Attunement, Representation, and Mentalization (ARM): An Attachment-Based Hypnotherapeutic Approach to Treating Complex Trauma
Eric Spiegel, PhD
Format: MP3 Audio file download
Psychotherapeutic approaches informed by attachment theory have gained significant empirical and clinical support, particularly in the area of complex trauma. Despite these advances, attachment approaches for treating complex trauma could benefit greatly from the experiential wealth that clinical hypnosis has to offer. Clinical hypnosis has its own rich tradition to draw upon in working with complex trauma, ranging from ego state therapy to developmental object relations approaches. In this presentation, the presenter will integrate the new attachment literature on mentalization into a comprehensive hypnotherapeutic attachment approach for treating complex trauma.
The relational and psychological functions of attunement, representation, and mentalization are essential components of a secure attachment experience. When pervasive abuse or neglect perpetuated by a primary attachment figure occurs, attachment functions are disrupted and developmental arrests occur. In its' utilization of shared attention, tone of voice, pacing, language, and imagery, clinical hypnosis as a state, relationship, and technique offers psychotherapists a way of introducing a healthy attachment experience and renewing appropriate developmental functioning in patients
who are survivors of complex trauma. With this in mind, the presenter will share his attunement, representation, and mentalization (ARM) hypnotherapeutic attachment approach to treating complex trauma. In didactic and experiential training, participants will learn the ARM approach; develop and practice hypnotic suggestions for each of the three ARM components; and discern how ARM advances treatment goals of sensorimotor anchoring, somatoaffective regulation, management of boundaries and dissociative states, internalization of adaptive relationship experiences, controlled reprocessing of traumatic memories, and integration of diffuse ego states.
During and at the conclusion of this session, the attendee will be able to:
- Conceptualize and describe how a hypnotherapeutic attachment approach could be utilized across the stages (safety/stabilization; controlled reprocessing; integration) of a complex trauma treatment process;
- Articulate the rationale and components of the ARM (attunement, representation, mentalization) approach;
- Formulate and deliver 3 hypnotic suggestions which advance the attachment goals of enhancing attunement in the hypnotherapeutic relationship, developing mental representation of a secure attachment figure or ego state, and increasing the capacity for reflective awareness about mental states in patients who are survivors of complex trauma; and
- Apply the ARM approach