Brain 2013 Ogden

Pat Ogden, PhD

Pat Ogden, PhD

How Neurobiology Changed the Way We View Trauma Treatment

Ruth Buczynski, PhD and

Pat Ogden, PhD

Ruth Buczynski, PhD


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  1. Elaine Dolan says:

    This series is the start of an exciting informational sharing between professions, which has been long-awaited. I see we should have transformed traditional *trauma therapies* and diagnoses out of the realms of *Cognitive* (prefrontal cortex issues) and into the realms of *Affective* (limbic and lower brain issues). I recognized this (without the vocabulary or neurological underpinnings for it) in 2004. Your series is heartening.

  2. Elaine says:

    This series has been incredible even though my schedule did not allow me to listen to each presentation. That in which I have been able to participate has been so very helpful to me personally and affirmed so much of my daily practice as a companion with those who are facing transforming moments of living and dying. I have been interested in integration, transformation, the evolution of consciousness and the healing of the dualistic split of the scientific revolution since the early 70’s. Thus, I resonate with so much of what has been said by others here and I am truly grateful. Thank you a million for what you are doing!

  3. Rebecca says:

    Love to see the science to tell people about “why” I practice somatic therapy – since I’m an OT that started out working years in inpatient psych, I now focus on wellness using body movement (horses help my clients with this part) and facilitated pressure release (finding those tight spots in the body that are holding onto emotion and trauma). Just recently started studying Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and that will be an extremely profound addition to my body-mind therapy practice and yes, I go thru the body to help the mind, still talking thru stress management, assertiveness etc. rather than going thru the mind first and hoping the body follows suit!

    Quick story about the EFT – I was tapping a couple of days ago and my dog (a Brittany cross who is needy and a bit anxious in temperament) came up to me and wouldn’t stop nudging me, so I tapped on my points and at the same time tapped at the same spots on Hershey – so funny, afterwards, she stretched and yawned and laid down and napped – very unusual for her!

  4. Susan Quinn says:

    I liked this interview with Pat Ogden specifically because she gave a lot of case material demonstrating her specific interventions. I find this much more helpful when therapists can get specific on interventions in their presentation.

    I find that often when I take classes and seminars most of the time is spent in explaining and supporting theory. To me, if I’m going to take a class , I pretty much agree with the theory anyway or I wouldn’t be spending the time and money to take the class.

  5. Susan Quinn says:

    I especially appreciated this interview with Pat Ogden because she repeated her process with a patient that she talked about in an earlier interview in a different series with NICABM. This additional focus on case history helped me to be able to use her intervention in my own practice.

    I especially look for specific applications to theories that are presented in this series. Pat gives specifics about her interventions which I find the most helpful in these interviews.

    So I thank you Ruth for getting more specific about interventions. I also appreciate the extra analysis that you have added.

    You are doing a great job and getting better all the time.

    Susan Quinn

  6. Joan Shaver says:

    I greatly appreciate Pat’s ability to synthesize so many aspects of the previous presenters. After, thirty years as a psychotherapist in private practice, I took my first level one trauma training with Pat. Five years later, after rigourous training I became a certified sensorimotor therapist. I cannot describe the difference adding the body makes to talking therapy. Pat’s response to Ruth’s question about how a nurse might use the work while seeing a patient which was to put your hand over your heart while listening to their difficulties has deep implications. The simple gesture of putting your hand over your heart does fire the mirror neurons as well as give the patient the felt experience of being seen and heard. In some of therapy sessions, I have mindfully studied with my client the impact of such a simple gesture. When explored mindfully the connection of hand to heart can bring forth tremondous insight and on the spot repair work as Pat mentions in her comments on laying down new experiences. During such a session, one woman reported to me she thought her hands were only for doing busy work and being productive. She had no previous awareness that her hands could be used for nurturing and self soothing. While integrating the work, she had a transformational experience that she could be seen and heard and not because of what she did but because of who she was.

  7. I very much enjoyed this session. I also liked the talk back with both Ron and Joan. I will use this even more than I do.

  8. Barbara H. Monroe says:

    This current series is extremely helpful. It appears Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D made connections with many of us! Her insights are most helpful and I have almost finished reading her book. The reading helped getting into the essence of Pat’s presentation. Much is coming together – your selection of speakers and the discussions afterwards add keen insight and a greater understanding of the trauma new patients are preseniting. So very timely. Thank you! Thank you!

