The Growth-Promoting Role of Mutual Regressions in Deep Psychotherapy Master Class with Dr Allan Schore Video Recordings Available Dr Allan Schore’s ground-breaking work on enactments, mutual regressions, and deep psychotherapy has influenced recent neuropsychoanalytic theory and research, and informed therapeutic work of practitioners around the world. At this new workshop, in which Dr Schore draws on his next two Norton volumes, Right Brain Psychotherapy and The Development of the Unconscious Mind – he elucidates and explains his ongoing work on the mechanisms of psychotherapeutic change that operate at implicit levels of the therapeutic alliance, beneath the exchanges of language, explicit cognitions, and voluntary behaviour. The workshop cites neurobiological research which highlights that the creative therapist’s interpersonal skill in empathically resonating with and regulating the client’s conscious and especially unconscious affective communications is central to facilitating structural changes and promoting growth. Such neuroplastic changes are vital for adaptive progressions of the client’s right brain emotion processing, relational, and stress regulating systems. In line with the current two-person relational trend in psychotherapy, Dr Schore explains that such interpersonal neurobiological mechanisms occur in heightened affective moments of clinical regressions – defined as the process of returning to an earlier stage of development, a place of origin. Although the paradoxical process of regression may reflect a clinical deterioration, it may also represent a creative return to fundamentals and origins that can facilitate a potential reorganization; leading to better integration, healthy individuation, and increases in the adaptive capacities of play and intimacy. Citing from his forthcoming books and using clinical case examples, Dr Schore presents neuropsychoanalytic models that differentiate spontaneous regressions in enactments of attachment trauma from controlled mutually synchronized regressions at different stages of therapy. He argues that the concept of regression, banished by the end of the last century, needs to return to the therapeutic domain.
Safe Trauma Therapy: Accurately Gauge and Modulate Arousal Level – In Clients and Yourself A one day seminar with Babette Rothschild, author of The Body Remembers, Volumes 1 & 2 Video Recordings now Available In her newest book, The Body Remembers, Volume 2, Revolutionizing Trauma Treatment (WW Norton, 2017), Babette Rothschild presents, among other topics, an updated and integrated view of the Autonomic Nervous System that includes a new, innovative tool for more precise observation and modulation of arousal states. At the start of Chapter 2 she writes: Three or so decades ago, one of my clients, Greta, after much preparation, was ready, we agreed, to process memories of a very traumatic childhood incident. This was the first time she had wanted to talk about it and I was interested. Too interested. We both became so engrossed in her account that it was only when she was finished that either of us realized something had gone terribly wrong. Rather than feeling better from the telling, she was extremely anxious and so stiff she could barely move. During the next week she was plagued with panic attacks and called me multiple times for support and stabilization. For her, what should have been an exciting progression in her therapy backfired into regression. In another situation, a new client, Hans, easily answered all of the usual intake and assessment questions and told me he was, “fine.” Nonetheless, when he left my office he became very confused and lost his way several times on his familiar route home. He was so distressed that he cancelled the next appointment we had scheduled and never returned. Could I have prevented these therapeutic disasters? Babette goes on to lament that a more nuanced understanding of the ANS could have spared suffering … … I would have noticed as Greta’s facial expression gradually lost its animation, her respiration quickened, and her skin tone slowly blanched. Those observations would have led me to slowing down or stopping her narrative, putting on the brakes, to reduce arousal and stabilize before she went on. It might even have meant pacing her memory processing in a different way, taking it slower and in smaller pieces. Likewise, with the necessary information and greater understanding, I might have seen that Hans was not “fine,” that his pupils were dilating, I could have enquired about the temperature of his hands and feet, and I may have noticed as his posture became more collapsed. Such experiences and reflections led to the theory and tools that form the basis for this seminar … … [they] peaked my interest in passing on what I learned about making trauma treatment safer through observation and modulation of the ANS…I aim to give trauma therapists a new and improved tool that they can use to gauge and monitor their client’s—and their own –level of autonomic arousal at any given moment in time. By doing so, therapists will always be in the position to know whether their clients are able to safely manage what is happening and if they are able to integrate what is being worked on in therapy. Likewise, the therapist will also know if she, herself, is able to think clearly despite the level of stress in herself and her client. At this practical and unique seminar, which would be particularly relevant for psychotherapists, psychologists, body psychotherapists, counsellors and psychiatrists, Babette Rothschild draws on her longstanding experience to explain both traditional and more recent theories of ANS organization, including those of Stephen Porges. The result is an integrated, cohesive understanding that is more precise and easier to monitor, leading to trauma therapy that is much more safe for both client and therapist.
