The Master Series brings together experts, originators, innovators, and groundbreakers who change the dialogue around their areas of expertise.
Each quarterly program focuses on one Big Idea to unearth the nuances of theoretical frameworks, explore concepts, and reframe our thinking about the world we all live in and the experiences we have in it.
Trauma percolates through cultures, informs our understanding of the past, and determines in ways large and small the trajectory of our futures individually and collectively. So foundational to the human experience is trauma that we may understand it as the ambient background against which we exist without fully seeing and recognizing its significance. Awareness of the ways trauma permeates our lives and the marks it leaves on our world surfaces the critically important need for effective strategies to treat it.
Research shows that substance abuse, suicide, chronic disease, depression, and both being the victim and perpetrator of violent crime and sexual abuse are all predicted by trauma. Untreated trauma diminishes our ability to establish and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships and these attachment ruptures interfere with our wellbeing and resilience. But trauma can be addressed, and when it is, our ability to form the lasting, meaningful, healthy relationships that are so critical to our sense of security is restored.
We welcome doctors Bessel van der Kolk, Stephen Porges, and Peter Levine as they bring their wealth of knowledge about trauma and trauma treatment to The Master Series. Through their wisdom and guidance, we will explore the ways unresolved trauma reverberates through our lives and how we can restore ourselves and our patients to a sense of safety and mental health.
Bessel van der Kolk, MD is the author of New York Times Best Seller The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Dr. van der Kolk spends his career studying how children and adults adapt to traumatic experiences, and has translated emerging findings from neuroscience and attachment research to develop and study a range of treatments for traumatic stress in children and adults.
In 1984, he set up one of the first clinical/research centers in the US dedicated to study and treatment of traumatic stress in civilian populations, which has trained numerous researchers and clinicians specializing in the study and treatment of traumatic stress, and which has been continually funded to research the impact of traumatic stress and effective treatment interventions.
He did the first studies on the effects of SSRIs on PTSD; was a member of the first neuroimaging team to investigate how trauma changes brain processes, and did the first research linking BPD and deliberate self-injury to trauma and neglect in early childhood. Much of his research has focused on how trauma has a different impact at different stages of development, and that disruptions in care-giving systems have additional deleterious effects that need to be addressed for effective intervention. In order to promote a deeper understanding of the impact of childhood trauma and to foster the development and execution of effective treatment interventions, he initiated the process that led to the establishment of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), a Congressionally mandated initiative that now funds approximately 150 centers specializing in developing effective treatment interventions, and implementing them in a wide array of settings, from juvenile detention centers to tribal agencies, nationwide.
He has focused on studying treatments that stabilize physiology, increase executive functioning and help traumatized individuals to feel fully alert to the present. This has included an NIMH funded study on EMDR and NCCAM funded study of yoga, and, in recent years, the study of neurofeedback to investigate whether attentional and perceptual systems (and the neural tracks responsible for them) can be altered by changing EEG patterns.
His efforts resulted in the establishment of Trauma Center (now the Trauma Research Foundation) that consisted of a well-trained clinical team specializing in the treatment of children and adults with histories of child maltreatment, that applied treatment models that are widely taught and implemented nationwide, a research lab that studied the effects of neurofeedback and MDMA on behavior, mood, and executive functioning, and numerous trainings nationwide to a variety of mental health professional, educators, parent groups, policy makers, and law enforcement personnel.
Peter Levine, PhD holds doctorates in both medical biophysics and psychology. He is the developer of Somatic Experiencing® (SE), a naturalistic body-awareness approach to healing trauma, which he teaches all over the globe. Dr. Levine is also the founder of the Foundation for Human Enrichment and was a stress consultant for NASA during the development of the space shuttle.
An accomplished author, Dr. Levine penned Healing Trauma, Sexual Healing and the bestselling book, Waking the Tiger. He also co-authored with Maggie Kline Trauma Through a Child’s Eyes and Trauma-Proofing Your Kids.
His latest book, In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness, is a testament to his lifelong investigation into the connection between evolutionary biology, neuroscience, animal behavior, and more than 40 years of clinical experience in the healing of trauma.
Dr. Levine was honored in 2010 with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy (USABP) and is a Senior Fellow at Meadows Behavioral Healthcare.
