Discovering the Wisdom of Primary Process Emotions

Complex Integration of Multiple Brain Systems [CIMBS™] NeuroPhysioPsychoTherapy™

Expanding Efficacy and Effectiveness in Psychotherapy by Utilizing Psychophysiological Information

Observing and Utilizing Primary and Secondary nonconscious emotional processing to guide the therapeutic process

We have observed and you may also realize that more than 80% of what is happening in psychotherapy is a function of nonconscious emotional activations and processing.  So how do we observe these nonconscious phenomena?  What can we do with these observations and hypotheses?  How do we make sense of what is happening in the session?  What is causing the anomalies that we are observing?  Where does ‘consciousness’ fit into the process?

We are excited to share with you some wonderful new learning in our work that has evolved over the past 9 months about primary and secondary level emotional processing.  We have been experimenting with this understanding both in our teaching and in our therapy with very good results.  This approach simplifies and clarifies the otherwise often inscrutable nonconscious emotions that are so difficult to work with in therapy.  In addition these perspectives will open new windows of understanding, creativity and compassion into your work with patients.

This course will utilize the perspective of psychophysiology to bring to light the nonconscious emotions and nonconscious emotional activations that are dynamically present in the patient’s mind at all times.  Psychophysiology looks at the way emotional and psychological activations produce physiological responses, such as tone and volume of the voice, breathing patterns, eye contact, physical movements, etc.

The course will go into depth about the different levels of emotional processing in the brain: non conscious primary level emotions from subcortical parts of the brain, nonconscious secondary level emotional processing from the basal ganglia, and tertiary level emotional processing from the neocortex [Panksepp].

The perspective of psychophysiology will give the participants new tools and approaches:

1] guide you to detect subtle nonconscious primary emotions such as SEEKING, Connection, Safeness

2] observe how primary Emotions are being processed on secondary level due to unconscious learning often giving rise to simultaneous maladaptive secondary emotional activations such as shame, unworthiness, and ‘not allowed’.

3]  Activate primary emotions to enable you and the patient to override the unconscious constraints

4] psychophysiological shifts reveal new emotions, new possibilities, and are often moments of increased neuroplasticity and emotional memory reconsolidation

5] responding to psychophysiological information helps us regulate Unconscious Anxiety and Shame and to fine tune the Therapeutic Attachment Relationship,

6] how to  discern the psychophysiological responses to interventions rather than be limited to the verbal

7] immediate and precise ways to engage the patient and their body in therapy to provide the most effective and efficient therapy

9] gives us a ‘constant readout’ of the therapeutic process by observing psychophysiological responses

There will be clinical demonstrations of psychophysiological phenomena by reviewing video-recordings of therapy sessions.  All of the attendees will be able to participate in the careful detection of psychophysiological phenomena and assess their relevance and meaning to the clinical process at that moment in the session.  Then we will discuss how to use that information and evidence to propose interventions and facilitate Neuroplasticity.  There will be therapy exercises with the presenters to demonstrate the psychophysiological perspective.  We will have exercises for each of the participants to experience and to practice this therapeutic approach.

Learning Objectives

1] How to utilize a PsychoPhysiologic Perspective in our assessments of the mental functioning of our patient/clients

2] How to observe subtle and not so subtle PsychoPhysiological Shifts that alert us to opportunities for new learning and Neuroplasticity

3] How PsychoPhysiologic Phenomena provide Evidence and give us immediate feedback on the benefit/impact of our therapeutic interventions.

Basic Principles of CIMBS

Therapeutic Process of CIMBS is called: NeuroPhysioPsychoTherapy.  Neuro- refers to our active interventions to maximize neuroplasticity for long term learning and specific interventions to activate multiple neurotransmitters to facilitate the therapeutic process.  Physio- refers to our observations of psychophysiological phenomena to adjust our therapeutic process and redirect our interventions in response to psychophysiological shifts.  Psycho- refers to our careful attention to 6 different psychological Brain Systems and to our therapeutic process that explicitly meets the psychological needs of the patient.

Therapeutic Elements: CIMBS incorporates all of the change elements that are a part of the following evidence based therapies:  CBT [desensitization, cognitive restructuring, behavioral change], mindfulness based CBT, affect activation and cognitive restructuring of EDT [Experiential Dynamic Therapy and STDP] therapies [we were co-investigators in prospective evidence based EDT psychotherapy study],  and we use the interruption and rebalancing of EMDR.  In addition we utilize Empirically supported relationship elements since therapy relationships make substantial and consistent contributions to outcome results.

Therapeutic Outcomes:  Our goal is to enable our patients/clients to become the author of their own lives, capable of making the best of any situation, continuously learning and growing to the full extent of the neuroplasticity of their brains and fulfilling their lives.

Workshop Leaders

Albert Sheldon M.D. is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Washington, Seattle and has conducted research and taught psychotherapy for 20 years. He has trained in many psychotherapeutic modalities including CBT, EMDR, hypnosis, group therapy, systems oriented therapy, psychodynamic, and in short-term dynamic psychotherapy. Dr Sheldon received a three year Bush Medical Fellowship to pursue research in psychotherapy.

Beatriz Winstanley Sheldon M.Ed.Psych. Graduated from McGill University, Montreal where she also completed postgraduate specialization in Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy. She has had her clinical practice in Seattle and Vancouver, BC for 25 years. Ms Winstanley has trained and supervised clinical counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists for the past 10 years.

Dr Sheldon and Ms. Winstanley were both clinical investigators in a recently published multi-centered evidence based research study of Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy. Now they have joined together to pioneer a different therapeutic paradigm.