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Brain Plasticity, Psychotherapy and the Conversational Model

Brain Plasticity, Psychotherapy and the Conversational Model

The emergence and development of The Conversational Model of Psychotherapy over the last 35 or so years arose out of a belief that models of psychotherapy ought to have a scientific basis. The key elements of the conversational model are dependent upon some key assumptions. These are that normal development is dependent upon our early infant and childhood relationships being able to meet our age appropriate needs. In time these relational experiences allow us to generate particularly integrated, reflective states of mind that we can call self and identify as health. Disruptions to that development (trauma) prevent the normal development of our cohesive, integrated and reflective sense of self. As a result we and others experience ourselves/us as living in a variety of fragmented, dissociative states that generate symptom clusters that are identified as pathology.

The conversational model has identified that both normal healthy states of self and disassociated/traumatic states of self each have their own language. The conversational model has pioneered a micro-analytic, affect focused appreciation of language that can be used in two distinct ways. Firstly to identify even the most subtlest linguistic indicators of trauma and secondly to use a non-traumatic language to allow the emergence of self/health. This, and all other therapeutic approaches are made possible by inherent plasticity of the brain. This talk will provide an understanding of how the conversational model of psychotherapy is a biological treatment that uses language to generate new forms of relatedness that lead to integrated states of mind that we call self. Another way of putting it is that we can use language alone, or in combination with other biological treatments, to improve people’s symptoms and or relieve them of their psychiatric diagnoses.

Areas of Interest / Categories: Westmead Meetings 2016

Westmead Meetings 2016

Attachment, the Therapeutic Dyad and the CM Perspective: tracking self-development and (re)integration

Human beings develop in connected relationships, commencing with the touch, gaze, voice and affective tone of the proto-conversation and the sequencing of activities that tend to care, safety, comfort and play, extending to the therapeutic context where psychotherapy is the base for a healing relationship that fosters post-traumatic transformation, often mutual. Connectivity is constructed at every level of the individual and interpersonal systems: neurons fire and wire together, autonomic nervous systems are in conversation and the “soft wiring” and intrapersonal connections slowly unfold.

The Bare Essentials of the Conversational Model

The Bare Essentials of the Conversational Model By Tony Korner Selves in Conversation Humans live in a language environment as much as they live in a physical one. Throughout life we are faced with decisions (or ‘motivated selections’) about whether to associate through language or to dissociate through non-communication. Each person’s life gets shaped by these decisions, many of which occur unconsciously under the influence of traumatic experience. Each self has the form of a story, an incomplete one. Dissociation, relating to trauma, is an important reason for this incompleteness.

Trauma in the Workplace: Safework Australia and the Bullying Epidemic

Language and the self

The sense of self is inextricably connected to language, itself an intrinsically collective phenomenon with a life independent of individuals. If feeling provides an internal value system for self, then language can be thought of as providing an external value system, variably appropriated by individuals. Language consists of a network of differences; of relations within its own network; of shades of meaning. Its living qualities provide a gateway to “forms of life”. Communicative exchanges begin within a largely affective, indexical context: the proto-conversation.

Traumatic Narcissism

To the layperson, narcissism is most often associated with arrogant, conceited, entitled behaviours which are captured by the term narcissistic grandiosity. This is consistent with common expressions of maladaptive behaviour such as self-enhancement and lack of empathy characterised by pathological narcissism. There is an emerging contemporary clinical model of pathological narcissism that combines grandiosity with clinically important regulatory impairment that leads to self, emotional and behavioural dysregulation in response to threats to self or failures of self-enhancement.

No-Self, Self, Not-Self

Two touchpoints in the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder - initial presentation to the emergency department and twelve month follow-up- what is associated with recovery?