Brain Science and Psychotherapy

105 – Brain-Based Coaching for Creativity

How to Bring More of Your Hidden Potential to Life
DAVID GRAND

The essence of creative self-expression is connecting with bodily-held emotional experience. That’s why actors and singers call their bodies their instrument. Discover how to use Brainspotting’s eye-focus-based technique to provide a powerful process for going deep into the subcortical brain to maximize your own creativity, whether through performing, writing, acting, drawing, music, or anything else. Over the course of the day, you’ll:

  • Witness demonstrations using Brainspotting to coach an actor and singer to find the “character spot” to bring fuller life to their performance
  • Practice using Brainspotting to heighten your ability to bring new focus and more vivid sense memory to your chosen form of creative self-expression
  • Learn how to integrate Brainspotting into a range of personal and professional activities

David Grand, PhD, is the developer of Brainspotting and has trained more than 8,000 therapists internationally. He’s the author of Brainspotting: The Revolutionary New Therapy for Rapid and Effective Change.

Posted in Mind, Body, and Brain, Personal and Professional Development, Thursday: 9:30 a.m. - Noon & 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. | Tagged , , , ,

112 – Brain Care as Self-Care

Discovering the Neuroscience of Wellbeing
LINDA GRAHAM

By tapping into the innate neuroplasticity of the brain to reduce stress, regain equilibrium, and restore perspective and resilience, we can avoid compassion fatigue and burnout and recover the rejuvenating creativity and flow of our work. In this experiential workshop, you’ll learn empirically validated techniques to calm the nervous system, come to clarity and discernment in decision-making, heal toxic shame, retire the inner critic, revive a sense of competency and connection with others, and cultivate the courage to take growth-enhancing risks in your life. You’ll leave with a toolkit that includes:

  • Doable micro-practices involving exercise, sleep, nutrition, learning, play, and social interactions that foster brain health
  • Ways to access positive emotions—gratitude, kindness, joy—to counterbalance the brain’s negativity bias and build resources for resilient coping
  • How to turn regrettable moments into teachable moments that transform mistakes and losses into opportunities for enhancing learning and resilience

Linda Graham, MFT, has a private psychotherapy practice and leads trainings nationwide on the emerging integration of relational psychology, mindfulness, and neuroscience. She’s the author of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being.

Posted in Mind, Body, and Brain, Thursday: 9:30 a.m. - Noon & 1 p.m. - 4 p.m., workshops | Tagged , , ,

117 – A Day of Qigong

Learning to Balance Your Life Energies
PATRICK DOUGHERTY

You’ve no doubt heard about Qigong, but how much do you really know about the benefits of this simple practice? Qigong opens up any blocked energy channels in the body and offers greater engagement and more profound connection with all life. In this workshop, you’ll learn:

  • The simple movements, visualizations, and breathing exercises of Qigong and how to develop your own daily practice
  • How to use Qigong as an antidote to emotional fatigue, burnout, anxiety, depression, and a range of physical ailments
  • How to enhance your capacity for connecting with clients by balancing your own energy, especially when they are out of balance

 Patrick Dougherty, MA, LP, a psychologist in private practice for more than 35 years, has been studying Eastern philosophies and practices for 25 years and integrating them into his clinical work. He’s the author of Qigong in Psychotherapy: You Can Do So Much by Doing So Little and A Whole-Hearted Embrace: Finding Love at the Center of It All.

Posted in Mind, Body, and Brain, Thursday: 9:30 a.m. - Noon & 1 p.m. - 4 p.m., workshops | Tagged , , , ,

206/306 – Rewiring the Brain to Enhance Attachment

How to Make Love More Possible
LINDA GRAHAM

When work with a client bogs down, it’s often because of early attachment wounds that lead to maladaptive coping strategies and impaired emotional regulation. They also derail the full development of the prefrontal cortex, the neural basis of emotional and relational intelligence. Helping clients strengthen their neural functioning and recover an “earned” inner base of resilience is one of the greatest rewards—and challenges—of therapy. Modern neuroscience illuminates which specific tools and techniques clinicians can use to help clients with different attachment styles, including:

  • Somatic-based tools such as power posing, affectionate breathing, and rewiring through movement to recover physiological equilibrium and emotional stability
  • Tools of memory reconsolidation to reduce the impact of trauma memories and enhance clients’ sense of self-worth
  • Practices of mindful self-compassion to shift out of the brain’s ruminative negative judgements and enhance self-acceptance

Continued with workshop 306.

Linda Graham, MFT, has a private psychotherapy practice and leads trainings nationwide on the emerging integration of relational psychology, mindfulness, and neuroscience. She’s the author of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being.

