For almost three decades this conference has examined the evolving knowledge of how trauma affects psychological and biological developmental processes, and how the damage caused by trauma and neglect can be reversed. This year we will explore new frontiers in this work, frontiers that transcend old paradigms of explaining, fixing troublesome behaviors, or administering drugs.
The study of psychological trauma has been accompanied by an explosion of knowledge about how experience shapes the central nervous system and the formation of the self. Developments in the neurosciences, developmental psychopathology and information processing have contributed to our understanding of how brain function is shaped by experience and that life itself can continually transform perception and biology.
The study of trauma has probably been the single most fertile area in helping to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship among the emotional, cognitive, social and biological forces that shape human development.
Starting with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults and expanding into early attachment and overwhelming experiences in childhood, this endeavor has elucidated how certain experiences can “set” psychological expectations and biological selectivity.
We have learned that most experience is automatically processed on a subcortical level in the brain; i.e., by “unconscious” interpretations that take place outside of awareness. Insight and understanding have only a limited influence on the operation of these subcortical processes. When addressing the problems of traumatized people who, in a myriad of ways, continue to react to current experience as a replay of the past, there is a need for therapeutic methods that do not depend exclusively on drugs and cognition. In this conference we will pay particular attention to physical self-experience, finding one’s voice to speak the truth of experience, and the transformative potential of action, mind altering medications and theater.
Workshops included in this recording:
Attachment, Meaning Making & Self-Regulation - Ed Tronick, Ph.D.
Ecstasy (MDMA) & Psychedelics: Re-Frame Experience and Change Self-Awareness - Michael Mithoefer MD and Richard C. Schwartz, PhD
Panel Discussions and Questions
Playing to Heal: Sports as Tools for Stabilization, Identity Development, Competency and Connection - Lou Bergholz
Explain the nature of the process of normal and abnormal developmental processes that are embedded in the emotional and social exchanges of infants and young children and their caregivers.
List three key findings Dr. Tronick discovered that help understand the neurobiological and social-emotional development of infants/children.
Describe three factors that can influence meaning-making in the developing infant.
Discuss the clinical implications of neglect and/or abuse on meaning-making on their developing self in relation to others.
Identify that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for people who do not respond to traditional therapies for PTSD.
Explain the mechanism of MDMA in the brain.
Uncover the case for sport as a medium for healing and the emerging field of sports- based stabilization.
ED TRONICK, PHD
Ed Tronick, PhD: University Distinguished Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston; Director of Child Development Unit, Children’s Hospital Boston; author, The Neurobehavioral and Social Emotional Development of Infants and Children..
RICHARD SCHWARTZ, PHD
Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., earned his Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy from Purdue University, after which he began a long association with the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and more recently at The Family Institute at Northwestern University, attaining the status of associate professor at both institutions. He is co-author, with Michael Nichols, of Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods, the most widely used family therapy text in the United States.
Dr. Schwartz developed Internal Family Systems in response to clients’ descriptions of experiencing various parts – many extreme – within themselves. He noticed that when these parts felt safe and had their concerns addressed, they were less disruptive and would accede to the wise leadership of what Dr. Schwartz came to call the “Self.” In developing IFS, he recognized that, as in systemic family theory, parts take on characteristic roles that help define the inner world of the clients. The coordinating Self, which embodies qualities of confidence, openness, and compassion, acts as a center around which the various parts constellate. Because IFS locates the source of healing within the client, the therapist is freed to focus on guiding the client’s access to his or her true Self and supporting the client in harnessing its wisdom. This approach makes IFS a non-pathologizing, hopeful framework within which to practice psychotherapy. It provides an alternative understanding of psychic functioning and healing that allows for innovative techniques in relieving clients symptoms and suffering.
In 2000, Richard Schwartz founded The Center for Self Leadership in Oak Park, Illinois. Dr. Schwartz is a featured speaker for many national psychotherapy organizations and a fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and he serves on the editorial boards of four professional journals. He has published four books and over 50 articles about IFS. His books include Internal Family Systems Therapy, Introduction to the Internal Family Systems Model, and The Mosaic Mind (with Regina Goulding), as well as Metaframeworks (with Doug Breunlin and Betty Karrer). Dr. Schwartz lives and practices in Brookline, MA and is on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard School of Medicine.
Speaker Disclosures: Speaker Disclosure Financial: Richard Schwartz is the Founder of The Center for Self Leadership. He receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.
Nonfinancial: Richard Schwartz is a Fellow and member of the American Association for Marital and Family Therapy.
Michael Mithoefer, MD, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina. In 2009 he completed the first FDA approved clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for treatment-resistant PTSD and is conducting a second study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in military veterans, firefighters and police officers with PTSD.
Lou Bergholz, chief knowledge officer at Edgework Consulting, has spent the last 20 years working on creating trauma-sensitive interventions in the US and abroad that apply academic research and clinical practice to populations, often without reliable access to definitive clinical care, including at the Justice Resource Institute, CARE International, and Street Soccer USA in Gaza and Thailand.
Financial: Lou Bergholz receives a consulting fee from Up2Us Sports.
Nonfinancial: Lou Bergholz has no relevant nonfinancial relationship to disclose.