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Seminar Detail

Learn from the Masters: The Neuroscience of Stress, Depression and Developmental Trauma: Connect Physiology to Psychology with Dr. Robert Sapolsky

Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

This event is not currently available for purchase.

For more information: Call (800) 844-8260
Course Description:

In this captivating 3-hour event, you’ll have the rare opportunity to learn from Dr. Robert Sapolsky, one of the world’s leading researchers on the physiology and psychology of stress.

Dubbed the “world’s funniest neuroscientist” (, Dr. Sapolsky will guide you through physiological explanations for stress and depression, interconnect the fields of psychology and neurobiology, and strengthen the case for brain-based therapeutic treatments.

Two hours of an enlightening and entertaining lecture from Dr. Sapolsky are followed by a unique one-hour interview with clinical psychologist, international speaker, and author Dr. Jennifer Sweeton. In what is sure to be a lively, informative, and thought-provoking discussion, doctors Sapolsky and Sweeton will cover a variety of topics about stress, depression, and trauma, and tie it all back to the strategies and techniques that you can use in the office with your clients each day.

Key Benefits of Attending:
  • 3-hour format gives you the chance to learn from a remarkable and memorable expert without a day-long commitment.
  • Dr. Sapolsky brings humor and humanity into his discussions of research and physiology, all while making the science of the brain-body connection to our psychological well-being accessible and useable.
  • Learn to apply neuroscientific principals to your practice to enhance clinical outcomes.
  • Integrate research findings into treatment with proven therapeutic methods based in mindfulness, positive psychology, and somatic psychologies.
Space is limited!

Don’t miss out on a chance to learn from this fascinating luminary!!!

  1. Analyze the neurobiological mechanisms of how and why stress becomes depression, differentiate this from anxiety, and explain how this information impacts the clinician and their treatment plans.
  2. Evaluate how childhood trauma changes the developmental trajectory of the brain, explore the clinical manifestations of these impacts, and apply clinical strategies to make your client’s brains less susceptible to traumatic stress-based damage.
  3. Characterize how the stress pathway, stress response, and brain interact to produce the experience of stress, and communicate how stress can be managed using therapeutic techniques that impact these areas of the brain and body.

What Does Biology Have to do With It?

The Nature of Stress and the Stress Response
  • The nature of stress
    • Homeostasis
    • The dichotomy between short-term and long-term stress exposure
  • The stress response
    • Hormones and autonomic pathways
    • How the long-term stress response impacts the brain and body
Clinical Manifestations of Chronic Stress in Your Clients
  • Impaired declarative memory
  • Vulnerability to anxiety and fear conditioning
  • Impaired executive functioning
  • Impaired empathy
The Interplay of Stress, Depression and Developmental Trauma

The Neurochemistry and Neuroanatomy of Stress, Depression and Childhood Adversity
  • How and why stress becomes depression
    • Neurobiological mechanisms
    • The psychological components of stress
    • Learned helplessness as a model for depression
  • Stress as a bridge linking the biological and psychological features of depression
    • The genetics of affective resilience in the face of stress
    • Childhood aversity as a risk factor
    • How traumatic stress shifts the trajectory of brain development
  • Clinical implications
Connecting Biology to Psychology in Your Clinical Practice: An Interview with Dr. Jennifer Sweeton
  • When is stress good?
  • How can neurobiology help you to determine treatment methods and set goals?
  • Coping with stress – social isolation vs. social affiliation
  • Techniques that impact stress pathways, the stress response and the brains limbic regions
  • Strategies to create resilient brains that are less susceptible to stress-based damage
  • Gratitude interventions for stress and depression


Dr. Robert Sapolsky, is a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University, and a research associate with the Institute of Primate Research at the National Museum of Kenya. In 2008, National Geographic & PBS aired an hour-long special on stress featuring Dr. Sapolsky and his research on the subject. In addition to A Primate’s Memoir, which won the 2001 Bay Area Book Reviewers Award in nonfiction, he has written three other books, including The Trouble with Testosterone, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, and Monkeyluv and Other Essays on our Lives as Animals. Dr. Sapolsky was awarded Rockefeller University’s Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science for 2008. His articles have appeared in publications such as Discover and The New Yorker, and he writes a biweekly column for the Wall Street Journal entitled “Mind & Matter.” His new book is Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (Penguin Press May 2017).