Posted in All Day, Friday Morning: 11 A.M. – 1 P.M, Friday: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., Mind, Body, and Brain, workshops | Tagged , , , ,

315 – The New Era of Brain-Based Psychotherapy (Clinical Showcase*)

Energy Psychology and Brainspotting under the Microscope
DAVID FEINSTEIN, DAVID GRAND & STEPHEN PORGES

Recent years have seen a cascade of innovative psychotherapies claiming to routinely achieve dramatic breakthroughs without relying on many of the fundamental features of traditional talk therapy. Using videos of clinical sessions, this workshop will focus on two of the most influential of these approaches, Emotional Freedom Technique and Brainspotting, exploring how the practical clinical procedures used by each model trigger the neurobiological changes that can result in rapid therapeutic improvement. Moderating the discussion will be noted neuroscientist Stephen Porges, developer of the Polyvagal Theory. Among the topics covered will be:

  • What talk therapists can learn from EFT’s tapping procedure
  • How the methods of Brainspotting can be integrated into talk therapy
  • What concrete clinical advances have been fueled by neuroscience

David Feinstein, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who served on the faculties of the John’s Hopkins University School of Medicine and Antioch College. His books have won eight national awards, including the USA Book News Best Psychology/Mental Health Book of 2007.

David Grand, PhD, is the developer of Brainspotting and has trained more than 8,000 therapists internationally. He’s the author of Brainspotting: The Revolutionary New Therapy for Rapid and Effective Change.

Stephen Porges, PhD is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, where he’s creating a trauma research center within the Kinsey Institute. He’s author of The Polyvagal Theory.

* Clinical Showcases highlight the different ways well-known innovators approach common clinical problems. Master therapists will show video clips of their work and then engage in a probing exploration of their moment-to-moment therapeutic decision-making. The goal is to open up possibilities for dialogue, debate, and fresh perspectives not usually featured within more standard workshop formats.

Posted in Friday Afternoon: 3 P.M. – 5 P.M., Mind, Body, and Brain, Personal and Professional Development, workshops | Tagged , , , ,

328 – Right Brain to Right Brain

Embodying the Therapeutic Connection
DANIEL LEVEN

The idea that the mind and body are inextricably intertwined is widely accepted in our field, but many therapists ignore pivotal information that can be gleaned from nonverbal cues such as body language, vocal tone, and facial expressions. It’s through these cues that the client’s “emotional body” speaks and can expand their capacity to experience connection, attunement, and intimacy. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to deepen your work by:

  • Going beyond talk to access the wisdom of the right brain
  • Helping clients make connections between their emotions and physical sensations as a way of regulating stress
  • Learning a simple expressive arts process that includes mirroring your client’s key movements to deepen the therapeutic bond

Daniel Leven, MPC, RSMT, is founder and director of the Leven Institute for Expressive Movement and a faculty member at the Hartford Family Institute’s professional training program in In-Depth Body Psychotherapy.

Posted in Friday Afternoon: 3 P.M. – 5 P.M., Mind, Body, and Brain, Personal and Professional Development, workshops | Tagged ,

401/501 – Defining Moments in Couples Therapy

Neuroscience in the Consulting Room
SUSAN JOHNSON & JAMES COAN

Understanding the neurobiology of the brain not only explains how change happens, it also translates into more effective psychotherapy. In this dynamic demonstration-workshop, a psychotherapist and a neuroscientist offer a dialogue demonstrating the relevance of neuroscience to the process of repairing couples relationships. Together the presenters will review recorded couples therapy sessions to explore how neurobiological insights can inform and help shape a therapist’s moment-by-moment decision-making. You’ll learn how to:

  • “Read” clients’ facial and body language as outward signs of their brain function and emotional processing—and use this knowledge to select and time interventions more effectively
  • Make your interventions more efficient by tapping into the processes of relational regulation
  • Determine when clients can’t self-soothe or access higher brain functions and intervene accordingly

Continued with workshop 501.

Susan Johnson, EdD, the developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples and Families, is the director of ICEEFT – The International Center for Excellence in EFT. She’s also the author of Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love and Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships.

James Coan, PhD, associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Virginia, is the recipient of the Association for Psychological Science’s Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions. He’s the author of The Handbook of Emotion Elicitation and Assessment.

Posted in All Day, Couples, Kids, and Families, Mind, Body, and Brain, Saturday Morning: 11 A.M. – 1 P.M., Saturday: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., workshops | Tagged , , , ,

403/503 – What the Brain Needs for Transformational Change

Using Memory Reconsolidation in Your Everyday Practice
BRUCE ECKER & SARA BRIDGES

New neuroscientific advances in memory reconsolidation enable us to achieve therapeutic breakthroughs with previously unheard of consistency. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to engage the brain’s process that decommissions implicit memories and the myriad symptoms they drive, such as PTSD, compulsive behaviors, and insecure attachment. You’ll find out how it underlies the effectiveness of a wide range of therapies and is key to achieving transformational change. Videos and live demonstration will show you how to mobilize the brain’s power to unlock and dissolve long-entrenched schemas, ego states,
parts, and emotional conditionings. Whatever your therapeutic approach, you’ll learn:

  • The series of steps that carry out the core process of profound unlearning
  • How to swiftly find key emotional schemas generating symptoms
  • Why a “juxtaposition experience” is essential for transformational change

Continued with workshop 503.

