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Brain-to-Brain: Mastering the Neurobiological Waltz
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Clients raised by neglectful and frightening caregivers may as adults find themselves living with an unconscious somatic legacy of early traumatic attachment, yearning for closeness but unable to tolerate or sustain intimacy. Even their nervous systems rebel against physical proximity to others, or can’t tolerate being without proximity. As a result, their relationships—even with therapists—are tumultuous. The necessary strategy for working with these clients is coregulation, an approach that doesn’t depend on words but rather on a brain-to-brain neurobiological waltz that relies on the therapist’s attunement to implicit emotional and somatic communication. You’ll explore how to:

  • Recognize certain core issues in the therapeutic alliance—such as idealization and devaluing, stuckness, struggles for control, and abandonment fears—as manifestations of traumatic attachment
  • Become skilled at “right brain to right brain” communication, or being able to “talk” without words
  • Engage in a “dyadic dance” with your clients, mirroring their rhythms, body language, tone of voice, facial expressions, and gestures
Janina Fisher, Ph.D

Janina Fisher, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and instructor at the Trauma Center, founded by Bessel van der Kolk, MD. A faculty member of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, an EMDR International Association consultant, past president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation, and former instructor, Harvard Medical School, Dr. Fisher lectures nationally and internationally on the integration of the neurobiological research and new trauma treatment paradigms into traditional psychotherapies. 

Speaker Disclosures: Financial: Janina Fisher is in private practice. She receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. 

Nonfinancial: Janina Fisher has no relevant nonfinancial relationship to disclose.


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