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Individual recorded lectures from the 31st Annual Trauma Conference are available for purchase.

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All Program Descriptions

[1] Mapping Out the Transformative Effects of Mind-Altering Substances: MDMA Ketamine and Psilocybin for Treating PTSD and Other Mental Distress (3 Continuing Education Hours)

Recorded lecture with Michael Mithoefer, MD, Rick Doblin, PhD, Gregory Meyer, PhD, Albert Garcia-Romeu, PhD, Philip Wolfson, MD, James W. Hopper, PhD, Anne St Goar, MD, Elizabeth Call, PsyD, Susan Walker, MD, Francis Guerriero, MA, LICSW, Michael Alpert, MD, & Bessel van der Kolk, MD

After an almost four-decade hiatus, the study of mind-altering substances, including MDMA (ecstasy), ketamine, psilocybin (mushrooms) and LSD is starting to resume in full force. Over the past decade, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Research (MAPS) has sponsored groundbreaking studies, including in MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD, and for end-of-life anxiety. Mind altering substances have the potential to profoundly alter perceptions of one’s relationship to past experience, as well as visions of the future, and to promote self-compassion and self-acceptance. Therefore, psychedelic assisted therapy may be particularly effective for dealing with post-traumatic states of being emotionally stuck, frozen, rigid, terrified and ashamed. This workshop will focus in how we can best document and characterize both the short term and long-term alterations in self-perception, sense of belonging, agency, self-compassion and capacity for intimacy, and how we can delineate the differential effects of various substances. We will present a wealth of case histories, as well as cutting edge scientific data about the outcome and process of mind-altering substances on mental, interpersonal and biological dimensions.

  • Discuss the emerging research of MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy (MDMA-AP) and describe effective ways of integrating it into ongoing psychotherapy to improve clinical outcomes for clients with PTSD.
  • Examine and describe the history and contemporary research of Psilocybin and evaluate the effectiveness of Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy (PAP) in facilitating psychotherapy.
  • Describe and communicate the ongoing work with Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) and synthesize methods of integration of psychedelic-assisted therapy in contemporary treatment for mental illness.

[2] Trauma and the Restoration of the Self (3 Continuing Education Hours)

Recorded lecture with Ruth Lanius, MD, PhD, Sherain Harricharan, PhD, Braeden Terpou, PhD, Paul Frewen, PhD, C.Psych, Wendy D'Andrea, PhD, Sebern Fisher, MA, BCN, Margaret McKinnon, PhD, CPsych, Licia Sky, & Bessel van der Kolk, MD

Trauma tends to have a profound impact on one’s sense of self, leaving a lasting imprint on both cognitive and somatic domains of self-experience. Traumatized individuals often remain tortured by thoughts that reflect intensely negative core beliefs about themselves such as: “I don’t know myself anymore”, and “I have permanently changed for the worse”. It also is increasingly evident that ‘the body keeps the score’: traumatized individuals frequently report somatically-based alterations in self experience, including feelings of disembodiment and related identity disturbance. Pioneering neurobiological studies are beginning to shed light on self-disturbance in traumatized individuals both during resting state and under conditions of threat. The brain networks involved in self-experience are most intact while under threat, which may explain various forms of reckless behaviors. We will present findings from the laboratory and demonstrate how we can we work clinically to restore the self as an integrated brain, mind, and body.

  • Explain the neurobiological links that mediate self- and trauma-related processing in traumatized individuals, in particular, as these links pertain to altered functional characteristics of the brain's default mode network (DMN).
  • Communicate how the links between self- and trauma-related processing are manifested clinically (i.e., clinical disturbances to self-related processing), as well as how these links relate to addictive or risk-seeking behaviours in traumatized individuals.
  • Describe how psycho-therapeutic interventions that may assist the re-introduction, or re-establishment of an individual's sense of self having been lost in an aftermath of trauma.

[3] Eliminating Barriers to Access Healing from the Trauma of Identity-Based Social Inequalities Using a Peer Counseling (ReEvaluation Counseling) Model (1 Continuing Education Hours)

Recorded lecture with Barbara J. Love, PhD

This workshop addresses healing from trauma resulting from experiences of genocide, war, slavery, Jim Crow, as well as from trauma resulting from racism, classism, sexism, GLBTQ oppression and other social identity-based social inequalities. The recognition of social identities based on inequality and oppression inevitably leads to the need to develop accessible treatment modalities that address traditional and historical barriers to access healing.

This workshop will explore the theory and practice of ReEvaluation Counseling as an accessible modality that is rooted in a liberation-oppression framework. ReEvaluation Counseling focuses on both the early life experiences of participants, including the quality of early attachment, as well as the multi-generational effects of experience of oppression such as slavery and genocide. Workshop participants will interact with faculty who practice ReEvaluation Counseling, including a survivor of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, as well as an African American descendant of race-based lynching victims of the 1919 Elaine, Arkansas race riot.

  • Describe and discuss trauma resulting from identity based social inequalities.
  • Discuss consequences of barriers that inhibit access to healing trauma from identity based social inequalities.
  • Critique ReEvaluation Counseling as a peer counseling model to overcome barriers in access to healing from identity based social inequalities.

[4] Disrupted Caregiving Relationships vs. Traumatic Stress: Treatment Implications of Their Differential Effects on the Development of Self, Mind and Brain (1 Continuing Education Hours)

Recorded lecture with Ed Tronick, PhD & Bessel van der Kolk, MD

This lecture will summarize decades of work in Dr. Tronick’s lab about the nature of attunement and repair between mothers and infants, and examine the long-term effects of misattunement and lack of resonance on the long-term adaptation of human beings. Dr. Tronick and Dr. van der Kolk will examine the treatment implications, illustrated by a videotaped psychodrama session conducted by Dr. Van der Kolk that specifically addresses the deficits uncovered in Dr. Tronick’s laboratory.

