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Confer
Neurobiology and its Applications to Psychotherapy - II

Online module
  • This module includes 10 hours of lectures supported by captions, diagrams or images
  • Supporting notes slides or references
  • This content is available 24/7 for 1 year per subscription
  • A selection of brief papers summarising the theoretical history, aetiology, diagnosis and treatment of trauma and dissociation
  • Bibliography
  • Links to selected papers and books
  • Discussion forum
  • A certificate of attendance may be applied for up to 12 hours CPD (pro rata on the basis of correct answers in multiple choice questionnaire assessing your knowledge of the module): £36
  • A discount of 30% from all W. W. Norton books is offered to subscribers

Module speakers

Lucy Biven, Dr Nessa Carey, Dr Ruth Lanius, Dr Dianne Lefevre, Dr Dan Siegel, Professor Mark Solms, Professor Oliver Turnbull, Dr Alan Watkins.

About

While recognising that the relationship between neuroscience and the talking cure is still in its infancy, significant insights are constantly emerging on how the mind works and how that may be relevant to therapeutic technique. We can now, for example, articulate the core mammalian emotional processes, how they are underpinned by specific neuro-physiological pathways, and see how these scientific insights can lead to therapeutic interventions that are sensitive to that physiology and thus more effective in supporting the patient's capacity for self-regulation. We can elucidate the role of relationships in the development of the nervous system, and explain the aetiology of affect dysregulation in terms of neurobiological deficits. We have a much stronger grasp of the role of emotion in the overall regulation of the body and the risk of adverse experiences to health. The role of transgenerational trauma in impacting on gene expression provides a fascinating sign post to the complexity of the mind-body interface via epigenetics.

This self-contained module provides access to some of Confer's best-attended live events and new recordings to deepen our understanding of the relevance of interpersonal neurophysiology to the development of psychotherapeutic insight and technique.


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Resources in this online module


Lucy Biven
Video Treating Anxiety: a neuroscientific perspective

This talk offers an understanding of anxiety disorders that rests on research into the emotional systems that we share with all other mammals. Beginning with a brief discussion of Panksepp's emotional taxonomy, with special emphasis on the GRIEF, FEAR & SEEKING SYSTEMS, Lucy Biven will explain how one type of anxiety is generated by issues in the FEAR system, while another separate pattern of anxiety is generated by GRIEF. The emotional, behavioural and biochemical aspects of each will be explained. The merits of both psychotherapeutic and psychotropic interventions will be discussed, including the interesting evidence that anxiety rooted in the FEAR system responds to tricyclite antidepressants, while GRIEF-based anxiety is addressed by benzodiazepines.

Video lecture with captions - 25 mins
The speaker Lucy Biven trained at the Anna Freud Centre in London, and has served as Head of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy at the Leicestershire National Health Service in England. She is currently a reader for the Journal of Neuropsychoanalysis. More >>



Dr Nessa Carey
Videos What is Epigenetics?

Epigenetics refers to any phenomenon which cannot be explained just by referring to the DNA sequence of an organism. Whenever two things have identical DNA, but are different to each other, that is an example of epigenetics in action. This can be seen around us all the time. Think of the limbless maggot and the mature fly it turns into, or identical twins where one develops schizophrenia and the other is completely healthy. In this presentation we will cover examples of epigenetics in action. But we will go further and look at how epigenetic phenomena are controlled. This is carried out by a series of potentially reversible modifications to DNA. They don't alter what a gene codes for, but they change the expression levels of a gene. These epigenetic modifications can control gene expression for decades, and they provide the crucial mechanistic bridge between nature and nurture.

Video lecture with captions and slides - 43 mins



Epigenetics and Life-Long Events

Epigenetic modifications to genes can be transient, altering gene expression for a short period of time. But some changes are very stable and may last for the entire lifetime of an individual. In this session we will examine some of the evidence that addresses how epigenetics can create and maintain long-term patterns of gene expression, and the potential effects this has. Topics will include the adult consequences of early abuse or neglect, the changes in gene expression that are induced by drugs of addiction and the delayed clinical responses to antidepressants. The potentially reversible nature of epigenetic modifications to genes means that there is the scope for altering these responses, but will this increased mechanistic understanding change practice?

Video lecture with captions and slides - 44 mins
The speaker Nessa Carey has a science PhD from the University of Edinburgh and is a Visiting Professor at Imperial College London. Between 2001 and 2014 she worked in the UK biotech and pharmaceutical sectors, where much of her time was spent in translating the latest findings in epigenetics into opportunities to create new therapies to improve human health. More >>



Dr Ruth Lanius
Videos The neurobiological underpinnings of social cognition in chronically traumatized individuals, with implications for specific, integrated treatment approaches

Childhood maltreatment has been associated with profound deficits in the sense of self frequently leading the traumatized individual to become isolated and estranged in the secrecy of their trauma. Both intimate and non-intimate relationships frequently either become a way of re-enacting the past or appear unreachable. How do mind, brain, and body prevent traumatized individuals from engaging in social interactions, and how does this affect the therapeutic process? This lecture will describe the neurobiological underpinnings of social cognition, including theory of mind and eye gaze in chronically traumatized individuals and relate these findings to clinical case examples. An integrated approach to treatment of brain, mind, and body, including interventions geared to prevent the intergenerational transmission of trauma will be described.

Video with captions and slides - 55 mins



Neuroscientifically-based effective therapeutic interventions for patients displaying altered states of consciousness following trauma

Four dimensions of consciousness, including time, thought, body, and emotion often become drastically altered as a result of traumatic experience. Even though such alterations in consciousness can be adaptive during the encounter of traumatic events, they can frequently lead to tremendous hardship in the aftermath of the trauma. How do we recognize such alterations in consciousness? Is there a dissociative versus a non-dissociative presentation of each dimension of consciousness? What predicts the occurrence of altered states of consciousness? How can we intervene effectively to overcome such altered states and how are those changes represented in mind, brain, and body? This lecture will describe a four dimensional model (4-D Model) outlining a dissociative and a non-dissociative dimension of each of these four dimensions of consciousness. Furthermore, the neurobiological underpinnings and a detailed approach to treatment of each dimension of consciousness will be described.

Video with captions and slides - 57 mins
The speaker Ruth Lanius MD PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, is the director of the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) research unit at the University of Western Ontario. She established the Traumatic Stress Service and the Traumatic Stress Service Workplace Program, services that specialize in the treatment and research of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and related comorbid disorders. More >>



Dr Dianne Lefevre
Video The impact of inflammatory disorders and the risks for health: an introduction for psychotherapists and psychologists.

Freud said that the ego is first and foremost a body ego. If there can be an equivalent of the Grand Unifying theory for a body, it could be inflammation. Inflammatory processes underlie both physical and mental illnesses and therefore should be a major consideration if we wish to heal, to prevent illness pain and suffering. The interactions between physical and mental states are reflected in the increased morbidity and mortality in chronic psychoses, PTSD, and attachment problems. How do these systems interact?

Video with captions, slides and transcript - 43 mins
The speaker Dr Dianne Campbell Lefevre, MB ChB FRCP FRCPsych, worked for 40 years with patients with mental illness including intensive work with people with psychoses. She worked initially as a physician and later as a Consultant Psychiatrist and a Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy. More >>



Dr Dan Siegel
Audios Neuroplasticity and Therapy: the function of relationship in neural integration - Part I

The development of the brain within the body only occurs within the context of supportive relationships across the lifespan. Knowing how relationships support or inhibit the differentiation of the two sides of the brain, the lower and higher neural regions, and the various circuits involved in implicit, explicit, and narrative memory, is the building block of effective therapeutic intervention. With a framework of integration as the core mechanism of health, treatment strategies can be formulated to promote the growth of integrative fibres in the brain that will be those most likely to support movement toward health. First defining the mind as an embodied and relational emergent self-organizing process that regulates the flow of energy and information, we will explore how neuroplasticity, by cultivating differentiation and linkage of neural circuits, becomes the mainstay for therapeutic treatment planning.

Audio lecture with captions and slides - 47 mins



Neuroplasticity and Therapy: the function of relationship in neural integration - Part II

Audio lecture with captions and slides - 1 hr 5 mins
The speaker Dan Siegel is currently a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine where he is also on the faculty of the Center for Culture, Brain, and Development and the Co-Director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. An award-winning educator, he is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and recipient of several other honorary fellowships. More >>



Professor Mark Solms
Videos Neuroplasticity: Implications for New Clinical Techniques

Recent research into the brain mechanisms of emotion has identified the primitive 'natural kinds' of mammalian emotion. This research reveals some surprising findings about the emotional circuitry of the human brain, which radically change our classifications of the basic emotions, and which have substantial implications for our understanding of psychopathology. This talk will summarise the relevant findings and will discuss the clinical implications, in relation to, for example, addiction, mood disorders, anxiety disorders and thought disorders, and more generally for theories of human sexuality and aggression.

Video with captions and slides - 1 hr 13 mins



Brain mechanisms of emotional consciousness: implications for clinical technique

Most forms of psychoanalytical psychotherapy conceptualise therapeutic change as a process whereby the unconscious parts of the mind are rendered conscious. Classically this involves a clinical technique which endeavours to attach words to preverbal and nonverbal mental processes. This is the essence of the 'talking cure'. In this presentation, new findings regarding the brain mechanisms of consciousness will be reported which require us to turn the classical conceptualisation of talking therapy on its head. The parts of the brain that generate 'instinctual' ways of thinking and behaving are the same parts of the brain that generate all consciousness. The parts of the brain that are associated with verbal cognition, by contrast, are intrinsically unconscious and are only capable of generating conscious thinking to the extent that they are activated by the more primitive, instinctual-emotional parts of the brain. Some implications of these findings for psychotherapeutic technique will be discussed.

Video with captions and slides - 51 mins
The speaker Mark Solms was educated at Pretoria Boys’ High School and the University of the Witwatersrand. He undertook postdoctoral studies at St Bartholomew’s, the Royal London School of Medicine and the Institute of Psychoanalysis, London. More >>



Professor Oliver Turnbull
Audio The neuroscience of emotion, intuition and decision-making

The relationship between psychotherapy and neuroscience - long rather static while the two fields appeared to have different interests and methods - is rapidly changing. This change has been primarily because topics that have long been of interest to the psychotherapeutic community, most especially emotion, have now become viable matters for mainstream neuroscientific investigation. While emotion has often been regarded as a negative force for human decision-making, there are times when emotion is essential in order for human beings to make sensible choices. The basis for the phenomenon appears to be the hunches that we often generate about complex problems, typically described as intuition - a source of knowledge has a vital role to play in creativity and imagination. These talks will review scientific investigations on these borderlands between psychoanalysis and neuroscience, particularly in the domains of emotion, intuition, and the role of both in delusional beliefs.

Video with captions and slides - 1 hr 20 mins
The speaker Professor Oliver Turnbull is a neuropsychologist in the School of Psychology at Bangor University, and is currently Head of the University's College of Health and Behavioural Sciences. His scientific research has focused on the neuroscience of emotion, and its consequences for cognition - including work on emotion-based learning (intuition) and decision making, as well as investigations of the emotional consequences of delusional beliefs such confabulation and anosognosia in neurological and psychiatric patients. More >>



Dr Alan Watkins
Video The Psychophysiology of Affect Dysregulation

Having understood the sophistication, boundary-less complexity of human health and the pathogenesis of dis-ease, whether that be chronic inflammation of something more, it will be proposed that there are a number of integrated regulatory pathways that link cognitive, psycho-emotional and physiological processes. These are introduced, with particular reference to the role of the autonomic nervous system and neuroendocrine pathways in regulating health or bringing on disease. Suggestions on how mental health practitioners can understand and support their clients' in having healthy psychophysiology are offered.

Video with captions and slides - 37 mins
The speaker Alan Watkins is recognised as an international expert on leadership and human performance. He has a broad mix of commercial, academic, scientific and technological abilities. Drawing on his background as a physician and neuroscientist he has an ability to integrate different lines of development and scientific advances from many fields. More >>






Module fact sheets

The following brief papers provide a summary of the main issues in the field of Neurobiology and its Applications to Psychotherapy
  • Scientific method and neurobiology
  • Some Historical Origins of Neurobiology
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Controversy: the mind-body divide
  • The sources of neuroscientific knowledge
  • The neurobiological basis of human relationships
  • Controversies: drugs versus talking therapies
  • Controversies: Genetic and environmental influences
  • The neurobiological contribution to psychotherapy
  • Some basics of human biology
  • Neuroanatomical vocabulary and concepts
  • Study tips
Fees

  • Self-funded: £160
  • Self-funded (for current subscriber to Neurobiology and its Applications to Psychotherapy): £150
  • Organisationally-funded: £200
  • Institutional account (4 or more): £80 per user
  • Teaching licence (10 or more): £50 per student
  • Test and Certificate of Attendance: £36
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