Neurobiology and its Applications to Psychotherapy

Strongly Disagree Disagree Does Not Apply Agree Strongly Agree I can distinguish and describe at least 2 areas of neurobiology research where it is applicable to psychological therapies I understand and explain the historical development of neurobiology as a science, and describe at least 3 ways such knowledge informs psychological processes I can list 4 neurobiological features of the peripheral nervous system that relate to emotional and relational regulation and dysregulation I can show how these features can be related to a) anxiety, b) PTSD, and c) depression I can list 2 developmental issues that impact on neurobiological functioning I am [...]

Neurobiology and its Applications to Psychotherapy2019-08-14T17:21:40+00:00

Recommendations for psychotherapists studying neurobiology

A difficult subject Neurobiology, even more than biology in general, has become deeply rooted in a multidisciplinary background. As a result, a full insight and evaluation capability of neurobiological research requires a reasonable command of a number of sub-disciplines, including biology itself, chemistry, biochemistry, physics and computer science. Nevertheless, there are possibilities for an educated professional from a different discipline such as psychology to not only make sense of what is involved in neurobiological research findings, but to do this at a level substantially ahead of journalistic popularisation. Character of the module's study material The neurobiology module contains videos / audios [...]

Recommendations for psychotherapists studying neurobiology2019-06-05T19:46:37+00:00

Neuroanatomical vocabulary and concepts1

The nervous system The human nervous system works closely together with the endocrine system to channel, process and integrate information about the environment and about the body as a whole, and to take action or not, on a macroscopic or microscopic, external or internal scale, as a result. All animals (with the exception of sponges) have at least a rudimentary nervous system. The modern view is that all vertebrates (i.e. including fish, amphibians, reptiles and birds) rely on a central nervous system (CNS) that includes the spinal cord, hindbrain, midbrain, forebrain and optical nerve. The brain and spinal cord together are [...]

Neuroanatomical vocabulary and concepts12019-05-30T19:05:30+00:00

Some basics of human biology

Quick navigation The cellular basis of life Evolution Genetics Embryology and the prenatal period Phylogeny and ontogeny Epidemiology Homeostasis The heart and cardiovascular system The immune system The endocrine system and hormones Sexuality and reproduction Nutrition and the digestive system Complex behavior Ageing While the human mind cannot be reduced to physiological properties, psychology is grounded in biology. Psychological understanding and psychotherapeutic practice are thus significantly enriched by a good knowledge of biology. Modern biology, the "science of life", is informed by a number of principles that give a strong unity to the subject: Life has a cellular basis The diversity [...]

Some basics of human biology2019-06-05T19:45:48+00:00

The neurobiological contribution to psychotherapy

Understanding of emotions Emotions are widely held to involve a subjective element, sometimes distinguished as a feeling. However, if emotions are also identified with observable bodily phenomena the question then arises as to how we can be sure that the subjective, emotional state corresponds to, let alone matches, the physiological dimension of that state - whether the emotion is definable as a facial expression, as substances in the blood, or as activity in certain parts of the brain. While there is some controversy over whether emotions originate in the cerebral cortex, in evolutionarily older parts of the brain such as the [...]

The neurobiological contribution to psychotherapy2019-06-05T19:44:44+00:00

Controversies: Genetic and environmental influences

All biologists recognise that under no circumstances can genes and the environment function or exist without each other: all life consists of cells and all cells contain DNA. The DNA molecule itself is inert and cannot be connected with any activity or influence unless it is embedded in a living cell, while a cell cannot live on its own, but needs an environment in which to live. Genetic influences are traditionally contrasted with environmental effects. Biologists define environment in to cover everything that is not inherited from the DNA of the parents. "Environment" here includes the following (Plomin et al., 2013): [...]

Controversies: Genetic and environmental influences2019-06-05T19:43:42+00:00

Controversies: drugs versus talking therapies

Ingesting psychoactive, "mind-altering" or "mood-changing" drugs or substances has been a human option for millennia: there are records of the use of alcohol, opium and marijuana many thousands of years BC. Psychoactive drugs are substances, whether solid, liquid or gas and however introduced into the body, that change the way a person thinks, feels or behaves by changing (something in) the functioning of the brain. For the biological effect of substances it makes no difference whether they are prescription medicines, recreational drugs, legal or illegal, over-the-counter medication, alternative remedies, or not regarded as "drugs" at all, e.g. alcohol, smoking tobacco, coffee, [...]

Controversies: drugs versus talking therapies2019-06-05T19:37:53+00:00

The neurobiological basis of human relationships: a summary of concepts and underlying studies

Attunement When we speak of attunement in psychotherapy, it is possible to recognise and describe significant physical, bodily elements in what is going on in line with the non-dualist ideas about mind and body. Apart from what is perceived to happen psychologically, body systems, organ systems, parts of the body are in tune, are running synchronously and this is directly connected or perhaps even partly identified with the psychological sense of the attunement. Attunement has to a limited extent been studied in biology and medicine, but it has a large component that is seen to belong to psychology. Amongst many other [...]

The neurobiological basis of human relationships: a summary of concepts and underlying studies2019-06-05T19:42:24+00:00

The sources of neuroscientific knowledge

There have always been considerable limitations on ways of acquiring knowledge about the nervous system, and especially about the human nervous system. As a result, a great deal of what is considered to be research relevant to human neurobiology in fact relies on experiments with animals. As the human nervous system in a number of ways has more similarity with the nervous system of animals than other organ systems this has been widely regarded as legitimate. However, it cannot be proven that an animal and a human will respond identically to any particular circumstance or set of events. For a long [...]

The sources of neuroscientific knowledge2019-05-30T19:05:43+00:00