Connecting Sexual Trauma and Dissociation - Tarra Bates-Duford





14 May 2022 Live & On Demand


UK: 15:30 – 22:30
North America: 10:30 – 16:30 EST / 7:30 – 13:30 PST

CPD & CE credits available: 6

TRAINING information

This online training is streaming live on the 14th May 2022.

The digital recording will be released to all participants on the 16th May. The recording and associated resources will then be accessible through your Essential Therapy Training account for 365 days.

Course Description

In very simple terms, dissociation is a detachment from reality. Most professionals believe that dissociation exists on a spectrum. At one end of the spectrum is an experience like daydreaming. At the other end is chronic and complex dissociation which may make it difficult for an individual to function in the “real” world.

Dissociation is one of the many defense mechanisms the brain can use to cope with the trauma of sexual violence. It’s often described as an “out of body” experience where someone feels detached from reality. It may be upsetting for someone to realize that they have dissociated, but it is a natural reaction to trauma.

Trauma is sadly an all-too-common experience. By a traumatic event we mean incidents such as accidents or disasters, or times when we are hurt or threatened by another person. Traumas might include physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. During a traumatic experience we might feel very frightened, hopeless, or helpless. We might believe that we are going to suffer severe injury or die. The dissociative reactions that we describe in this guide are often associated with trauma, but can also occur during other periods of stress and high anxiety. In this section we will explore what dissociation is and why it is helpful. To begin, we need to understand how our minds and bodies are designed to help us survive.

Psychologists think that dissociation is a set of physical and behavioral adaptations that human beings have acquired because they can help us to survive extreme events. Two psychologists called Maggie Schauer and Thomas Elbert published an influential research paper about dissociation in 2010. They propose that “evolution has equipped us with a defense armament to imminent threat”. What this means is that our bodies and minds have a selection of built-in strategies which are designed to help us to survive immediate threats to our lives. We are the descendants of ancestors who have survived threats (those who perished did not have as many chances to have children) and so these strategies have been finely developed over time.

Dissociation exists because it can help people to survive extreme events. There are some situations where your best chance of surviving is to stay still. A parallel in the animal world is when animals ‘play dead’ in the hope that a predator will lose interest and let them go. But how can we stay still during terrifying events? If we are fully conscious the answer is ‘not easily’: our normal reaction if something hurts or scares us is to try to move away from it. Schauer and Elbert say that:

Surviving these situations requires physiological adaptation including immobility, pain tolerance, and with it ‘switches’ in consciousness, information processing, and behavior that are perceived as strange because they are outside the range of ordinary experiences.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand both the immediate as well as latent effects of child sexual abuse.
  • Identify the types of perpetrators of child sexual abuse and the differing impact on survivors of CSA.
  • Identify the differences between Trauma vs Complex trauma.
  • Learn cognitive challenges experienced by children and survivors of childhood sexual abuse
  • Understand the importance of cultural considerations when treating survivors of CSA
  • Develop a deeper understanding of Dissociative Disorders & Dissociative Types
  • Describe the relationship between sexual abuse/trauma and DID’s
  • Express and understanding of “body memory”
  • Recognize the benefits of Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. traditional CBT when treating survivors of childhood sexual abuse
  • Participants will learn how to assist their clients with making the transition from victim to survivor

About the Speaker

Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford (PhD, MFT, CRS, CMFSW, BCPC) has a PhD in forensic Psychology specializing in family trauma and dysfunctions. With 20 years of experience working in the field of behavioral sciences, Dr. Bates-Duford has been instrumental in work with stabilizing families, helping individuals and families navigate the challenges of mental illness, as well as victims of abuse/ trauma, reprocessing the memory of the trauma in a manner that no longer paralyses nor interferes with daily functioning.

Dr. Bates-Duford is also an accomplished author covering topics such as; conduct disorder, ADHD, parenting a child with special needs, and trauma. As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) she understands the long-term implications of abuse as it relates to depression, substance & alcohol abuse, self-esteem issues, trust, and personal instability.




CPD & CE credits available: 6

How do I receive these credits? The participant must pass the multiple-choice test with a minimum score of 80%. There is a maximum of three attempts to achieve this. The post-test is included in the price of the training.

Does my regulatory body accept the credits? The CPD & CE credits awarded can be used towards your declaration to any governing regulatory body in your state or country, provided the content is relevant to your discipline.

Our trainings are accredited by:

  • The CPD Group, London
  • Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association
  • Australian Counselling Association

Ready to Book?

Connecting Sexual Trauma and Dissociation - Tarra Bates-Duford

14 May 2022 Live & On Demand

related training