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A spotlight on: Professor Warwick Middleton in support of Blue Knot Day

In support of Blue Knot Day and the 5 million Australian survivors of childhood trauma, we’re shining a light on trauma and dissociation.

Dr Warwick Middleton MB BS, FRANZCP, MD., has been in full time private practice since January 1995 at Belmont Private Hospital and holds appointments as Adjunct Professor, School of Public Health, La Trobe University, School of Behavioral, Cognitive & Social Sciences, University of New England, Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury and, Associate Professor in Psychiatry, University of Queensland.

Dr Middleton has made substantial and ongoing contributions to the bereavement and trauma literatures; of which he was awarded a Doctorate of Medicine for his thesis “The Phenomenology of Bereavement and the Processes of Resolution”.

He was a principal architect in establishing Belmont Private Hospital’s Trauma and Dissociation Unit; Australia’s first dedicated unit treating dissociative disorders. Dr Middleton also holds the title as principal author of the first published series in the Australian scientific literature detailing the abuse histories and clinical phenomenology of patients fulfilling diagnostic criteria for Dissociative Identity Disorder.


ISSTD Past Presidents Martin Dorahy, Warwick Middleton and Kevin Connors.

Throughout his career, he has had substantive ongoing involvement with research, writing, reviewing, teaching (including workshops and seminar presentations), conference convening, forensic reporting and supervision of health and research professionals. Dr Middleton also chairs the Cannan Institute, is a member of the International Advisory Board of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, an elected Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), a recipient of the 2013 ISSTD Morton Prince Award for scientific achievement, and aside from serving on multiple ISSTD committees, is the Immediate Past President of ISSTD.

Belmont Private Hospital CEO/DCS, Mary Williams says, “We are honoured to support the extensive works of Dr Warwick Middleton and his contributions to providing evidence-based treatment for Australians living with the impacts of complex trauma.” “As one of few private services in Australia that offer specialist treatment for trauma dissociative disorders, and Queensland’s only provider on private inpatient treatment we are committed to supporting the evolving research and clinical insights of `complex’ trauma.”


Mary Williams and Professor Warwick Middleton at the Blue Know Foundation’s Official 2019 Practice Guidelines Launch at Belmont Private Hospital

Belmont Private Hospital’s Trauma and Dissociation Unit (TDU)

Belmont Private Hospital is one of few private services in Australia that offer specialist treatment for trauma dissociative disorders.

Established in 1997, the hospital’s Trauma and Dissociation Unit (TDU) is Australia’s first dedicated unit treating dissociative disorders. The unit offers inpatient treatment and day patient education programs to patients with trauma-related mental health conditions. Professor Warwick Middleton has proudly been the Director of TDU since its conception and continues to have an active involvement in the overall governance of the unit.

Belmont Private Hospital CEO/DCS, Mary Williams says, ‘Professor Middleton’s commitment to this role has provided both stability and a rich history of development, expansion and growth. A true testament to his leadership over the years.”


Artist Impression of the $21m hospital redevelopment, expected completion by mid-2022.

Due for completion mid-2022, the hospital’s $21M major redevelopment will include a multi-level building with two storeys dedicated to hospital wards, one to consulting suites, along with a refurbishment of current wards, including Belmont’s TDU. The project will alleviate service gaps in the region's private mental health services and support early intervention.

The expansion is also set to coincide with the Trauma and Dissociation Unit’s 25th anniversary. Highlighting another milestone moment in both Belmont Private Hospital’s history and Professor Middleton’s career as the sole Director of the unit for 25 consecutive years.

This is both exciting and an affirmation of the importance of TDU as an essential service and Professor Middleton’s dedication to the development of trauma and dissociation services.

In conversation with Professor Warwick Middleton

What is something about yourself that most people don’t know?

From the age of 15 I have ridden a motorcycle. In 1975 I rode a motorcycle around Australia. Then in 1978 I rode from Cowra, NSW, to Cairns, Northern Queensland and back, a 4,500 mile trip on an MZ 250 single-cylinder two-stroke, with my father as pillion


W Middleton heading to Cairns, Australia, 1978

What has been the most challenging experience of your career?

Perhaps the most challenging experience has been drawn out over many years. This is the challenge of assisting colleagues to grasp the reality of dissociative identity disorder (DID) and related trauma-spectrum conditions. The challenge has been to be educational without being dogmatic, to be inclusive, while still having points of difference, to be identified as belonging, at the same time as fostering change, to be empathic and welcoming while avoiding any temptation to be judgemental about perceived ignorance on the part of colleagues. It has also been important to avoid going beyond the data in making public pronouncements about anything to do with the spectrum of trauma, but especially to do with DID, recovered memory, and alleged Satanic abuse.

What has been the best experience?

The best experience has been working collaboratively and supportively with a wide range of very impressive colleagues over many years as we progressively, as a community, get an increasingly clearer understanding of the nature of the range of traumas humans can inflict on each other.

How did you first learn about dissociation?

Nothing was taught in my psychiatry training about dissociation, yet on reflection I was repeatedly encountering it.

How have you seen the understanding of dissociation change over the years?

There has been a marked diminution in viewing DID as a “fascinoma”. A number of societal movements or initiatives (such as the Australian Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse) have laid bare the widespread existence of abuse dynamics that give rise to dissociative disorders/complex trauma syndromes. We have become more aware of abuses associated with the family, and with mainstream churches, cults, schools, orphanages, seminaries, youth detention centres, the scouting movement, trafficking groups, the film industry, politicians, the military, and high profile entertainers (e.g. Jimmy Savile, Rolf Harris, Michael Jackson, Gary Glitter, Roman Polanski, Clement Freud). We have also become more aware of ongoing incest during adulthood (very often involving some form of organized abuse) and internet pedophile rings … For example, when the FBI, in February 2015, closed down the encrypted paedophile site, Playpen, which hosted nearly 50,000 sexually explicit images and videos of children as young as toddlers, they had identified 215,000 users.

I accompanied a number of individuals with DID as they gave evidence to the Australian Royal Commission. At no stage did any Commissioner show any doubt about their diagnosis or the abuses that had led to it developing.


Warwick with Naomi Halpern (Chair of the A-NZ Conference Committee) and Past President Martin Dorahy, Christchurch Conference, 2019

Involvement with the ISSTD

The ISSTD is the world’s oldest international trauma society. Its role is to bear witness to the full range of human traumas and abuses and to provide an environment of enhanced professional safety for colleagues who are clinicians and researchers working in this most challenging field. I became involved with the emerging trauma and dissociation field in Australia, including publishing foundational research for the field and developing professional training for the field. As the foundation Director of TDU I encouraged research and the number of talented colleagues who have been involved in such projects have included Martin Dorahy, Mary-Ann Kate and Michael Salter. Martin, who collected his thesis data whilst employed in TDU, was the first individual in Australia to successfully complete a research PhD on dissociative disorders. Along with a stellar grouping of Australian and New Zealand colleagues I have been heavily involved in the organising committees for a series of successful ISSTD conferences in Sydney (2015), Brisbane (2017), Christchurch (2019) and Melbourne (2021). I have been part of the editorial grouping involved in assembling and contributing to two special issues of the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, both of which were developed into books.

For more information, or to arrange an appointment of referral please contact Professor Middleton's private consulting suites:

  • Phone Number: 07 3831 4466
  • Fax: 07 3831 4477
  • Email for referrals: [email protected]
  • Website: