Walking the path
of spring moss –
each footstep asks
to be forgiven.

— Peter Levitt

Vulnerability to Connection


When childhood hurts stimulate reactivity, couples are often unable to communicate in ways that increase their connection to support security and stability in their relationship.  Partners often indirectly express what is important to them through disowned voices.  This disowned vulnerability fuels a boding pattern that tends to destabilize the relationship and make it feel less secure.  When we judge our partner in these moments, we speak through a disowned self when in an effort to describe something important to us.  We avoid our vulnerability using adaptive strategies that undermine our connection.

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Elaine Rosenson, LMFT and
Michael Shiffman, Ph.D.

Exploring Couples Dynamics

Transforming Vulnerability into Connection:
Somatic Regulation and Voice Dialogue

September 9, 2017

10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Open to all therapists, mental health professionals and their spouses.

When childhood hurts stimulate reactivity, couples are often unable to communicate in ways that increase their connection to support security and stability in their relationship. We protect and avoid our vulnerability using adaptive strategies that undermine our connection. These many ways of self-protection are often automatic and unconscious and cause so much misery. We get protection but not connection. We can often feel lost as a therapist working with a couple and as a member of a couple.

In this workshop we will learn the archetypal patterns in which all couples participate. We will learn how and why couples attract their opposites and then drive each other crazy. We will learn how to go from negative judgments of our partner’s behaviors to more authentic expression. We will learn how to accept ourselves and our partners with compassion, while learning why we need to make changes. We will learn how to experience self-regulation in order to be centered and make more effective choices in relationship.

Using experiential somatic practices and voice dialogue processes we will explore how to use our vulnerability to increase the safety and security of our relationship rather than reinforcing bonding patterns that increase discord.  This will be a didactic and participatory experience.

Voice Dialogue is a simple yet profound method for accessing and honoring the many selves that live within each of us. This developmental theory views the human psyche as an intricate network of selves, forming an inner family that affects us cognitively, somatically and behaviorally. When people are in a relationship each person’s inner family interact creating combinations of relationships that are complicated. Understanding and experiencing these inner selves will result in a sense of wholeness, acceptance, and choice.

At this workshop students will:
  • Identify and describe systemic activation and deactivation cycles;
  • Identify and describe three somatic regulation practices
  • Use Voice Dialogue with relationship dynamics
  • Explore your own set of Primary and Disowned Selves and how they shape your life
  • Create a roadmap to help couples communicate from an authentic place.


ElainRosensonElaine Rosenson, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Encino, CA for over 25 years. She is a nationally recognized therapist, Voice Dialogue facilitator and teacher.  She trained extensively with Drs. Hal and Sidra Stone, the originators of Voice Dialogue. She has served as staff for Drs. Hal and Sidra Stone and has been endorsed by them to provide trainings to professionals and the general public.  In 1991, she founded the Valley Voice Dialogue Center where she has trained therapists on how to use Voice Dialogue for their own deep personal work and in their own practice.  Elaine has presented to classes at CSUN, at numerous intern training centers in Los Angeles as well as at CAMFT, SD-CAMFT, SFV-CAMFT, GPASC, and GPALA Conferences.  Elaine is a Past-President of the San Fernando Valley Chapter of CAMFT and has been an active member for over 30 years.

Elaine specializes in couple therapy.  She combines attachment theory, Jungian concepts, family systems, EMDR, cognitive, somatic and emotion focused therapies to give each couple the approach that best works for their individual needs.

MichaelMichael Shiffman, Ph.D., is a relational body therapist at the Insight Center in West Los Angeles.  He founded LA Dharma in 1999 and co-founded the Insight Center in 2006. Michael has studied with numerous Western Buddhist teachers and currently studies with Rev. Hye Wol Sunim. He has been meditating since 1994 and teaching mindfulness and insight meditation since 2002.

Michael is a certified practitioner of the NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) and a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner with substantial training in the use of touch for nervous system regulation and the repair of attachment ruptures.  He teaches meditation, neuroaffective regulation, and somatic therapy.

Michael has an extensive background working with anxiety, panic, traumatic stress, substance abuse and recovery, relapse prevention, and somatic oriented therapeutic practices. Michael is also a photographer whose work is shown on his website http://shiffmanphotos.com, enjoys cooking and is frequently happy in his new life in Encino.

Continuing Education:

Continuing Education Units are available. A CE certificate is issued once the module is completed.

Psychologists: The Insight Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Insight Center maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This course is provides 6 CE units.

MFTs / LCSWs / LPCCs:  The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts APA CEs. This course provides 6 CE units.

Nurses: The Insight Center, Provider Number 14914, is an approved provider by the California Board of Registered Nursing. This course provides 6 CE units.

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