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Sensory Defensiveness

Workshop Proposal:   Sensory Defensiveness

Dr. Candace Cole-McCrea

Time Block: 3 hours

Sensory defensiveness is not an identified condition in the latest DSM,  yet this condition can very significantly affect behavior and functional abilities in the life-world of individuals to such a degree that they may become psychologically paralyzed or violently aggressive?  What is sensory defensiveness and how can it be such a determining force in people’s lives?  Can it be overcome?

  What are its signs and  symptoms?  Who is vulnerable and why?  What personal, interpersonal and contextual experiences are more likely to result in an explosion or “meltdown”?  Can we learn to recognize clues of this condition in persons we serve?

 How do we distinguish between mild, moderate, and severe sensory defensiveness and the likely situational reactions of persons with each type?  What emotional and behavioral disorders are likely to be compounded with sensory defensiveness? What physiological factors influence, cause and result in this condition?

 What can we do to help reduce the discomfort, suffering and likelihood of emotional explosions or withdrawal in persons with whom we work who endure a life with sensory defensiveness? Where can we turn to learn more about this condition? 

This workshop will provide an introduction to research and knowledge of this condition.  The presenter has experienced, counseled and researched sensory defensiveness in persons traumatized prenatally, through childhood family experiences,  through interpersonal violence, through the effects of war and torture, and as a result of histories of painful medical procedures.  We will examine these issues, then to conclude the workshop with a discussion of  examples and case studies.