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Enhancing Outcomes in Complex Trauma: The Integration of Psychotherapy with Evidence-Based Neurobiological Methods

Dr Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.

17-18 November 2016
Wesley Conference Centre, Sydney CBD

Seminar outline

Photo van der Kolk PortraitThis 2-day seminar will give clinicians more confidence in working with highly traumatised clients by demonstrating how psychotherapy and cognitive based approaches familiar to most psychotherapists, can be enhanced by integrating neurobiological and somatic based approaches into therapy. It will explore the latest research on the limitations of  using cognitive approaches exclusively in the effective treatment of complex trauma, and the growing evidence of the power of neurobiological and somatic techniques to improve brain functioning, self-regulation and reduce post-traumatic stress symptoms such as intrusions and hyperarousal. Techniques psychotherapists can use in their own therapy will be discussed, such as relaxation, grounding, heart rate variability training, EMDR, sensorimotor psychotherapy and somatic experiencing; as well as specialised approaches such as EEG biofeedback, yoga, dance, movement, physiotherapy, massage and acupuncture. This seminar has been designed to inspire clinicians to feel more confident in utilising mixed approaches to assist highly traumatised clients with complex presentations.

About Dr Bessel van der Kolk, M.D.

The Body Keeps the Score Book Cover PortraitBessel A. Van der Kolk, M.D. has been active as a clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of posttraumatic stress and related phenomena since the 1970s. His work integrates developmental, biological, psychodynamic and interpersonal aspects of the impact of trauma and its treatment. His current research is on how trauma affects memory processes and brain imaging studies of PTSD. Dr van der Kolk is past President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University Medical School, and Medical Director of the Trauma Center at JRI Brookline, Massachusetts. He has taught at universities and hospitals across the United States and around the world. In Dr van der Kolk’s most recent 2014 book, The Body Keeps the Score, he transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring – specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control and trust. He shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including Neurofeedback, mindfulness techniques, play, yoga and other therapies. Based on Dr van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, it offers proven alternatives to drugs and talk therapy – and a way to reclaim lives.