The Snow White 'Parts' Metaphor: Working With Complex And Attachment Trauma - Psychology

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


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 paralyzing 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 medicalized ‘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 recognized 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.

Setting the Scene:

  • The Snow White fairy tale as metaphor for complex and developmental trauma
  • Multiplicity of mind: Structural dissociation theory and Internal Family Systems model
  • Introducing Snow White and her parts
    • Role and protective function
    • Survival responses: fight – flight – freeze – collapse – people pleaser / tend and befriend – attach
    • Attachment styles

Reframing cCmplex Symptoms and Behaviour: Core Trauma Dynamics

  • Locus of control shift
  • Ambivalent attachment to the perpetrator
  • Internal victim – rescuer – persecutor triangle
  • Impulse control: the problem is not the problem (but a solution to another problem)
  • Reframing resistance

Navigating Common Therapy Pitfalls

The impact of developmental trauma on attachment formation, style and implications for the therapeutic relationship

  • Disorganized / fearful avoidant
  • Trigger loop – cascading triggering of parts
  • Interaction of client / therapist parts and attachment styles

Targeting Interventions: “What works for whom”:

The neuro-affective compasses:

  • Prefrontal compass
  • Limbic compass
  • Autonomic compass

Working Within Window of Tolerance – Developing Tolerance for the Intolerable

  • stabilization strategies for different parts
    • grounding and containment
    • visualization and mindfulness
    • internal communication

Four strategies to work with parts

  • Talking through
  • Written / dialoguing
  • Artwork
  • Body work

Stepping toward challenging emotions: peeling the layers of the onion

  • ‘What if’ cascade
  • Shame compass adapted to Snow White’s parts
  • Rage and depression
  • Terror, helplessness and vulnerability
  • Grief

Participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the protective role and function of self-sabotaging behaviours and symptoms
  2. Utilize a ‘parts’ approach in working with complex trauma and attachment related conflicts
  3. Identify activation of four core trauma dynamics within the client’s internal and external world
  4. Engage therapeutically appropriate to a parts attachment style
  5. Responding safely when the triangle is activated in therapy
  6. Work within the window of tolerance of each part
  7. Apply understanding of the trigger loop to unlock internal conflicts
  8. Facilitate four strategies to work with parts

Providers Terms

  • Your registration includes: Handout, 6 month access to the recording for online training and Certificate of participation.
  • Registration is for individual use only. Links to live webinars and recordings cannot be shared with others.
  • All payments must be made by Credit Card – Visa and MasterCard only. All credit card payments will incur a surcharge of 1.6% per transaction.
  • Group bookings 3+ people must be from the same organization and paid with one payment.
  • Invoicing is only available for group bookings of 3+ in the same training.
  • All fees in Australian dollars (AUD). Fees inclusive of GST.
  • NO SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS on fees or policies are possible.
  • Fulltime student discount – must be fulltime, provide requested details on the online application form, payment for training self funded – income under $AUD50,000
  • Please provide your direct email and contact details for materials / updates – ensure this is provided where an AGENCY funds your registration.
  • Confirmation with your tax-deductible receipt will be emailed on registration – contact us if not received.
  • Registration is only available for the whole training. It is not possible to register for particular parts of a training when it runs over more than one session or day. If you are unable to attend part / all of a live webinar, you will receive the recording(s) as part of your registration package. Refunds are not available for parts you may be unable to attend live.
  • PAYMENT must be received by the closing date of the registration category you registered under. If payment has not been received by the closing date of the category registered under, your registration will automatically be transferred to the next registration category. If payment is not received 2 working days prior to the event, your registration will be cancelled.
  • Transfer registration to another webinar is not permitted.
  • All dates subject to expiry at 5.00pm Australian Eastern Time
  • Time Zone: Webinars are scheduled for Australian Eastern Time. AEST from first Sunday of April – to first Sunday of October, when it changes to AEDT. Please check your time zone. A link to a time zone convertor will sent with your link to the webinar. Delphi Training and Consulting is not responsible for miscalculations relating to the webinar start time in your area and will not issue refunds due to timing mix-ups.
  • A link to the webinar and any handouts will be emailed to you at the email address on your registration 48 hours prior to the training. Please notify us if you do not receive it for any reason.
  • Technical issues: We will do everything we can to eliminate technical difficulties within our control. Refunds will not be issued for technical issues on the attendees side.
  • CANCELLATIONS – Webinars: Must be made in writing. A refund minus $20 for 90-minute webinars, $40 for 3-hour webinars, and $80 for 8-hour webinars administration fee will be issued up to 7 days (including weekend days) prior to the webinar for which you are registered. NO REFUND after this date. There will be no administration fee charged for cancellations from countries in the South Asia and Asia Pacific Region listed in the World Bank country classification by income level tier system. This applies to countries in the region listed as tier IV – V – VI.
  • CANCELLATIONS – In-Person workshops: Must be made in writing. A refund minus $90 administration fee for in-person workshops up to 7 days prior to training. NO REFUND after this date.
  • All webinar recordings are copyright of The Delphi Centre Pty Ltd and may not be copied, shared or shown in public or professional settings without written permission. Purchasing webinars is an agreement to uphold copyright laws.
  • In the unlikely event circumstances beyond our control result in the postponement or cancellation of a webinar or workshop, we will reschedule as soon as practical. A full refund or opportunity to transfer to the re-scheduled webinar or workshop will promptly be provided to registrants.
  • Delphi Training and Consulting reserves the right to change and update terms and conditions without notice. 


Super Saver Price - Individual

USD $205


Super Saver Price - Group 3+

USD $192


Early Bird Price - Individual

USD $217


Early Bird Price - Group 3+

USD $205


Standard Price - Individual

USD $230


Standard Price - Group 3+

USD $217


Student Price

USD $128



Super Saver Price - IndividualClosedSuper Saver Price - Group 3+ClosedEarly Bird Price - IndividualClosedEarly Bird Price - Group 3+ClosedStandard Price - IndividualClosedStandard Price - Group 3+ClosedStudent PriceClosed
Contact Hours:

8.0 hrs

Start Time:

Sat, 12 August 2023 , 9:00 AM

Finish Time:

Sat, 12 August 2023 , 5:00 PM


1 Day






NSW Teachers Federation Conference Centre


37 Reservoir St, Surry Hills,
Sydney, New South Wales,
Australia, 2010




Naomi Halpern

Naomi trained as a social worker in the UK. Early in her career she worked with children in short stay emergency care, homeless youth, and convicted offenders in government and non-government organisations, providing advocacy, psychosocial education, recreational opportunities, skills training, supervision and counselling.

In 1987, Naomi went into partnership with Susan Henry at The Delphi Centre, now known as Delphi Training and Consulting where she developed expertise in therapy for adult sequelae of childhood abuse, neglect and attachment disruptions.

Naomi provides clinical consultation for complex post-traumatic stress, dissociative disorders and related impacts of childhood developmental trauma and abuse, for mental health professionals working with adult victim / survivors of intergenerational trauma, gender-based violence, and other trauma. She has a wealth of experience working with people across socioeconomic groups, faiths, and sexual orientation.

She is a consultant and trainer for law firms, providing trauma informed training and supporting lawyers’ mental health and wellbeing. Since 2009, Naomi has been an external consultant to the United Nations developing and delivering a broad range of trauma informed programs to personnel in missions and duty stations around the world.

A skilled speaker and trainer, Naomi has presented training about complex and developmental trauma, vicarious trauma, resilience building and workplace wellbeing through Delphi and United Nations, in-person and online across all Australian States and Territories – Africa – Denmark – Germany – India – Italy – Lebanon – New Zealand – Romania – Thailand – United States. See organisations Naomi has partnered

A founding member of The Australian Association of Trauma and Dissociation Inc. in 1992 (amalgamated with the Australasian Association of Traumatic Stress Studies in 1996) Naomi served on the Executive Committee and Conference Committee from 1991 – 1996, and as Treasurer from 1992 – 1995.

She is a founding member and spokesperson for an action group for victims of white collar crime. An advocate for victims of deceptive and misleading financial advice, Naomi has provided submissions and testimony to senate committees and other inquiries and has been an invited speaker at financial industry forums regarding the impact of white collar crime, the changes needed in the industry and legislation. She has worked closely with parliamentarians across political parties and the media. She is frequently contacted for commentary.

Naomi is a Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. And co-author with Dr Colin A. Ross, (2009) Trauma Model Therapy: A Treatment Approach for Trauma, Dissociation and Complex Comorbidity, Manitou Inc.

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