Bruce Ecker, MA, LMFT, is codirector of the Coherence Psychology Institute and coauthor of Unlocking the Emotional Brain and Depth Oriented Brief Therapy.

Sara Bridges, PhD, is codirector of the Coherence Psychology Institute, associate professor at the University of Memphis, and coeditor of the series Studies in Meaning.

Posted in All Day, Mind, Body, and Brain, Personal and Professional Development, Saturday Morning: 11 A.M. – 1 P.M., Saturday: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., workshops | Tagged , , , , ,

404/504 – When Meditation Isn’t Enough

Going Beyond Acceptance to Self-Compassion
RICHARD SCHWARTZ

Mindfulness has become a popular and useful tool in psychotherapy, but therapists too often encourage clients to adopt a passive-observer stance in therapy, as if it’s enough to just observe thoughts and emotions from a place of separation. This workshop will provide a comprehensive overview of how to go beyond detachment into a more engaged and relational form of self-compassion and self-healing. You’ll learn:

  • Strategies used in Internal Family Systems to contact the core Self and integrate the often conflicting parts that live within us
  • The importance of shifting the role of the therapist from the primary attachment figure to a container who opens the way for the client’s Self to emerge
  • Methods for honestly and transparently handling situations in which you get emotionally triggered by your client

Continued with workshop 504.

Richard Schwartz, PhD, is director of the Center for Self Leadership and the originator of the Internal Family Systems Model. He’s also the author of Internal Family Systems Therapy.

Posted in All Day, Anxiety, Depression and Trauma, Mind, Body, and Brain, Saturday Morning: 11 A.M. – 1 P.M., Saturday: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., workshops | Tagged , , , ,

406/506 – Rewiring for Love

Increasing the Capacity for Connection
BRENT ATKINSON

An overwhelming body of research now suggests that clinicians rely too much on insight and understanding—and too little on repetitive practice—in promoting lasting change. In other words, weekly therapy sessions are no match for deeply conditioned and internalized emotional patterns. That’s why we need to help clients engage in daily practices that rewire their patterns of emotional response. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to help clients implement a reconditioning program that includes:

  • Accessing audio recordings and interactive, web-based tools that provide on-demand, personalized step-by-step guidance at the moments when they need it
  • Implementing practice protocols that deliberately restimulate and interrupt old emotional reactions through visualization, relaxation, and mental rehearsal
  • Engaging in “sustained inviting” practices that prime and strengthen the brain’s intimacy circuits, boosting naturally occurring feelings of empathy, playfulness, and desire
  • Using smartphone technology to create a system of reminders, protocols, and check-in procedures that enhance follow-through

Continued with workshop 506.

Brent Atkinson, PhD, is director of post-graduate training at the Couples Research Institute and professor emeritus at Northern Illinois University. He’s the author of Couples Therapy: Advances from Neurobiology and the Science of Intimate Relationships.

Posted in All Day, Couples, Kids, and Families, Mind, Body, and Brain, Personal and Professional Development, Saturday Morning: 11 A.M. – 1 P.M., Saturday: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., workshops | Tagged , , , ,

413/513 – An Introduction to Brainspotting

Processing Trauma without Talking About It
DAVID GRAND

Symptoms of unprocessed trauma—including dissociation, numbing, and chronic anxiety—are notoriously difficult to eliminate through talk therapy. The reason: the overwhelmed brain is unable to process verbal information about the events. But Brainspotting, a brain-based method for clearing trauma blockage without clients having to talk about it, nurtures the capacity for natural self-healing. Through demonstrations and participation, you’ll explore how to:

  • Identify specific eye movements, including wobbles and microsaccades, as well as other facial cues and reflexes that reveal specific “spots” in the brain associated with the activation of trauma
  • Guide traumatized clients to attend to their inner experience as they move through dissociative blocks and maximize a process of self-healing
  • Develop skills that allow you to pay attention to your interactions with clients while also staying attuned to the internal brain changes reflected in their eye movements

Continued with workshop 513.

David Grand, PhD, is the developer of Brainspotting and has trained more than 8,000 therapists internationally. He’s the author of Brainspotting: The Revolutionary New Therapy for Rapid and Effective Change.

