TRAUMA 24: Neurofeedback and Deep Brain Reorienting Conference

2-Day Hybrid Virtual Conference | October 4th & 5th, 2024

Attend Online or In-Person from Johannesburg, South Africa
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Sebern Fisher's Thoughts on Trauma 24

Keynote Speaker at Trauma 24 | Joining In-Person

I am coming to South Africa to talk about developmental trauma, its profound impact on the brain, and about what we can do to help people to recover. I will share compelling research showing that the central issue in early childhood trauma is the rupture of the primary attachment relationship. One attachment pattern predicts ‘borderline personality’ and suicidality in late adolescence. It is likely to surprise you and if the research doesn’t, my take on it may. The baby’s brain is affected. It fails to develop the network that underwrites the sense of Self. Without this network functioning, no reliable, continuous self can develop.

‘Recovery’ is not quite the right word. As already suggested, in all too many cases there is no Self there to recover. The case for neurofeedback begins here. In essence, traumatized brains must learn to build themselves. They will do this in therapy but not with therapy alone. As we know from Schore’s work, it is affect regulation that develops the brain’s capacity for a Self. The therapist helps the trauma survivor to regulate often extreme affective states- but this is hard for both parties. The brain needs more direct and pertinent feedback to learn to quiet the firing of fear circuitry that has overwhelmed the individual since early childhood. It needs to learn new patterns of connectivity to recognize the reality of the Other and the Self. This requires neurofeedback, specifically neurofeedback that quiets high arousal. Essentially, the developmental trauma survivor must work directly with their brain and begin at the beginning to organize a Self and an Other.

In my first keynote, 'The Traumatized Brain', I’ll show you what childhood trauma does. It is profound and when we see it, we understand more deeply why traumatized people act the way they do. It’s not a ‘personality disorder’, it’s a brain disorder. I’ll be taking you through some of the work done by the leading researcher on trauma and dissociation in the world, Ruth Lanius, MD., PhD. It will not be boring. Among other things, I’ll show you the way a traumatized brain changes with neurofeedback.

Dr. Lanius will be live streamed in real time to present her most recent research on trauma treatment. She will be joined by two other researchers from her lab as shown on the schedule. Their neuroscience will deepen your clinical understanding. To enrich the conversation even further, Frank Corrigan, MD will be there to introduce you to the traumatized brainstem -it is the brainstem that incites fear reactivity throughout the body and mind- and his approach to working with it called Deep Brain Reorienting (DBR). The Lanius lab is presently researching DBR and the data are compelling.

In my second talk, 'Walking the Tiger and Letting her Sleep' I will bring all of this together and propose a new multi-faceted approach to trauma treatment that includes both neurofeedback and DBR. When we work with the traumatized brain, not only its owner, we can tame the trauma beast. You will leave this conference knowing that this can be done. Your traumatized patient can learn to walk the tiger.

Registration Now Open!

Join Sebern Fisher, Frank Corrigan, and Ruth Lanius for an exploration of how neurofeedback and Deep Brain Reorienting (DBR) are opening doors to a new era of brain therapies.

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A Message from Helena Bester 

Neurotherapist, Author, Researcher, & Trauma 24 Organizer | Joining In-Person

The Trauma 24 Conference is drawing closer. It has me thinking about the vital importance of spreading the word about the central role of the brain in the chaos that ensues in the wake of histories of neglect, abandonment, and abuse. Thankfully the entire world is waking up to recognizing the devastation caused by childhood trauma.

I had promised a while ago that I would share some thoughts on affect regulation- the absence of the capacity to regulate emotions that is a core disastrous consequence of the central nervous system that never acquired this capacity during the early developing stages of the brain. The infant could not receive regulation from the mother due to her absence or incapacity for whatever reason. The brain networks and regions that are imperative for the development of the capacity to regulate one’s emotions, the capacity to downregulate reactivity for instance, don’t develop properly. In fact, according to Allen Score’s early work – the three books he wrote about the important relationship between the capacity of affect regulation and the organization of the self- he made it clear that the development of sense of self is impaired when the primary attachment relationship does not contain the vulnerable development of the brain of the infant and the young child in a secure and safe relationship. This information is profoundly important with far-reaching effects. Not only does the traumatised brain not develop the capacity to regulate emotion, but it does also not develop the capacity to develop a felt and embodied sense of self. It will also not have the capacity to know its own desires, intentions, emotions and will not be able to predict or interpret behaviour. The owners of these brains are mostly mainly just trying to survive whatever next wave crashes down on them, or they fight their way trough the next anticipated attack, or they cling to whatever they get a hold of or numb out or try to impress others that would take them in and offer shelter from the raging storm.

As you know by now, our planet is inhabited by millions of adults that have survived childhood histories with the absence of an attuned primary caregiver that provided an environment in which their developing brains could thrive. Instead, the fear circuitries in these brains were activated and are ever ready to be triggered and erupt in emotional storms. These millions of adults are parents to millions of children. These children have broken primary attachment relationships, unless the parents undergo a deep and grueling journey toward the resolution of trauma, which unfortunately too often does not reach the destination of resolution. Thus, we have inter-generational trauma which the world now knows about. These wounds and vulnerabilities are passed on from one generation to the next. But this is changing and that is what this TRAUMA24 Conference is about. It is about the two most promising and efficacious brain-based therapies that addresses the problem that arises in the brain, in the brain: Neurofeedback and Deep Brain Reorienting. Proof of the efficacy of these therapies exist and the research that proves that will also be presented at the Conference. The deep brain structures that are profoundly affected by these histories void of secure primary attachment relationships, can not be reached by words alone. Words speak to the cortex, the outside layer of the brain, but that is not where the problem starts. It starts in the brainstem.

The two core components that ought to be addressed in any trauma intervention are affect regulation and attachment. A combination of Attuned Neurofeedback and Deep Brain Reorienting addresses these cardinal aspects and is leading trauma intervention into a new era of promise and hope.

Read More on Helena's Blog →

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