For almost three decades this conference has examined the evolving knowledge of how trauma affects psychological and biological developmental processes, and how the damage caused by trauma and neglect can be reversed. This year we will explore new frontiers in this work, frontiers that transcend old paradigms of explaining, fixing troublesome behaviors, or administering drugs.
The study of psychological trauma has been accompanied by an explosion of knowledge about how experience shapes the central nervous system and the formation of the self. Developments in the neurosciences, developmental psychopathology and information processing have contributed to our understanding of how brain function is shaped by experience and that life itself can continually transform perception and biology.
The study of trauma has probably been the single most fertile area in helping to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship among the emotional, cognitive, social and biological forces that shape human development.
Starting with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults and expanding into early attachment and overwhelming experiences in childhood, this endeavor has elucidated how certain experiences can “set” psychological expectations and biological selectivity.
We have learned that most experience is automatically processed on a subcortical level, of the brain; i.e., by “unconscious” interpretations that take place outside of awareness. Insight and understanding have only a limited influence on the operation of these subcortical processes. When addressing the problems of traumatized people who, in a myriad of ways, continue to react to current experience as a replay of the past, there is a need for therapeutic methods that do not depend exclusively on drugs and cognition. In this conference we will pay particular attention to physical self-experience, finding one's voice to speak the truth of experience, and the transformative potential of action, mind altering medications and theater.
Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD
Ruth Lanius, MD, PhD
Wendy d’Andrea, PhD
Alexander McFarlane, MD
Ed Tronick, PhD
Richard C. Schwartz, PhD
Frank Putnam, MD
Michael Mithoefer, MD
Cancellation Policy: An administrative fee of $75 is deducted for cancellation. Refund requests must be made in writing, fax or email to PESI, and must be postmarked by May 1, 2017. No refunds will be made thereafter.