  9. Dorothy says:

    The contents of what you offer is very interesting, but I am inundated by emails urging me to become a gold card member, over and over again. Such a pity that the commercial aspect clearly is the most important one…

    • Brandon says:

      Dear Dorothy,

      Thank you for your comment. There are 17,655 people signed up for the New Brain Science series this year coming from over 70 countries throughout the world. We really believe that this work can change people’s lives, and that’s why we continue to provide it for free, even though it takes many staff members to put it together.

      We reach out through our emails because it is successful in engaging most people. I am sorry that it isn’t working for you, but it takes over 16 people on NICABM’s staff, working full and part time to do what we do to produce this series. We really count on the folks who respond to our emails and are able to help out by paying for the series in exchange for getting the extra stuff and for having the convenience of listening/watching whenever they’d like. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be able to continue making this and our other series and be able to offer them for free.

      Thanks again for your comment and for giving our series a try.


  10. Thank you for another great broadcast. I’m really pleased you are highlighting effective talking therapies which are a genuine alternative to medication.

    I am a UK based psychotherapist and I train therapists in PTSD resolution techniques which are brief and effective. Your brain science series has provided me with further theoretical evidence to underpin just why these interventions are effective.

    Incredibly, more than one in four people in the UK alone will suffer from emotional health issues in any one year which actually equates to three hundred out of a thousand people. Of these, two hundred and thirty will visit a GP and many will be given a prescription for a specific serotonin re uptake inhibitor or SSRI, the active ingredient of which is fluoxetine.

    Amazingly, and even though access to talking therapies has improved, doctors in the UK are now issuing around 30 million prescriptions a year of Prozac and other anti-depressants.

    Turns out, we are unable to metabolise all the medication we are consuming and the residue is now finding its way into our rivers and coastline. In 2004 the environment agency expressed concern at traces of fluoxetine found in our drinking water. The government was quick to offer reassurance that levels were too low to represent a problem. Others disagreed.

    It is now apparent that the neuro hormone fluoxetine, which changes levels of serotonin in the brain, is having a bizarre effect on some of our sea life.

    The brown shrimp population off the UK coastline is decreasing and it seems fluoxetine is affecting their brain chemistry.
    The shrimp normally display an evolutionary survival mechanism of staying safe in the shadows or dark water. Yet the effects of fluoxetine are causing them to become reckless, abandoning their usual behaviour and swimming towards the light. In open waters, they are being picked off by predatory fish and sea birds.

    The numbers of brown shrimp are rapidly declining and, where once there was a thriving industry; there are now just a handful of shrimpers left struggling to make a living from the reducing harvest. Chemicals should not be our first response to anxiety and depression

    “How wonderful that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world.” Anne Frank

  11. I Have had a fascination with the brain since I took a few craniosacral classes and then read A stroke of insight by Jill Bolte Taylor.
    Thank you for the series. I look forward to reading the various authors books.

  12. Patti Chenis says:

    As a meditator for many years it’s very inspiring and exciting to see how the research on neurobiology shows how mindfulness practice can be useful in psychotherapy and in general help people learn to self regulate, feel better about themselves and have a better connection to their sense of well being.
    I have known about Pat’s work for any years but after this Webinar feel like I can understand her work with more clarity. For me the Relational Embedded Mindfulness was very helpful and the exercise the Joan B. was very helpful.

    I also teach mindfulness practice at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Mindfulness is part of the curriculum for students studying psychotherapy and other disciplines. I feel for myself as a therapist mindfulness practice helped me from getting burned out.

    Thank you Ruth for this wonderful series and I look forward to the next series.

    Thank You.

    Patti Chenis

  13. George Patrin says:

    As always, insightful. I commented before the session that I was hopeful we would open some insight into the world of PTSD, especially as it relates to suicide events in the military. Comments made about the importance of empathy and awareness were important, but frustrating as the work done by mental health colleagues doesn’t seem to get transmitted back to the primary care provider (if there is one), and so patients (especially Veterans) relapse. I was hoping to hear more about re-setting brain pathways for people with PTSD. Maybe I missed it.

