Embodying the Unspoken Self: Attachment, Trauma, Neurobiology and the Body
Wendy Fischer, LCSW
Judith Marx, PhD
Psychotherapy is known as “the talking cure.” Through words, patients describe memories and inner experiences, allowing empathically attuned therapists to enter that world. But how can this process unfold when patients have no words for, and may not know, their own experiences?
Trauma specialists confront the difficulties of working with material not available to conscious awareness and verbal formulation. P. Ogden, Levine, van der Kolk and others assert that the body holds the story and keeps the score, and that trauma may be revealed not in words but in somatic, unsymbolized sensory fragments and symptoms. Similarly, attachment researchers demonstrate the critical influence of injuries resulting from nuanced early failures of care during the preverbal period that set the stage for later dysfunction.
In four full-day conferences, the Institute on Embodying the Unspoken Self provides the opportunity to learn state of the art science and theory of how the body contains and communicates unformulated material, and effective techniques to access implicit memory, integrate previously inaccessible pieces of the patient’s past, and alleviate the patient’s distress.
The Institute opens with Beatrice Beebe. Through micro-analyses of mother-infant dyads, she explores the nonverbal dyadic system co-created by mother and infant, then extends her findings to adult patient-therapist interactions. From the field of neurobiology, Stephen Porges presents his Polyvagal Theory, explaining how the autonomic nervous system assesses safety and danger, and how that assessment impacts our ability to respond and interact with the environment. In our third conference, Kathy Steele presents her innovative work on trauma and dissociation, exploring the impact of trauma on the integrity of the self and a three-phase approach to working with trauma. To conclude the Institute, Ame Cutler demonstrates the concepts and techniques associated with listening to the body from the inside, using Pat Ogden’s Sensorimotor Psychotherapy approach that pays close attention to attachment issues and integrates cognitive, emotional and somatic experiences into treatment.
This program is intended for mental health professionals at all levels of experience.
We offer a pre-conference as a primer for each of the four conferences in the Institute. The pre-conference sessions are geared toward both those clinicians new to using the body in psychotherapy and those who are interested in deepening their understanding of the topics and their clinical applications, and are intended to provide participants with a more intimate setting in which to explore concepts and discuss their clinical relevance. The pre-conferences will consist of four Friday afternoon sessions from 3:00 to 6:15 p.m. on the days before the conferences. Three CE credits will be awarded per pre-conference session. Registrants may sign up for individual pre-conferences or for the entire series. Priority will be given to ICP+P members and those who are registered for the Institute. The location of the sessions is to be determined.
Small Group Experiences
Part of each conference will be spent in small groups. The intentions of the groups are to deepen participants’ understanding of the material presented, offer exposure to techniques employed when working with the physical manifestations of developmental trauma, and consider how these techniques can be integrated with self-psychological and relational approaches to treatment. Participants enrolled in the entire Institute will stay in the same group throughout the four conferences. Efforts will be made to arrange groups so as to avoid dual relationships between group members.
Participants may choose between two types of groups:
These groups will focus on experience-near activities which heighten our awareness of the language of the body and the experience of the five senses. Using exercises related to the conference topic, participants will attend to their here-and-now experience and will be invited to discuss their reactions. Participants may find these exercises to be powerful, and group leaders will provide preparation for the experiences and opportunities to debrief reactions within the safety of the small groups.
Integrative Discussion Groups
These groups will provide a forum for critical conversation based on the conference topic, deepening participants’ understanding of the material being presented and exploring how these perspectives can be applied in the clinical setting. Some optional exercises and case material may be offered as vehicles for demonstrating concepts and considering their clinical implications.
Sample Conference Schedule
8:00 am Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:30 am Conference Opening and Introductory Remarks
9:00 am First Presentation
10:30 am Break
10:50 am Second Presentation
12:15 pm Lunch Buffet
1:30 pm Small Group Meeting (conferences will have one or two small group sessions).
3:00 pm Break
3:20 pm Third Presentation
5:00 pm Closing Plenary
5:30 pm Conference Ends
The Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center
3800 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC 20057
Parking is available in the Leavey Center Garage attached to the Hotel and Conference Center for a fee of $25 per day or on the streets nearby. Parking on the streets of Georgetown requires a short walk to the conference center.
Housing is available at the conference facility, The Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center, and at other local hotels in the area.
Registration in the Institute on Embodying the Unspoken Self automatically enrolls each participant in all four (4) Saturday conferences. Tuition includes Continental Breakfast, Buffet Lunch and all Breaks for each of the four conference days.
Members of ICP+P – $800.00
Non-members – $1160.00 (which includes the ICP+P membership fee for the 2016-2017 year).
A discount of $100 will be given for registrations received before June 20, 2016. Installment payment plans can be developed on an individual basis by contacting the ICP+P Administrator.
MITs/Full-time Students enrolled in the September 2016 – May 2017 academic year (no early-bird discount) – $400.00
Registration for the four (4) pre-conferences is permitted independent of registration for the Institute, however, space is limited and priority will be given to ICP+P members and those registered for the Institute.
One (1) pre-conference
ICP+P members (and all persons registered for the Institute) $60.00
Non-ICP+P members $90.00
Pre-conference package (all four pre-conferences)
ICP+P members (and all persons registered for the Institute) $210.00
Non-ICP+P members $300.00
A limited number of scholarships are available based on financial need. Contact the ICP+P Administrator for information.
Reasonable disability accommodations may be requested by September 1, 2016, by contacting the ICP+P Administrator.
Continuing Education Credits
The Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy + Psychoanalysis (ICP+P) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. ICP+P maintains responsibility for this program and its content. ICP+P is approved by the Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners to offer Category I continuing education credit. Because ICP+P has approval from the Maryland Board, CE credit hours awarded by ICP+P may also be claimed by social workers licensed in Virginia and the District of Columbia. These continuing education credits meet the ANCC approval standards for nurses and the approved standards for marriage and family therapists. 7 CE credits will be awarded for attending each Saturday conference, at which full attendance is required to receive the designated CE credit. ICP+P is accredited by MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society, to provide continuing medical education for physicians. ICP+P designates this educational activity for a maximum of 28 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s). Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
CE Credit is granted to participants with documented attendance at individual workshops and completed evaluation forms for those sessions. Credit will not be granted to registrants who are more than 15 minutes late or depart more than 15 minutes early from a session.
Due to the fixed costs associated with speakers, facility space, and audio equipment, tuition refunds will not be granted after September 1, 2016.
Institute participants who wish to withdraw from the Institute prior to September 1, 2016 will receive a refund minus a $50.00 administrative fee.
Please contact us to ask to be added to the waiting list for the Friday Pre-Conference in May.
Conflicts of Interest
All Institute presenters and planners have informed us that they do not have a conflict of interest and have disclosed that they have no relevant financial relationship with any commercial interests pertaining to this educational activity. Additionally, the presenters have been instructed to disclose any limitations of data and unlabeled or investigational uses of products during this presentation. This presentation will not contain any references to off-label (non-FDA approved) use of products or devices.