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When Mind Meets Brain: Neuroscience Lessons for Enhancing Clinical Practice
David Alter, PhD, LP, ABPP, ABPH
How do mind, brain and body cooperate in the creation of a healthy "I"? This session examines the key structures of the social brain, which provide the structural foundation for the formation of a sense of self. The discussion will be grounded in evolutionary concepts to gain an appreciation and perspective on how we have come to be who we are. Specific illnesses or injuries will be used to illustrate how mind, body and brain must be integrated into order for a unified sense of self to emerge. The workshop will highlight how, in the absence of this process, various "disintegrative" disorders result. By utilizing hypnotic interventions that will be highlighted and practiced experientially, we can improve the integrative capacity of the mind-body-brain. The result can be a more adaptive and healthier Self or "I". The workshop will introduce attendees to a brain-based perspective for addressing a range of presenting concerns. This social brain-based perspective is highly flexible and allows for a deeper appreciation of the processes that become the target of clinical interventions. The exercises that will be used in the session will give attendees opportunities to enhance their skills at formulating interventions designed to address specific aspects of the brain's social networks. The result can be increased ability to perceive presenting concerns in terms of the brain's social networks, greater specificity of interventions that can be used to target those networks, and practice formulating those interventions linguistically.
Attendees will be challenged to define for themselves an answer to the question of what is primary: mind or brain.
Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to do the following in their practice: • Identify 7 key circuits that give rise to the social brain and a unified sense of "I";
• Describe several conditions that reflect the "dis-integration" of a unified sense of "I";
• Formulate and construct language-based interventions that "speak" to the different circuits of the brain; and
• Contrast the perspectives of self as viewed through the lens of the right and left hemispheres.