    • Barbara Belton, M.S., M.S. says:

      Hello George, I always appreciate the thoughts and insights you share. Just wanted to reply from the viewpoint of someone recovering/healing from complex pts who was a behavioral health professional (in a prior life!), who is the wife, sister, dtr, niece et al of many combat vets some also dx’d with pts(d). You are spot on re breakdowns in communication between mental health folks and primary care provider…in the civilian world as well….needs work! I had just the opposite thought about what I heard re “re-setting brain pathways” as I listened to and experienced Dr. O’s presentation. Felt my own brain ‘shifting’ once again as she deepened down the insights around intimacy, the hows, whys and challenges we experience with proximity seeking behaviors and how she does the work of supporting/facilitating changes in the brain.
      Thanks once again NICABM, all the amazing presenters, and each/all of us for this healing experience!

  14. Wynne Macgregor says:

    I’m a great fan of Pat Ogden so I loved this session. I have been studying how to work more effectively with trauma for several years and it has been wonderful to see how powerful some really simple practical techniques can be; like asking the client to notice their body sensations and then naming the emotion they think matches their body sensations. It helps them calm down and begin to think about what got them worked up. Understanding the theory behind ‘out of control’ reactions can really help clients not feel ashamed or bad.

    The new bit for me from listening to Pat tonight was to encourage the client to consciously bring positive memories associated with a trauma into their mind and focus on the positive memories. I’m going to try this with my clients working on trauma.

    Thanks for a very helpful series of lectures.

  15. Matt says:

    I find it interesting to see the merging of fields – much of what is being described is inherent to body based therapy, sensory integration, movement/motor control, posture, neuromuscular therapies, biofeedback and self-regulation, body awareness/somatosensory awareness, etc… all in the realm of “physio”therapy, now being integrated into “psycho”therapy, and increasingly, the “mind” being integrated into the physical therapies. However, this is by far a minority – it seems to me that the age-old Cartesian split, no matter the fact that neuroscience has dispelled it, is still a massive limitation to patients getting the help they need – as “mental health” and “physical health” systems still remain horribly separated in provision, as well as equally or more deeply in how the insurance industry operates. So many of the emerging mind-body therapies really blur the line between professions and I continue to see firsthand how a lack of understanding of the inseparability of brain (as mind) and body creates misunderstandings, questions about professional “boundaries”, etc. that limit patients from receiving truly integrated care. For example, there is so much that integrated OT’s and PT’s (as well as yoga therapists, body workers, etc.) do and understand that is directly beneficial for treatment of depression, anxiety, PTSD, yet questions arise (by those who don’t understand the science or are (likely unknowingly) stuck in dualism) in the provision of “treatment” for such conditions, and the opposite for psychotherapists, especially those who are body/mind-body integrated, and have so much to offer for chronic “musculoskeletal” pain, fibromyalgia, back pain, etc. Let’s work to bring down these boundaries. I believe that is being done in forums like this, but still even see some of this split here. I wondered, “why sensorimotor ‘psycho’therapy” – how about just “sensorimotor therapy” as what is being described is not unique to the mental health professions. I see the same thing in observing the body centered work of Peter Levine which is really not entirely new to existing body based therapies – all of it on both sides comes down to awareness and the biology of self-regulation and the innate drive for homeostasis. When I saw the triad of “cortex=cognitive, limbic=emotional, and brainstem=body” I wondered, “well, all are represented by the construct of the human body as physical matter – who “owns” these divisions of the organ known as “brain”” (which in themselves are arbitrary divisions and imply separation of processing, when it is actually a whole functioning/single entity – mental health and physical health are inseparable and even the dynamic/distinction that exists that creates the need to use the words “mental” and “physical” seems to me to be a tragic error). Will we ever escape this? How about offering a forum/series that addresses this dilemma and offers up ways to help “physical” and “mental” providers and systems, and equally, third party payers, come together to dispel Descartes’ error and help patients receive truly integrated care from both sides of this horribly entrenched split? Of course we have to work within “professions”, but this is the sort of stuff that all “health” providers should understand and be utilizing in their care and there should be no questions from anyone about its applicability in the various clinical settings of patient care, regardless of profession. This is true of all mind-body modalities, mindfulness, awareness, etc. It is fundamental to human experience.

    • George Patrin says:

      Spot on, Matt. The barriers and boundaries must come down if we are to truly promote health in a cost effective and inclusive way. (See my comment below addressing our poor communication between primary and specialty care, especially with mental health issues like PTSD.)

