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324: In Sickness and In Health: The Physical Consequences of Emotional Abuse in Marriage

David Hawkins, Ph.D.
Marriage Recovery Center
10800 NE Broomgerrie Rd.
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Our minds and bodies are connected. Such a truth seems obvious, perhaps even simplistic, yet too many professionals forget this fact. Too many mental health clinicians focus on treating the mind, forgetting to ask questions about the body. Thus, we are in danger of enabling a very destructive process instead of participating in powerful interventions. This workshop will explore how an unhealthy marriage often leads to an unhealthy body and how the body keeps the score for the health of the marriage. We will explore how chronic narcissistic and emotional abuse often lead to a variety of psychosomatic illnesses, with the body and physical symptoms reflecting the health of the marriage. Additionally, we will address psychosomatic illness and its relationship to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Complex PTSD, its connection to chronic stress in marriage, and action steps we should be taking to help those struggling to cope. We will examine stress from a new perspective—that chronic stress (C-PTSD) is horribly debilitating.

Learning Objectives
Participants will:
• Identify traits of narcissistic and emotional abuse, as well as typical physiological symptoms associated with this abuse
• Analyze various psychosomatic illnesses often associated with narcissistic and emotional abuse
• Discuss the relationship between chronic marital stress and psychosomatic illness
• Describe best practices for treating those suffering from narcissistic and emotional abuse and assisting them in finding appropriate physical care, setting healthy boundaries, and taking ultimate responsibility for their healing

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