As a boy in New York City, Dr. Sapolsky dreamed of living inside the African dioramas in the Museum of Natural History. By the age of 21, he made it to Africa and joined a troop of baboons. Although the life of a naturalist appealed to him because it was a chance to “get the hell out of Brooklyn,” he never really left people behind. In fact, he chose to live with the baboons because they are perfect for learning about stress and stress-related diseases in humans. Like their human cousins, baboons live in large, complex social groups and have lots of time, Dr. Sapolsky writes, “to devote to being rotten to each other.” Just like stressed-out people, stressed-out baboons have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and hardened arteries. And just like people, baboons are good material for stories. His gift for storytelling led The New York Times to suggest, “If you crossed Jane Goodall with a borscht-belt comedian, she might have written a book like A Primate’s Memoir”, Dr. Sapolsky’s account of his early years as a field biologist.

The uniqueness of Dr. Sapolsky’s perspective on the human condition comes from the ease with which he combines his insights from the field with his findings as a neuroscientist. For more than 30 years he has divided his time between field work with baboons and highly technical neurological research in the laboratory. As a result, he can effortlessly move from a discussion of pecking orders in primate societies (human and baboon) to an explanation of how neurotransmitters work during stress – and get laughs doing it.

The humor and humanity he brings to sometimes-sobering subject matter make Dr. Sapolsky a fascinating speaker. He lectures widely on topics as diverse as stress and stress-related diseases, baboons, the biology of our individuality, the biology of religious belief, the biology of memory, schizophrenia, depression, aggression, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Credits listed below are for full attendance at the live event only. After attendance has been verified, pre-registered attendees will receive an email from PESI Customer Service with the subject line, “Evaluation and Certificate” within one week. This email will contain a link to complete the seminar evaluation and allow attendees to print, email or download a certificate of completion if in full attendance. For those in partial attendance (arrived late or left early), a letter of attendance is available through that link and an adjusted certificate of completion reflecting partial credit will be issued within 30 days (if your board allows). Please see “live seminar schedule” for full attendance start and end times. NOTE: Boards do not allow credit for breaks or lunch.

If your profession is not listed, please contact your licensing board to determine your continuing education requirements and check for reciprocal approval. For other credit inquiries not specified below, or questions on home study credit availability, please contact or 800-844-8260 before the event.

Materials that are included in this course may include interventions and modalities that are beyond the authorized practice of mental health professionals. As a licensed professional, you are responsible for reviewing the scope of practice, including activities that are defined in law as beyond the boundaries of practice in accordance with and in compliance with your professions standards.

The planning committee and staff who controlled the content of this activity have no relevant financial relationships to disclose. For speaker disclosures, please see speaker bios.

PESI, Inc. offers continuing education programs and products under the brand names PESI, PESI Healthcare, PESI Rehab and Psychotherapy Networker.

Addiction Counselors
This course has been approved by PESI, Inc., as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for 3.0 CE in the Counseling Services skill group. NAADAC Provider #77553. PESI, Inc. is responsible for all aspects of their programming. Full attendance is required; no partial credit will be awarded for partial attendance.

California Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Counselors (CCAPP): PESI, Inc. is an approved provider by the CCAPP-EI, Provider #: OS-03-036-1021. This activity meets the qualifications for 3.0 CEH's (continuing education hours).

This intermediate activity consists of 3.0 clock hours of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. Please save the course outline, the certificate of completion you receive from the activity and contact your state board or organization to determine specific filing requirements.

Marriage & Family Therapists
This activity consists of 180 minutes of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. You should save this course outline, the certificate of completion you receive from the activity and contact your state board or organization to determine specific filing requirements.

Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, and Clinical Nurse Specialists
This intermediate activity consists of 3.0 clock hours of continuing education instruction. Credit requirements and approvals vary per state board regulations. Please contact your licensing board to determine if they accept programs or providers approved by other national or state licensing boards. A certificate of attendance will be awarded at the end of the program to participants who are in full attendance and who complete the program evaluation.

California Nurses: PESI, Inc. is a provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number 17118 for 3.0 contact hours. Full attendance is required. No partial contact hours will be issued for partial attendance.

Social Workers
PESI, Inc., #1062, is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved as ACE providers. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. PESI, Inc. maintains responsibility for this course. ACE provider approval period: January 27, 2017 - January 27, 2020. Social Workers completing this course receive 3.0 Clinical Practice continuing education credits. Course Level: Intermediate. Full attendance is required; no partial credits will be offered for partial attendance. A certificate of attendance will be awarded at the end of the program to social workers who complete the program evaluation.

California Social Workers, Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, and Licensed Educational Psychologists: The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts CE programs that are approved by other approval agencies, including several that approve PESI and its programs. A full list of approval agencies accepted by the BBS can be found at under “Where to find CE Courses.” This intermediate level activity consists of 3.0 clock hours of continuing education instruction.

Other Professions
This activity qualifies for 180 minutes of instructional content as required by many national, state and local licensing boards and professional organizations. Save your course outline and certificate of completion, and contact your own board or organization for specific requirements.

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