Working with Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse A one day seminar with Christiane Sanderson Video Recordings Available Current research indicates that only 1 in 8 survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) report their abusive experiences, often years later. For practitioners, providing effective therapy becomes challenging when both survivors and therapists are not able to recognise the linkages between a range of mental and physical health issues and a history of CSA. Such linkages may be manifest in emotional dysregulation, addictions, self-harm and suicidal ideation, anxiety disorders, sexual health and relational difficulties, personality disorders as well as persistent somatic complaints, chronic pain, autoimmune disorders and chronic fatigue syndrome. The danger of not being able to identity the relationship between CSA and presenting symptoms is that CSA remains undetected which can lead to misinterpretation and pervasive mental and physical health problems. It is critical that practitioners in a wide range of mental and physical health settings have a good understanding of the impact and long term effects of CSA and how this manifests in a range of clinical settings so that they are able to respond appropriately. This seminar, which would be especially relevant for psychotherapists, counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists, aims to enhance our comprehension of CSA, its impact and long term effects on survivors, while explaining how, as practitioners, we can work effectively using the principles of safe trauma therapy, psychoeducation and stabilisation to restore control and to allow for the processing of the CSA narrative. Using illustrative case examples, the seminar will present a range of skills that facilitate right brain engagement, while emphasising the importance of the therapeutic relationship to build shame resilience and facilitate post traumatic growth. The seminar will also examine the impact of working with survivors on practitioners and explain how we can minimise vicarious traumatisation and secondary traumatic stress through counsellor self-care. In identifying a range of therapeutic skills and the challenges of working with survivors of CSA, practitioners will feel more equipped when working with survivors and appreciate the transformative effects of post traumatic growth for both client and practitioner. Specifically, we will consider: The nature and dynamics of CSA such as: the grooming process, secrecy and the distortion of reality CSA as Trauma and its neurobiological impact The psychological impact and long term effects of CSA The intergenerational transmission of CSA The role of shame and self-blame The principles of safe trauma therapy, psychoeducation and stabilisation The importance of the therapeutic relationship and right brain based therapeutic skills Challenges and impact of working with CSA on practitioners Post traumatic growth
Affect Confusion, Cumulative Trauma and Attachment Disruptions: Psychotherapy for Borderline Disorders A 2-day training workshop at London on Relational and Integrative Psychotherapy with Dr Richard G. Erskine Video Recordings Available For many psychotherapists, borderline clients present a professional challenge because of their frequent relational conflicts, varying developmental levels of transference, and their polarization of emotions, such as: idealization and hate, elation and despair, anger and dependency. This two-day course will provide diagnostic perspectives on Attachment Disruptions, an understanding of the aetiology of Early Affect-Confusion and the formation of the Borderline Personality, the therapeutic use of treatment contracts, the significance of an attuned therapeutic relationship, and working knowledge of when and how to use behavioural interventions and/or supportive age regression. At this unique and practical training workshop, Dr Richard Erskine draws on an integrative therapeutic and relational approach and specifically draws our attention to clients whose narrative is characterized by affect confusion and attachment disruptions – where the narrative alternates between blaming others and self-criticism, where the client seeks justification for felt rage and harbours explicit confusions about how others treat him/her. In a relationship-oriented psychotherapy, the therapist’s self is focused on assisting the client’s process of developing and integrating full contact and the fulfillment of relational needs. Of particular importance is the process of attunement, not just to thoughts, feelings, behaviors and physical sensations, but also to vitality affects, such that an experience of unbroken feeling-connectedness is created. Through lecture, case-vignettes, videos, therapy demonstrations and clinical discussions, the workshop helps us examine and identify reparative action for potentially unmet relational needs, which can include: Validation and affirmation within a relationship Acceptance by a stable, dependable and protective other person Confirmation of personal experience Self-definition Impacting the other person Specifically, we consider the interpersonal needs which may often have been absent in our client’s significant relationships: for the other to be patient, calm, consistent, dependable and validating; and how the therapist can provide opportunities for the client’s self-definition and agency. We consider the unique, professional challenges that we face in such situations, when the client presents with apparent relational conflicts, varying developmental levels of transference and polarization of emotions. Keeping in mind the therapeutic challenges we face as psychotherapists, psychologists, counsellors and psychiatrists, Richard focuses on the centrality of an involved therapeutic relationship while emphasizing the in-depth methods of a psychotherapy that integrates the client's affect, cognition, physiology and behaviour. Emphasis will be placed on: diagnostic perspectives on Attachment Disruptions an understanding of the aetiology of early Affect-Confusion and the formation of the Borderline Personality the therapeutic use of treatment contracts the significance of an attuned therapeutic relationship, and a working knowledge of when and how to use behavioural interventions and/or supportive regressions Overall, the workshop equips us with practical methods that are effective in psychotherapy, including: methods of transference resolution and countertransference identification, the bifurcation of therapeutically relevant challenges, calibrating for juxtaposition reactions, responding to oscillating relational-needs, and the importance of a sustained phenomenological inquiry and affect attunement