Posted in All Day, Mind, Body, and Brain, Personal and Professional Development, Saturday Morning: 11 A.M. – 1 P.M., Saturday: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. – 5 p.m., workshops | Tagged , , , ,

601 – Hardwiring Happiness

From Passing States to Lasting Traits
RICK HANSON

We all need inner strengths such as resilience, confidence, and feeling cared about to bolster us through life—strengths largely derived from our positive experiences of them. Unfortunately, the brain’s evolved negativity bias, which makes it like Velcro for the bad and Teflon for the good, creates a kind of bottleneck that blocks the conversion of positive mental states into positive neural traits. Unless it’s addressed, this bottleneck limits the benefits of our efforts to heal and grow, including through psychotherapy. This workshop will explore lessons from the neuropsychology of emotional learning for:

  • Overcoming the negativity bias
  • Promoting key positive experiences that meet our core needs for safety, satisfaction, and connection
  • Enriching and absorbing these experiences to install them in neural structure

Rick Hanson, PhD, is a neuropsychologist and New York Times bestselling author. A Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, he’s been an invited speaker at Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard, and taught in meditation centers worldwide.

Posted in Mind, Body, and Brain, Sunday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., workshops | Tagged , ,

611 – Addictive Behavior as the Problem

The Hidden Role of Trauma
JANINA FISHER

It’s no secret that many therapists consider the field of addictions treatment to be dangerous foreign territory with its own special language and methods. But increasingly, therapists and substance abuse professionals alike have begun to recognize the connection between addictive behavior and traumatic life experience. In this workshop, we’ll present an approach to addictive behavior that:

  • Focuses on the interactive relationship between the underlying trauma symptoms and the impulse to “use” to regulate unbearable feelings and sensations
  • Provides a meaning-making component that lessens shame and offers inspiration to live a “life beyond trauma”
  • Integrates Sensorimotor Psychotherapy techniques that teach clients how to regulate their nervous systems, decrease anxiety, tolerate sadness and loneliness, and ground themselves both physically and emotionally
  • Engages the client’s right brain through drawing, diagramming, movement and gesture, as well as utilizing traditional cognitive interventions

Janina Fisher, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and instructor at the Trauma Center in Boston, a senior faculty member of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and a former instructor at Harvard Medical School.

Posted in Mind, Body, and Brain, Sunday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., workshops | Tagged , , ,

616 – Integrating Neurofeedback into Psychotherapy

A Therapeutic Technology for the 21st Century
SIEGFRIED OTHMER & SUSAN OTHMER

The most intractable issues therapists encounter are the result of early developmental disruptions that determine the brain’s basic patterns of functioning and are inaccessible to the usual clinical interventions. The recently developed method of infra-low frequency neurofeedback offers a powerful tool for restoring functionality to the brain’s core regulatory framework. This new approach to neurofeedback is effective with a wide range of disorders including problems on the anxiety-depression spectrum, PTSD, the personality disorders, addictions, and eating disorders, among others. In addition to observing a live demonstration of a brief neurofeedback assessment and training session, you’ll also learn about:

  • The different kinds of neurofeedback, including Infra-Low Frequency neurofeedback, and how they change the brain’s regulatory functioning
  • How to match electrode placement and the frequency of the target reward with the client’s individual profile and presenting difficulty
  • How to assess clients’ basic patterns of dysregulation, including brain stability, state regulation, and behavioral disinhibition, as well as their specific deficits

Siegfried Othmer, PhD, is Chief Scientist at the EEG Institute in Los Angeles and author of Restoring the Brain: Neurofeedback as an Integrative Approach to Health and Brian’s Legacy.

Susan Othmer, PhD, is Clinical Director at the EEG Institute in Los Angeles, and former Director of Clinical Research and Development at the EEG Spectrum Institute. She’s board certified in neurofeedback.

Posted in Anxiety, Depression and Trauma, Mind, Body, and Brain, Personal and Professional Development, Sunday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., workshops | Tagged , , , ,

620 – Keeping the Inspiration Alive (Special Symposium Wrap-Up)

Engage Both Sides of Your Brain to Maximize Your Learnings
JODY WAGER & NAOMI NIM

Don’t let the energy and inspiration of the Symposium fade before you have a chance to truly integrate new ideas into your life and work. In this experiential workshop, you’ll use the latest understanding of how the human brain works to maximize the Symposium’s practical benefits through nonverbal movement as well as the use of writing and visual art. Join us to:

  • Use cognitive strategies and mind–body approaches to highlight your most meaningful Symposium learnings
  • Heighten your own motivation as you learn new strategies for achieving personal growth
  • Commit to a concrete vision of how to embrace new personal and professional possibilities in your life once you return home

Jody Wager, MS, BC-DMT, is the director of the expressive therapy department at Dominion Hospital and the president of the American Dance Therapy Association.

Naomi Nim, EdD, BC-DMT, LPC, NCC, is a psychotherapist and board-certified dance/movement therapist.

Posted in Personal and Professional Development, Sunday: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., workshops | Tagged , , , , ,