Stephen W. Porges, PhD is Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University where he is the founding director of the Traumatic Stress Research Consortium. In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological state in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders.
Dr. Porges is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He served as president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and the Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences and is a former recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Research Scientist Development Award.
He has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers across several disciplines including anesthesiology, biomedical engineering, critical care medicine, ergonomics, exercise physiology, gerontology, neurology, neuroscience, obstetrics, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, psychometrics, space medicine, and substance abuse.
He is the author of The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation (Norton, 2011), The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe, (Norton, 2017) and co-editor of Clinical Applications of the Polyvagal Theory: The Emergence of Polyvagal-Informed Therapies (Norton, 2018). He is the creator of a music-based intervention, the Safe and Sound Protocol ™ , which currently is used by more than 1400 therapists to improve spontaneous social engagement, to reduce hearing sensitivities, to improve language processing and state regulation.
The function of our brains is to take care of us and to be in sync with the body’s systems. Trauma changes the way the brain processes information and the body engages with the world. Trauma makes people afraid to know what they know and feel what they feel. Traumatized people experience heartbreak and a state of being out of synch with their environment, and continue to be trapped by their history and react to current experience in a myriad of ways as a replay of the past, and shows ways to break the cycles of re-enactment and suffering.
Synthesizing history, psychiatry, neurology, and trauma research, Bessel van der Kolk expands on and deepens our understanding of trauma and how children and adults adapt to traumatic stress. Dr. van der Kolk underscores the importance of safety and connection and shows that when those needs go unmet and children are chronically exposed to victimization and abuse, they often meet the clinical diagnostic criteria for PTSD and other psychiatric conditions. Because of this, Dr. van der Kolk argues for a developmentally appropriate trauma diagnosis for children and adults who experienced childhood abuse.
Somatic Experiencing® (SE™) is a naturalistic and neurobiological approach to healing trauma and other stress-related disorders. SE offers a framework to assess where a person is “stuck” in the fight, flight, or freeze responses and provides clinical tools to resolve these fixated physiological states. It offers practical skills appropriate to various healing and helping professions, including mental health, medicine, physical and occupational therapies, bodywork, addiction treatment, first response, educators, and more.
During this unique program, Peter A Levine, Ph.D., the developer of Somatic Experiencing, will demonstrate how SE addresses trauma through a combination of theoretical explanation and body-oriented experiential exercises. Participants in this program will learn the underpinnings of trauma and explore how nervous system regulation and awareness of bodily sensations can bring clients out of a trauma state and into a more embodied and regulated sense of authentic self.
Professor Stephen Porges will elaborate on how Polyvagal Theory provides a neural foundation for a brain-body medicine that would lead to insights into the treatment of trauma and chronic stress-related mental and physical health challenges.
The theory describes how, via evolution, a connection emerged in the brain between the nerves that control the heart and the face. This face-heart connection provided the structures for the “social engagement system” that link sociality with autonomic regulation and explains the important mediating role of physiological state in facilitating either connectedness and intimacy or defense such as fight/flight, hypervigilance, dissociation, collapse, shutdown, and even syncope.
The theory leads to be better understanding of the relationship between mental and physical illnesses and provides the therapist with a better understanding that calming their client’s autonomic nervous system will foster emergent spontaneous social behavior, more optimally regulated autonomic functions, and reduced hypersensitivities.
There will be 3 lectures of approximately 45 minutes in duration that will be followed by 10-15 minutes of questions and answers.
Learning Objectives Lecture 1:
Learning Objectives Lecture 2:
Learning Objectives Lecture 3:
If participants have special needs, reasonable accommodations will be made for persons who request them, consistent with ADA requirements.
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It is the responsibility of every attendee to abide by the standards set forth in the Code of Ethics for maintaining security and confidentiality of test materials and proprietary information presented as part of this continuing education program. Any materials used as part of this program may not be copied or otherwise distributed, and no proprietary information will be disclosed by attendees to any person not registered for this program.
Conflict of Interest Statement
There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between the CE Sponsor, presenting organization, presenter, program content, research, grants, or other funding that could reasonably be construed as conflicts of interest.
The content of this presentation, when applied according to psychological practice guidelines, within the expertise of the expertise of the practitioner do not pose any risks.