Unconscious Relational Patterns, Cumulative Neglect, and Therapeutic Involvement A one-day training workshop with Dr Richard G. Erskine Video Recordings Available Unconscious systems of psychological organisation and self-regulation are developed by our clients as a consequence of cumulative failures in significant, dependent relationships. Unconscious relational patterns may be ‘perceived’ by the client as physiological tensions, incomprehensible affects, longings and repulsions. In this context, the therapist’s sensitivity to and understanding of unconscious experiential conclusions, and the unique relational nature of therapeutic involvement is essential for an in-depth therapy of archaic relational patterns, current relational disturbances and fixated systems of psychological organisation. At this unique and practical training workshop, Dr Richard Erskine draws on an integrative therapeutic and relational psychotherapy approach that encompasses the primary dimensions of human functioning: cognitive, behavioural, affective and physiological, each within a relational system; that allows us as therapists in helping the client to assimilate and harmonise the contents of his or her ego states, relax the defence mechanisms, relinquish the life script, and reengage the world with full contact. It is the process of making whole: taking disowned, unaware, unresolved aspects of the ego and making them part of the cohesive self. Through lecture, case vignettes and clinical discussions, the workshop emphasises how early attachments are formed through physiological survival reactions, implicit conclusions, explicit decisions, and introjections at various stages in the process of development. Dr. Erskine will elucidate: How early physiological, affective and interpersonal experiences may inhibit the client’s intrapsychic processes, health and relationships The distinctions in our therapeutic approach based on Attachment styles and patterns The developmental impact of cumulative neglect and relational traumas The relationship of Attachment to unconscious processes and the formation of Life Scripts The workshop posits that for effective in-depth therapy, it is essential that therapists understand the significance of internal working models; procedural, sub-symbolic and implicit memory; and the unconscious impact of cumulative neglect. Such an understanding requires taking into account many views of human functioning: psychodynamic, client-centred, behaviourist, family therapy, Gestalt therapy, neo-Reichian, object relations theories, psychoanalytic self-psychology and transactional analysis. Drawing on an integrative theme, Dr Erskine helps us comprehend psychotherapeutic interventions that are: based on research-validated knowledge of normal developmental processes and the theories describing the self-protective defensive processes used when there are interruptions in normal development
Managing Power, Control, Boundary and Attachment Dynamics when working with Survivors of Abuse A one day training workshop with Christiane Sanderson Video Recordings Available When working with survivors of physical, sexual, domestic or spiritual abuse, practitioners need to ensure that abuse dynamics do not inadvertently get replicated in the therapeutic process, while always being mindful of the need to minimise re-traumatisation. As therapists, we are aware that the systematic and repeated misuse of power and control that underpins abuse and complex trauma such as the use of threat, terror, silence, secrecy, shame and distortion of reality dehumanises survivors and renders them voiceless and vulnerable. These dynamics can often get re-enacted during the therapeutic process through client-therapist interactions that assert power and control, appeasement behaviours such as compliance and submission, boundary violations and oscillations between connection and disconnection. This training workshop, which would be especially relevant for psychotherapists, counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists, aims to identify the ways in which these dynamics manifest within the therapeutic space and how these can be managed. The objective is to facilitate a more collaborative, non-hierarchical and relational approach in which survivors can truly heal, rather than being catapulted back into trauma dynamics. To this effect the importance of ‘being with’ rather than ‘doing to’ will be emphasised alongside practical ways by which re-shaming or re-traumatising of survivors is minimised, so as to offer a genuine human relationship in which our clients have the safe opportunity to recover and heal. Specifically, we will consider: The dehumanising impact of power and control on survivors of abuse The role of silence, secrecy, boundary violations and distortion of reality The impact of complex trauma on attachment and relational difficulties, including the trauma bond and how this can manifest in the therapeutic relationship How to manage power and control dynamics in the therapeutic relationship Attachment and the dual liability – where clients are unable to seek comfort from an attachment figure, who might also be the abuser How to work with the fact that survivors of abuse experience relationships as dangerous and terrifying, rather than as sources of comfort How we can create a safe, predictable and consistent therapeutic space to reverse the unpredictability and inconsistency associated with trauma How we can facilitate a more collaborative, non-hierarchical and relationship approach through ‘being with’ rather than ‘doing to’

nscience UK is an independent organisation that seeks to explore the interdisciplinary richness of mental health disciplines. Through a series of seminars, workshops and conferences that are conducted throughout the year, we aim to present the latest advances in theory and research to practitioners; with a view to furthering their continuing professional development.

Disclaimer: Individuals pictured are either conference speakers or models. All images are used for illustrative purposes only.

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Continuing professional development through seminars, workshops and conferences for psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists.