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Working Implicitly in Psychotherapy: What Decades of Neuroscience Study Has Taught Me About Being a Psychotherapist

Presented by Francine Lapides, MA, LMFT - 2 CE Hours

Workshop Description:
Both developmental and neurological research from the past decade have revealed infants as primarily right-brain beings and demonstrated that in the first few years of life the neural circuitry of the right brain expands internally at somewhere near the speed of light. In the safety and stability of loving and attuned resonance, children learn the most important life lessons of how to be present in their bodies, in their first relationships and eventually in the world, in a neutrally integrated and regulated way. Early childhood trauma, especially that sustained relationally, disrupts those growing capacities, and leaves implicit (unconscious and body-based) imprints in the subcortical right brain that create much of the suffering addressed in psychotherapy.

While the overwhelming bias in Western psychotherapy has been taught as a “top-down” primarily left-brain model of conscious and verbal attempts at change, neuroscience is increasingly confirming that we must work in this right brain, unconscious, body-based arena as well. This workshop, using a combination of vignettes, experiential exercises and clinical tools, will look at ways that therapists, regardless of their clinical orientations, can add more implicit and “bottom-up” approaches to the way they work.

Learning Objectives
Upon completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:
1. Describe some of the neurological correlates of trauma and of its healing, and the necessity for affect regulation in healthy functioning.
2. Discuss the effects of trauma, and the implicit (unconscious) beliefs that result, on the capacity to affect regulate and arousal.
3. Explain and utilize affect regulation skills and tools with clients (most of the material taught will relate directly to application).