Neuroplasticity

The neuroscience of psychotherapy : The Healthy Aging Brain

This eight parts seminar explores psychotherapy and the social brain with a special emphasis on the causes and consequences of trauma. As a foundation, the evolution, development, and neuroanatomy of the brain with the goal of highlighting its vulnerability to dysregulation and dissociation are discussed. In it we recognise and better understand the neural networks responsible for stress and trauma and the challenge of keeping the government of systems which comprise our brains integrated and functioning smoothly. Then how psychotherapy, in its multiple forms, attempts to reshape the brain in the service of mental health is discussed. And finally,the process of healthy aging, especially for therapists who are confronted with trauma on a day-to-day basis is explored.

Neurodharma: Exploring Buddhist Themes in the Brain

 The Buddha taught that everything arises and passes away due to causes and conditions. The brain is the final common pathway of all the causes and conditions that shape human suffering –

The psychosocial genomics of sleep, dreaming, memory formation and consolidation: Making meaning from potent experience

The processing of our daily potent, enriched and stimulating experiences during sleep and dreaming has been well investigated in recent years at the conscious and neuronal level. Now it is being examined

Psychosocial genomics and interpersonal neurobiology the meeting of mind and body

Neuroplasticity is one of the most exciting breakthroughs in neuroscience. We have developed a deeper understanding and appreciation of the psychotherapeutic process. More recently, a new concept has emerged 'gene plasticity'. Genetics and epigenetics enable an even deeper understanding of how the mind, body and brain interact. Most importantly, this interaction is directly related to experience.

Self Directed Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity ranks as one of the most exciting findings to emerge from the “Decade of the Brain” as it opened doors to a number of emerging interventions for altering brain functions.

Neurofeedback: Re-shaping the brain by applied brain plasticity

The brain is an information processing machine adjusting itself to the environment. Information processing can be defined as reducing uncertainty. It has been suggested that the brain developed from an evolutionary point of view once living creatures started moving around in a changing and thus uncertain environment. 

Brain Talk: Integrated therapy that includes a discussion about the brain with the client Part 8 of 8

This seminar will include suggestions on how to communicate to clients about the brain. Therapists can engage clients by discussing the concept of neuroplasticity, and present them with evidence-based techniques with which they can “rewire” their brains. Specifically, therapists can focus on how anxiety and/or depression are processed by the brain and what the client needs to do to become less anxious and/or depressed. Clients are more responsive when they hear less theoretical jargon and more concrete brain-based explanations about their problems. Since people who are suffering from anxiety and/or depression are so overwhelmed by their symptoms, they find it hard to remember what to do that would make them feel better. Therefore, when discussing each disorder it can be useful to describe a mnemonic that can be used with clients so that they can remember the important behaviours that need to be made to deal with their anxiety or depressive symptoms. The brain serves as the common denominator for all approaches and can be used to explain particular approaches to clients.

Brain Talk: Integrated therapy that includes a discussion about the brain with the client Part 1 of 8

This seminar will include suggestions on how to communicate to clients about the brain. Therapists can engage clients by discussing the concept of neuroplasticity, and present them with evidence-based techniques with which they can “rewire” their brains. Specifically, therapists can focus on how anxiety and/or depression are processed by the brain and what the client needs to do to become less anxious and/or depressed. Clients are more responsive when they hear less theoretical jargon and more concrete brain-based explanations about their problems. Since people who are suffering from anxiety and/or depression are so overwhelmed by their symptoms, they find it hard to remember what to do that would make them feel better. Therefore, when discussing each disorder it can be useful to describe a mnemonic that can be used with clients so that they can remember the important behaviours that need to be made to deal with their anxiety or depressive symptoms. The brain serves as the common denominator for all approaches and can be used to explain particular approaches to clients. 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Psychotherapy with the Somatizing Patient

Somatization Disorder – a polysymptomatic syndrome - is a chronic preoccupation with somatic complaints, for which medical care is repeatedly sought, and clinical dilemmas often presented, resulting in disproportionate health care utilization. Affect is isolated or split off and attention is focused on the body, resulting in more awareness of the physical than of psychological aspects of the individual. As an Axis 1 disorder it may be accompanied by Borderline or Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorders or traits.

Why we should aim to cure anxiety disorders, not manage them.

Anxiety disorders', as a category, constitute the most prevalent mental health problem in many modern societies. Efforts to understand the phenomenon of troubling anxiety have been made by many branches of psychology and psychotherapy, from classical psychoanalysis to behaviourism to neuropsychology. Today, in Australia and elsewhere, many individuals are engaged in some form of psychotherapy for assistance with a diagnosed anxiety disorder, and cognitive behaviour therapy remains the dominant endorsed approach to helping these individuals. Many more are utilisjng Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors in an effort to manage the problem. It remains the case that many medical and mental health professionals elect to work with anxiety sufferers to minimise and manage their anxiety, rather than seeking to 'cure' or remove the problem altogether.   

Why we should aim to cure anxiety disorders, not manage them.

Anxiety disorders', as a category, constitute the most prevalent mental health problem in many modern societies. Efforts to understand the phenomenon of troubling anxiety have been made by many branches of psychology and psychotherapy, from classical psychoanalysis to behaviourism to neuropsychology. Today, in Australia and elsewhere, many individuals are engaged in some form of psychotherapy for assistance with a diagnosed anxiety disorder, and cognitive behaviour therapy remains the dominant endorsed approach to helping these individuals. Many more are utilisjng Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors in an effort to manage the problem. It remains the case that many medical and mental health professionals elect to work with anxiety sufferers to minimise and manage their anxiety, rather than seeking to 'cure' or remove the problem altogether.   

Parenthood

Young Trans or Gender Diverse People; The needs of gender variant children and their parents

Gender variant individuals have often lived traumatic lives due to the attitudes and limited understanding of the people in their environment. Gender variant children have been institutionalised, subjected to aversion therapies and pressured to maintain secrecy and conform to society’s gendered expectations while dealing with bullying and harassment at school. Simultaneously their parents face societal bias and assumptions that allow their children to be marginalized. Understanding the needs of gender variant children and their parents is a necessary step towards the provision of suitable training and interventions for the support of gender variant children into adulthood.

Real Kids in an Unreal world – Building Resilience in Today’s Children

Children need many essential experiences to build the competencies that will help them manage life the good, the bad and the ugly. This common sense, practical model will reassure those who work with

When parents rupture their children's loving bond with the other parent: identifying, and working against the parental alienation process and alienating behaviours

How do practitioners respond to parents and/or their children who present in the context of a high conflict separation and divorce where the relationship between the children and one of the parents is threatened or has been ruptured? The relationship between children and one of their parents may end for a number of reasons, including their own attachment choices, conflict mitigation strategies and abuse. However, in the absence of such factors and in the face of certain questionable actions by parents practitioners are left with the possibility that the deliberate or at least the inadvertent actions and behaviours of one parent damages or destroys the necessary loving relationship between their children and the other parent. 

When parents rupture their children's loving bond with the other parent: identifying, and working against the parental alienation process and alienating behaviours

How do practitioners respond to parents and/or their children who present in the context of a high conflict separation and divorce where the relationship between the children and one of the parents is threatened or has been ruptured? The relationship between children and one of their parents may end for a number of reasons, including their own attachment choices, conflict mitigation strategies and abuse. However, in the absence of such factors and in the face of certain questionable actions by parents practitioners are left with the possibility that the deliberate or at least the inadvertent actions and behaviours of one parent damages or destroys the necessary loving relationship between their children and the other parent. 

Considering Complex Trauma with Families; The role of family therapy

When a parent has complex trauma they can experience their children as demanding and intrusive, or difficult and rejecting. The very tasks of parenting can be overwhelming and this can have a profound

The dance of lullabies: integrating music therapy, sensori-motor and play activities in working with refugee and asylum seeker infants and their parents

In this presentation Rosemary Signorelli will use case vignettes to illustrate work with infants and their parents and caregivers. This work is influenced by the Attachment, Self-Regulation and Competence

Assisting cultural transition using the Families In Cultural Transition (FICT) program.

In this presentation Mohamed explores how a STARTTS designed group-based program called Families in Cultural Transition (FICT) assists refugee individuals, families and communities deal with the impact

Assisting cultural transition using the Families In Cultural Transition (FICT) program.

In this presentation Mohamed explores how a STARTTS designed group-based program called Families in Cultural Transition (FICT) assists refugee individuals, families and communities deal with the impact

Positive Parenting for Healthy Living: A randomised controlled trial of a brief group program for parents of children with asthma or eczema.

Every day thousands of Australian children suffer the effects of asthma and eczema, and families struggle with illness management and children’s behavioural and emotional adjustment. Positive Parenting for Healthy Living is an adaptation of the successful Triple P - Positive Parenting Program, offering practical ideas and support for parents of children suffering asthma or eczema. This innovative group program is designed to help parents manage their child’s illness, assist children in coping with their illness and emotions, and prevent and manage difficult child behaviour.

'Parents, Tweens and Sex' iPad app: the leader for enabling Sexual Intelligence

Research indicates that children are entering into precocious puberty earlier and such physical changes at a young age places a responsibility on psychologists, educators, and parents, to equip tweens (10 – 13 year olds) with the sexual intelligence needed to be mindful, comfortable, respectful and responsive when they eventually have sexual relationships. Having discussions about confronting sexual issues doesn’t give tweens permission to engage in indiscriminate sex, but rather provides a framework to reflect on consequences of words and actions to help tweens choose to behave responsibly. 

Personality

Dissociation, the Double Life and The Strange Case (of Jekyll and Hyde).

Chaos Theory and the Conversational Model: An Outline

Resolving addictive behavior using ego state therapy

An addictive personality is the psyche of the person who has not yet resolved past trauma, and who has found a means to escape from that trauma by being able to zone out in some way, or in the case

Research in the Conversational Model : A clinician's view.

The Conversational Model developed from the efforts of Russell Meares and the late Robert Hobson to provide an effective psychotherapy for patients who did not respond or reacted adversely to the current

Outcome Evaluation of a Brief Group Intervention for Avoidant Personality Disorder.

This paper reports on the effectiveness of a brief cognitive-behavioural group therapy intervention for over 50 clients who met DSM -IV criteria for Avoidant Personality Disorder. All clients had initially been offered at least three individual therapy sessions prior to joining a “Taking a Step Forward Group” which typically varied between six and ten therapy sessions.

The role of personality dimensions, trait affect and psychopathology on male sexual dysfunction.

Clinicians and researchers have been interested on the role played by psychological variables on sexual functioning. The aim of this study was to investigate the importance of Personality dimensions, trait affect and psychopathology on men's sexual functioning. 18 men diagnosed with sexual dysfunction from Portuguese Sexology Clinics and 205 individuals from the community participated in this study. Participants answered the Sexual Dysfunction Interview (SDI – male version; Sbrocco, Weisberg, & Barlow, 1992), International Index Erectile Function (IIEF; Rosen, Riley, Wagner, Osterloh, Kirkpatrick, & Mishra,1997), Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI; Derogatis & Spencer, 1982), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI; Beck, Ward, Mendelson, Mock, & Erbaugh, (1961), NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI; Costa & McCrae, 1992) and PANAS-X (Watson & Clark, 1994).


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