Demonstrate an understanding of the nature of the interactions between mothers and infants, and the responsivity and mood of the mom affects the reactions of the child.

  • Explain how parent child interaction dyad is a system of mutual meaning making and mutual regulation.
  • Discuss how the emotion regulation of the caregiver has a profound effect on the stress response of the child.
  • Compare the impact of specific traumas is both qualitatively and quantitatively to lack of attunement and communication, requiring different treatment interventions.
  • Describe how having deep visceral experiences that directly contradict automatic expectations can change people’s perceptions and reactions to intimacy.

[5] Designing Trauma-Informed Interventions for Youth at the Grassroots Level: A Practical Toolkit for Bringing Research to Practice (1 Continuing Education Hours)

Recorded lecture with Lou Bergholz

There is a growing need for trauma-informed programming for young people in non-clinical settings. Utilizing cutting-edge research and an adaptive approach, providers can implement programs that acknowledge and address the deep impact of trauma, from school to camp to sport. This workshop will equip you with the tools and framework to design an effective, high-quality trauma-informed intervention in your non-clinical setting. The following topics will be explored: transforming clinical approaches to accessible models for participants and staff, embedding emotional regulation in programming, and supporting your staff in program implementation. We will reference several successful trauma-informed programs, including the Newtown Parks and Recreation Department, CARE International in Gaza and Free to Run in Afghanistan. Ranging in programming from long-distance running to summer camping, these programs foster resilience and strength using a trauma-informed lens. They will serve as our guide as we explore the intersection of research and clinical treatment at the grassroots level.

  • Discuss a framework for understanding a healing pathway for young people in non-clinical program settings.
  • Prepare attendees with a framework for designing trauma-informed interventions for youth in grassroots settings.
  • List a set of practices that help program staff to create a powerful growth experience for young people affected by trauma.

[6] Treatment at the Interface of Addiction and Trauma (1 Continuing Education Hours)

Recorded lecture with Taruno Steffensen, LADC, CSAT, SEP

In an attempt to manage the enormous distress associated with adverse childhood experiences and traumatic stress symptoms, there is an enormous risk of developing any type of addiction or substance abuse. Trying to numb intensely emotional experiences in a world that drives and promotes addiction promotes use, which then commonly evolves into abuse and, finally, addiction. Suffering from traumatic stress interferes with recovery. Addiction treatment must address the role of the addictive behavior in “numbing” traumatic arousal/ activation, the origins of both in one’s traumatic past, and the reality that recovering from either requires recovering from both. This hands-on workshop will help participants experience sensory-based approaches, emotional regulation skill building, somatic experiencing exercises and guided meditations as a means of the liberation from addiction and trauma – and offer the hope of recovery.

  • Discuss the history of addiction treatment in America.
  • Describe the role of the autonomic nervous system in addiction and trauma healing.
  • Explain the benefits of guided imagery exercises as supplementary treatment for addiction and trauma.

[7] The Emergence of a Polyvagal-Informed Therapy: Harnessing Neuroception of Safety in Clinical Treatment (1 Continuing Education Hours)

Recorded lecture with Stephen Porges, PhD

Trauma resolution is not about thinking. Healing depends, instead, on the work undertaken at the level of the autonomic nervous system, which shapes our clients’ experiences of safety and influences their capacity for connection. Traumatic events have a far-reaching impact on this system. Autonomic pathways trigger survival responses that often lead our clients on a painful journey into a state of shutdown, collapse, and dissociation. How can we help our clients find their way back to safety, and how do we prevent it from happening in the first place?

  • Characterize and critique the principle features and foundation of the Polyvagal Theory.
  • Describe how the Polyvagal Theory may explain behavioral features related to psychiatric disorders and other behavioral problems.
  • Explore how maladaptive behaviors, which may accompany several psychiatric disorders, may reflect adaptive responses triggered by survival mechanisms.

[8] Smoking Cigarettes, Eating Glass: One Psychologist’s Story (1 Continuing Education Hours)

Recorded lecture with Annita Sawyer, PhD

An experienced Yale-educated psychologist reviews a case with psychiatric symptoms, and discusses the selection of treatment options, and the patient's progress. She illuminates dangers of fads in psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, the enduring effects of early trauma, shame, and secrets, and the power of human connection to heal.

  • Be able to explain to patients the limitations of psychiatric diagnoses.
  • Explain and contrast the differences between emotional connection, intuitive creativity, and respect for each individual as essential aspects of any successful psychotherapy.
  • Identify 2 problems associated with making decisions about individual patients based on diagnostic labels.

[9] Come to Your Senses: Establishing & Regaining Body Awareness

Recorded lecture with Licia Sky & Cathy Malchiodi, PhD, REAT

Since anxiety is experienced as heartbreaking and got wrenching physical sensations, traumatized people need to be helped to safely access their physical sensations and become aware how touch, breathing, and movements leads to alterations that are under their voluntary control. Self-regulation is a much neglected dimension of effective therapy of traumatized individuals, and can be taught by regular practice of simple somatically oriented techniques.

  • Describe two techniques to teach individuals to get in touch with their bodies as pathways to self-regulation.
  • Identify how activation of interoceptive pathways helps individuals gain control over excessive arousal or withdrawal.
  • Examine 3 simple techniques for self-awareness to support self-regulation of physiological arousal or withdrawal.

Information about our faculty can be found here.
Learn more about continuing education here.


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