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Expanding the Sympathetic Connection: Using Sympathetic Nervous System Augmentation in Hypnosis and Psychotherapy
Philip Accaria, PhD and Reginald Humphreys, PhD
Recent advances in basic research involving the brain and the sympathetic nervous system have suggested a conceptual framework for understanding the augmentation of sympathetic nervous system activity during hypnosis. The presenting faculty will share groundbreaking work in expanding the application of the autonomic model to the domain of sympathetic nervous system functioning, and will share their experiences in initial testing of suggestions designed to result in sympathetic augmentation.
At the end of this session, individuals will be able to...
- Evidence understanding of the proposed suggestions for sympathetic augmentation, and the
neuroanatomical and metaphorical rationales behind their design;
- Understand the primary applications of suggestions for sympathetic augmentation, and
some of the clinic al phenomena they may encounter using these suggestions; and
- Evidence an understanding of the role of sympathetic nerous system involvement during the
use of indig enous healing pratices.
Presentation 1: The Cultivation of Sympathetic Nervous System Activity in Indigenous Healing Practices
Philip Accaria, PhD
This portion of the scientific program will address a variety of indigenous healing practices that are intended to activate a person's sympathetic nervous system as well as balance an "overactive" bio-energetic system. To this end the presenter will afford the participants a general overview of the indigenous paradigm of "illness" and "healing" which will include a description of the bio-energetic fields that are theorized to comprise the human being. These methodologies utilize the "altered state" of perceiving on the part of the clinician as well as engaging the intuitive facilities of the client. Specific assessment and intervention techniques will be iterated including "hypnotic" practices the client can utilize in his/her daily life such as engaging specific archetypes and practices that are designed to elevate an individual's vibrational (energy) levels. The presenter will also provide descriptions of interventions that are designed to activate the patient's parasympathetic nervous system which is often applied to the category of "anxiety" disorders.
Presentation 2: Neuroanatomical Foundations of Sympathetic Nervous System Activity
Reginald Humphreys, PhD
The Autonomic Model of Consciousness is an overarching theoretical framework for understanding the benefits of hypnosis and other mind-body medicine techniques. The Autonomic model asserts that the benefits of hypnosis and other behavioral medicine techniques are best conceptualized in terms of their effects on the autonomic nervous system. Certain symptoms/syndromes respond positively to hypnotic procedures emphasizing an enhanced parasympathetic tone, while other types of symptoms respond to suggestions for sympathetic nervous system augmentation. In the 14 years since the presenter first offered the modern autonomic model of hypnosis, there has been considerable progress towards verifying the linkage between parasympathetic health and cardiovascular fitness. This has been accomplished largely through the study of heart-rate variability (HRV). More recent advances in basic research involving the brain and the sympathetic nervous system have suggested a conceptual framework for understanding the augmentation of sympathetic nervous system activity during hypnosis. In particular, knowledge regarding the functioning of oscillator neurons residing in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) has led to insights regarding the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. The presenter provides treatment protocols for use with cases requiring either sympathetic or parasympathetic adjustment. Protocols are also given for more complex cases requiring a combination of both sympathetic and parasympathetic suggestions in a specified sequence. The presenter will share groundbreaking work in expanding the application of the autonomic model to the domain of sympathetic nervous system functioning, and will share experiences in initial testing of suggestions designed to result in sympathetic augmentation.