific adverse experiences often create dissociative strategies which are adaptive and necessary for physical and emotional survival. However, these strategies can become habitual and interfere with the trajectory of healthy development, even when the child is no longer in danger. Trauma disrupts a child’s natural use of play, limiting their capacity to spontaneously explore themselves in the world, leading to severe problems with identifying and communicating feelings and needs. The good news is that children who have relied on dissociation for coping do get better with effective treatment. The earlier dissociative defenses and phenomena are addressed, the sooner a child will be able to engage in the world and continue on a path of age-appropriate social and emotional development.

Through session vignettes, client artwork, and practical experiential activities, Eva Young will illustrate how the treatment room can become a reliable play space, holding the potential for discovery, expression and healing for young children; a safe place to play where meaning can be revealed about the motivations underlying a child’s dissociative system. Through the hard work of play, children can develop the capacity to move seamlessly between affect-states while increasing the capacity to sustain a sense of cohesion. In a treatment room that promotes self-expression, collaboration and hope, children can create meaningful connections, leading to the development of alternate coping strategies and an increased capacity to regulate, while utilizing age-appropriate resources.

“We play with kids to help solve mysteries-mysteries of betrayal, mysteries of experience, mysteries of meaning, and mysteries of life itself…The chance to enter the (child’s world) of fear and pain exists in our ability to join in. We play right along… We think “sideways”. And the wonder of all this: we have fun” (Webb, 2015).

Eva Teirstein Young, MFA, MPS, ATR-BC, LCAT is a psychotherapist in New York City specializing in the treatment of Dissociative Disorders and Dissociative Identity Disorder across the lifespan. She holds an Advanced Trauma Certificate awarded by the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) and is an ISSTD Board Director and Fellow. Eva Young is Co-Chair of the ISSTD Child and Adolescent Assessment and Practice Guidelines Task Force and is currently co-writing the updated guidelines which is expected to be published in 2024. She is co-founder of the ISSTD Creative Arts Therapy Special Interest Group. Eva Young is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate Creative Art Therapy program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn NY, is currently on faculty at the William Alanson White Institute and is a Faculty Supervisor for the Trauma Disorders Program of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy in NYC. Her Chapter, “I didn’t Know Where You Were: In the Play Space of Treatment with a Young Dissociative Boy” was recently published in the book Treating Children with Dissociative Disorders: Attachment, Trauma, Theory and Practice, edited by Sinason and Potgeiter-Marks. Eva Young has presented clinical work at various institutes and conferences throughout the United States.

Kylie Svenson, LCSW is an LCSW in private practice in San Francisco, where she specializes in the treatment of dissociative disorders, suicidality, and self harm in adults and children. Her background includes graduation from SFCP’s Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training Program and Integrations program, two certifications in the treatment of complex trauma and DID, and specialized training in the treatment of organized abuse. She has published on the subject of dissociation and teaches with California Institute for Integral Studies’ Clinic Without Walls, lecturing on the subjects of DID, trauma, suicidality, and self harm, and has taught with NCSPP and other organizations. She is a former clinical director of the San Francisco Night Ministry Care Line and is the Chair-Elect of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation’s Eating Disorders Special Interest Group. Her work is informed by her background as a conservatory-trained classical violinist, viewing art-making and creativity as a vital part of the process of healing from trauma.

Program Co-Chairs:
David Frankel, PhD & Yen Quoc, PsyD

Paul Brinich, PhD
Lilly Hanson, MFT
Courtney Hartman, PsyD
Kylie Svenson, LCSW

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