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Renée Potgieter Marks - Assessment of Dissociative Disorders in Children and Adolescents

Assessment of Dissociative Disorders in Children and Adolescents

Renée Potgieter Marks

Dissociative disorders are not generally recognised or diagnosed in children and adolescents by mainstream psychiatry. Of course, it is much easier to diagnose ADHD, autism or other more familiar psychiatric disorders, while dissociative disorders in children are still struggling to be accepted as formal diagnosis. The usual fantastical thinking of dissociative children is often normalised, voices that children might report, minimised. In this process the opportunity to access the rich information of the dissociative child’s internal landscape is lost.

This workshop will focus on the assessment of dissociation in children and adolescents. It will explore the different diagnostic screening tools available and the complexity of using it in this population. The reasons and alternatives for the complexity will be discussed at the hand of practical case examples. Alternative assessment methods which can be used for dissociative children, including specific questions, drawings, sand tray’s and play will be discussed and illustrated by using photos of actual cases.  


Dr. Renée Potgieter Marks works as a Consultant Therapist and Clinical Lead at Integrate Families, National Centre for Child Trauma and Dissociation in the North of England.   She specializes in children and adolescents with attachment difficulties, complex trauma and dissociation and mainly works with children who experienced early abuse, neglect and trauma. This includes adopted children. Renée also published articles and chapters in various books on her work. She is an international trainer on the topic of complex trauma and dissociation in children and adolescents and is also involved in on-line training on assessment and treating dissociative children and adolescents with BICTD (www.bictd.org). She is the chair of the Child and Adolescent Committee of the ESTD (European Society on Trauma and Dissociation) and also a member of the Child and Adolescent Committee of the ISSTD (International Society on Studies of Trauma and Dissociation).


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