On Demand Course Certificate

The Snow White ‘Parts’ Metaphor: Working With Complex And Attachment Trauma


8 CPD hours

Once-upon-a-time, if Snow White presented to a psychiatrist describing her attempted murder, talking animals, whispering trees and living in a forest with seven male strangers, she would likely receive a diagnosis of hysteria, psychosis, a personality disorder or schizophrenia. Today, through a trauma-informed lens grounded in neuroscience, we would ask not, “What is wrong with Snow White?” Rather, we would wonder, “What happened to Snow White?” In exploring carefully, sensitively and respectfully, we would learn of her history of complex and developmental trauma, the loss of her mother at birth, attachment disruption, neglect, betrayal and family violence.

Childhood abuse and betrayal trauma set in motion the development of complicated attachment styles, disrupted sense of Self, intense self-loathing, and paralysing shame. Clients present with a range of symptomatology and seemingly self-sabotaging behaviours. They may meet criteria for several diagnosis, including complex PTSD, personality disorders, eating disorders, dissociative disorders, substance abuse disorders, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, non-suicidal self-injury, and suicidal ideation. The Snow White model reframes the medicalised ‘disordered’ perspective and approaches symptoms and behaviours as functional adaptations or accommodations to trauma, rooted in self-protection and survival, “the problem is not the problem but a solution to another problem.”

Harnessing the fairy-tale of Snow White as a metaphor, each character is recognised as a ‘Part’ in a complex personality structure with a role and function to protect Snow White from the pain of overwhelming trauma, abuse, and neglect. This workshop will demystify complex dynamics and behaviours and provide strategies to work with internal conflicts and protective behaviours embodied by different parts. A non-pathologizing approach, the Snow White model provides a comprehensive framework to assist clients in healing early attachment and trauma-based wounds. Using video, case examples and exercises, Naomi will assist you to identify what works for whom, and when.

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