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The Siren's Song of Neuroscience

Neural Reductionism Puts Therapists—and Their Clients—on a Slope of Declining Responsibility

Rick Hanson

By Rick Hanson - It’s perfectly natural to be enthralled by the explosive growth of neuroscience. But people come to therapists because they want something to change: they want to feel or act differently or understand themselves or others better. These changes of mind, of course, require changes of brain. But in many ways, the essence of therapy is developing inner strengths.

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Neuroscience and Psychotherapy

Dan Siegel on the Craft of Rewiring the Brain

Dan Siegel

By Daniel Siegel - The past 40 years have given us a view of the mind that encompasses an emergent, self-organizing, embodied, and relational process that regulates the flow of energy and information. We now know that where attention goes, neural firing flows, and neural connection grows. Helping people develop more neural integration goes beyond reducing symptoms: it helps them thrive.

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Turning Off the Inner Anger Switch

Using Brain Science to Invest Men in Anger Management

Ron Potter-Efron

By Ron Potter-Efron - Over the past 30 years, I've spent nearly 25,000 hours counseling angry men. For many, anger is the only weapon they've ever had against feelings of powerlessness. But what I've found is that these men are fascinated by information about how anger develops in the brain, and how they're capable of literally using their own brains to calm down.

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Putting SPECT Brain-Imaging Under the Microscope

Why is Daniel Amen's Method for Treating Psychiatric Disorders So Controversial?

Mary Sykes Wylie

Psychiatrist Daniel Amen argues that a brain-imaging method called SPECT is an invaluable tool for understanding and treating psychiatric disorders. SPECT has been used in a huge number of research studies on almost every conceivable psychiatric and neurological condition, as well as some nonpsychiatric studies. So what is it about Amen and his mission to get therapists to use brain imaging, and SPECT in particular, as an aid to diagnosis and treatment that makes him such a lightning rod?

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Using Mindfulness to Connect with Therapy Clients

Meditation Exercises Soothe Clients and Build Rapport

Jerome Front

In the spacious room where I'm leading a retreat on relational mindfulness, several dozen therapists sit with their eyes closed, silently attending to their breathing. Many people understand this process as a path toward individual growth and healing, and it is. But the paradox of mindfulness meditation is that in cultivating a more attuned and loving relationship to ourselves, we nurture our capacity for a more resonant connection with others. Mindfulness has a pay-it-forward momentum---for when clinicians are more attuned to their clients, they, in turn, can more readily move forward into greater awareness and kindness toward themselves.

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Dealing with Trauma Anxiety on the Spot

The Mechanics of Fight-or-Flight Responses in Trauma Clients

Babette Rothschild

My approach to trauma work is rooted in an experience I had in college. A friend asked me to teach her to drive---in a new car my father had just given me. Sitting in the passenger seat next to her as she prepared to turn on the ignition, I suddenly panicked. I quickly realized that before I taught her how to make that powerful machine go, I had to make sure that she knew how to put on the brakes. I apply the same principle to therapy, especially trauma therapy.

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Applying the Brakes

In Trauma Treatment, Safety is Essential

Babette Rothschild

My approach to trauma work is rooted in an experience I had in college. A friend asked me to teach her to drive--in a new car my father had just given me. Sitting in the passenger seat next to her as she prepared to turn on the ignition, I suddenly panicked. I quickly realized that before I taught her how to make that powerful machine go, I had to make sure that she knew how to put on the brakes. I apply the same principle to therapy, especially trauma therapy. I never help clients call forth traumatic memories unless I and my clients are confident that the flow of their anxiety, emotion, memories, and body sensations can be contained at will.

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How to Install New Mental States

What Therapists Should Know about Brain Change

Rich Simon

Until recently, the impact of brain science on the everyday work of most therapists has been pretty limited. According to Rick Hanson, that’s because we’ve been missing the big picture of what we’ve been learning about how the brain functions.

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The Triune Brain: Three Brains Attempting to Work as One

How the Evolution of the Human Brain has Led to the Existence of the Triune Brain

Louis Cozolino

When thinking about the general evolution of humans, we primarily compare ourselves to our chimp-like ancestors. But when it comes to the specific evolution of the human brain we must share skull space with the ancient brain equipment that we’ve inherited from our mammalian and reptilian forebears over the past several million years.

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