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Attachment Shock, Brainstem Reactivity and New Approaches to Treating Developmental Trauma
with Sebern F. Fisher, MA
15 November 2023
10am - 12pm
Live Webinar Outline
Over the course of a 30-year longitudinal study, a Harvard psychologist examines attachment patterns to find if any predicted “borderline personality” and suicidality in late adolescence. We will discuss the significance of these findings, including some thoughts of why ‘borderline personality’ is enclosed in quotation marks.
More than a decade ago, a clinical neuroscientist in Canada found that the Default Mode Network (DMN), the brain network that gives rise to a sense of self, develops poorly in those subjected to neglect and abuse in childhood. This research carries profound implications, especially in its connection to the reactivity of the brainstem, a topic that we will explore.
In another corner of the world, a psychiatrist grew despairing of the treatment outcomes in developmental trauma. In response, he investigated the brain’s response to EMDR in a ‘treatment resistant’ colleague and observed a significant flare of the brainstem (we’ll take a look, too, at the concept of ‘treatment resistance’). He became a student of the brainstem and developed a theory and a therapy to address it. We will review this therapy, Deep Brain Reorienting (DBR) and the first clinical outcome study. It is highly effective. During this same period, neurofeedback clinicians have been working to better understand how to quiet fear and calm reactivity. Evidence grew that the brainstem initiated these responses so the central question has become, how do we reach and influence the brainstem with neurofeedback.
By the end of this two-hour webinar, we will have discussed the major components of a new therapeutic approach to ease the suffering of those with histories of developmental trauma and that of those who have tried, with greater or lesser success, to offer treatment.
Participant will be able to:
Sebern F. Fisher
Sebern F. Fisher, MA, is a psychotherapist and neurofeedback practitioner in private practice who specializes in attachment issues. She trains professionals nationally and internationally on neurofeedback, neurofeedback and attachment disorder, and the integration of neurofeedback with psychotherapy. From 1980 to 1997, Sebern was the clinical director of a residential treatment program for severely disturbed adolescents in western Massachusetts. At that time, it was considered to be one of the best such programs in the state and, by in large, the treatment outcomes were abysmal. In efforts to better understand these kids and to enhance treatment outcomes, she introduced attachment theory in the mid-eighties and in 1991, Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Her center became the first in the nation to adopt and implement DBT in a residential milieu. Sebern discovered neurofeedback for her own brain in the spring of 1996. She went into full time private practice in 1997 and began to integrate neurofeedback with psychodynamic psychotherapy. Her book, Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma: Calming the fear-driven Brain is a direct result of this work.
The webinar will consist of: