Event Details

Working with dissociation and self-states across conditions using theory and practice from CBT, DBT, ACT and CFT

Presented by Dr Fiona Kennedy

About the event

This in-person workshop has been organised by the BABCP West Branch.

 - The Bristol Hotel, Prince Street, Bristol, BS1 4QF Venue Website
Times9.30am to 4.30pm, with registration from 9.00am

Lunch and refreshments are included.

A certificate of attendance will be issued for 6 hours CPD.

Registration closes - Midday on Thursday 19 September. Places are limited though, so book early to avoid disappointment!


In this workshop you will learn to identify, formulate and work with dissociation across disorders as well as with different symptoms of dissociation in a given case.

Dissociation within and between self-states

The cognitive model of dissociation (Kennedy et al 2004, 2013) shows how dissociative processes affect perception, experience, and sense of self. Adversity in childhood, particularly where the child is helpless, can create dissociative responding to adapt to our context. However, it can mean we have reduced awareness, acceptance and control/choice over ourselves.

At the perceptual level (level 1), we can experience spacing out (failure to process any information), and intrusive imagery. At the experiential level (level 2), within-mode dissociation means we can become unable to think, feel, respond physically, or carry out certain behaviours, as well as intrusions in each of these areas (intrusive thoughts, feelings, behaviours, physical responses). At the personality level (level 3) dissociation between modes allows us to hold contradictory or hostile self-states with reduced awareness, control and ‘ownership’ of these ways of being in the world.

The course demonstrates how the cognitive model of dissociation can be used to formulate the extent of structural dissociation of self-states and work to reduce this. We also present our new scale (in development) to assess dissociation between self-states.

By increasing our awareness of the different modes which make up our repertoire of self-states (our personality), we can begin to develop a compassionate observing self, involving acceptance of our-selves in all our manifestations and learning with the therapist to exercise control/choice over who and how we want to be.

Assessing self-states

We will share the established Wessex Dissociation Scale (WDS) scale, and also the D-ISS (currently in development) to measure dissociation between self-states. The scale is a 25-item 5-factor measure of Awareness, Acceptance, Control, Integration and Difference/Distance regarding a client’s self-states. It has already demonstrated a good factor structure and internal reliability. It can be used in assessment and as a before and after outcome measure.

We will also discuss other ways of assessing dissociation at each level and ‘mapping the system’ using communication books, diaries, artwork, play therapy techniques. Clients are asked to survey their friends and family (where safe to do so) regarding the different ways they can be in different contexts.

Validation and acceptance of all self-states is present from the therapist throughout assessment and treatment, whilst being careful not to approve or endorse abusive behaviours.

Intervening with dissociation

For levels 1 and 2, specific techniques from CBT and Third Wave therapies can be used to reduce dissociation. For level 3, mindfulness practices allow us to create and access a compassionate observing self, or an overarching perspective on all of our self-states. Mindfully observing and describing self-states together with our therapist helps us to develop perspective and a compassionate observing self. Techniques for change include introducing and normalising the concept of multiplicity and self-states to the client; creative descriptions and representation of self-states using art, poetry, music, journaling, scrapbooking, WhatsApp groups; commitment work from DBT/motivational interviewing/ACT creative helplessness… “why change and what are the obstacles?”; validation of each and every self-state's function in maintaining the client’s physical and social safety; ‘parts’ work, including chair work and gestalt, schema therapy techniques to facilitate communication between parts.

You will receive takeaways from the workshop, which will include The WDS and D-ISS assessment scales, as well as a free article written by Dr Fiona Kennedy and Dr Helen Kennerley. This workshop is suitable for Psychologists, CBT therapists, Counsellors and EMDR therapists.

Learning outcomes:

• Understand the importance of dissociation and how to identify it
• Understand the cognitive model of dissociation
• Assess dissociation across different conditions
• Formulate dissociation as part of a client’s presentation
• Have some basic techniques for working with dissociation at each level 
• The WDS and D-ISS assessment scales

About the presenter(s)

Dr Fiona Kennedy is a respected and knowledgeable, fun trainer with a knack of making complex concepts accessible without losing their richness. She had many years experience in managing and delivering services in the NHS, and is Director of GreenWood Mentors Ltd, an award-winning company providing training, supervision and therapy.

Dr Kennedy is a Fellow of the BABCP and a BABCP Accredited Trainer, Supervisor and Therapist, an Associate Fellow of the BPS and a BPS RAPPs Supervisor. She is a visiting academic at Southampton University and an Associate Editor for The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist.

Dr Kennedy has written books including the guided therapy book Get Your Life Back: The Most Effective Therapies for a Better You, for clients, shortlisted for the BMA Popular Medical Book Of The Year. In 2020 a therapist’s companion to this appeared as part of the Routledge CBT Distinctive Features series: Integrating CBT and Third Wave Therapies. She co-edited Cognitive Behavioural Approaches to the Understanding and Treatment of Dissociation and developed the CBT theory of dissociation. Dr Kennedyand her husband have volunteered in India for the past 16 years, enabling volunteers and NGO staff to work with children and young people from severe disadvantage as well as with tribal groups from rural areas. She is currently writing A Clinician’s Guide to Dissociation, to be published by Guilford in 2025.


By registering on this event you accept the following terms and conditions:

All cancellation requests must be made in writing by emailing workshops@babcp.com

In person events
An event booking cancelled up to 14 days prior to the scheduled event will receive a full refund.

An event booking cancelled between 14 and 7 days prior to the scheduled event will receive a 50% refund.

No refunds will be granted if a cancellation is made fewer than 7 days prior to the scheduled event, or for failure to attend.

BABCP cancels events only when necessary, but reserves the right to do so, as well as to reschedule events and substitute presenters.  If an event is cancelled by BABCP you will be given a full refund of registration fees paid.

BABCP expressly excludes any liability for any direct or indirect losses or damages arising as a result of an event cancellation and will not be responsible for any associated costs incurred i.e. travel or accommodation.  As such, it is recommended that you do not book non-refundable travel or accommodation.

Face-to-Face Event
26 Sep 2024
100.00 GBP (ex. VAT) - BABCP Member
130.00 GBP (ex. VAT) - Non Member

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