  16. Pam Furno says:

    You must have heard “my story” as I have been very vocal about how I got here and how badly I want to be relieved of all the traumas I suffered while my husband suffered the ultimate most; the loss of his life. Two botched surgeries, no one would listen to me because I wasn’t a medical doctor but only knew a little from medical transcription and I saw horrors of all horrors. He likened himself to Hitler in his last life, I now have no family, mine or his and am raising our son alone. I am angry at so much but for five years, the loops continue, the thoughts 24/7, the dysfunction of my life prior to the surgeries, the lack of life now, the lack of a future and all through this the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, which was good but now locks me in my home with a hormonal teenager. I begged Dr. Phil for help immediately after it happened and someone responded but then no one, no one at all. I cannot cry because I cried for two days straight even while sleeping and then stopped when my then 12 year old son begged me to stop so I did. I cannot even access my hurt, I put a happy face on and plod on. Is this supposed to be living? I dare not think so. My mind and body relate, I have been able to discover that but I am a lost soul, I am BEGGING YOU TO REPLAY THESE RECORDINGS FOR THOSE OF US WHO WERE NOT ABLE TO LISTEN TO THEM. In Thanks. Pam

    • M says:

      Hi Pam,
      I’m sorry to learn of your situation and your distress. Please, for yourself and for your son, seek some help. There should be some resources accessible through a local hospital or healthcare provider, so I’d recommend that you call them. Also, you could check your phone book for therapists who might be able to provide help on a “sliding scale” fee. You really need a support system. There are adaptations of yoga that could be of use….
      Here are a couple of websites:

      This one (out of UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center) has several free meditations you can listen to online, which can be very healing.

      A trauma-related stress-management ’emergency kit’ :

      Take good care of yourself,

  17. Joanne Haynes says:

    I just want to thank all the presenters for the most interesting and informative series I have ever listened to. And the commentators could talk brilliantly about….the Superbowl. I will definitely follow up with the speakers’ books. Gratitude!

  18. Dawn Ward says:

    It was all as wonderful as I expected. How expanding to have listened to Pat talk. Thank you for sharing. I particularly like the example of the Man unable to beckon and the changes that took place. Inspirational.

  19. Another great talk and time we started talking about ‘neuro-education’ rather than ‘psycho-education’ so that people are informed about their neurophysiology in the aftermath of trauma – helps to destigmatise the whole process away from a ‘mental disorder’ suggestive of something wrong with our personality or psyche. Was great to hear Pat mention the body as a ‘resource itself’ – all too often many techniques that incorporate the body tend to do so as the focus of what ultimately remain top down cognitive approaches. I also request you consider Dr David Berceli who founded TRE for your next seminars, as his process deliberately activates involuntary tremors as an innate recovery process of the body (not just a sign of being in a fear response) All too often therapists have lumped involuntary tremors in as part of the arousal response – while they are associated and experience during the arousal response, they are significantly different as they are actually part of the self regulation of arousal rather than arousal itself. They aren’t part of the mobilisation system as they aren’t creating flight or fight, they aren’t part of the freeze immobilisation system as they are creating movement. Makes sense they are actually the body ‘releasing’ the unexpressed or overwhelming energy built up in arousal states, not just a symptom of fear. Yes the dog is shaking in the thunderstorm (or person after the trauma) because it is scared, but a more relevant question to ask is ‘what are the tremors actually seeking to achieve for the body? These tremors are a whole new avenue that many therapists have completely overlooked and misunderstood but offer a huge potential adjunct to existing treatment approaches. David Berceli’s website is Cheers, Richmond

  20. Shirley Duckworth-Oates says:

    There is so much I want to express – but most of all a big thank you for a series that truly is psycho-physical… as Alexander teacher Pedro de Alcantara once wrote:
    ‘ Even to speak of body, mind and spirit working together implies some separateness between the parts’…. :).

    The Alexander Technique was introduced into the UK by Frederick Alexander himself in l904 and it is difficult to believe that it is still not a well-acknowledged method of psycho-physical integration. For my first degree in Healthcare and Welfare, I gave 45 minute Alexander Technique lessons lessons (one-to-one) for one term to a small cohort of children on the Autistic Spectrum . The study was a multi-method design (qualitative and quantitative). The children’s positions on the spectrum did not change at all – but their behaviour did – significantly :). During my MSc. in Consciousness Studies and Transpersonal Psychology I researched levels of control and self efficacy in relation to stress and again using the Alexander Technique found significant changes in reduced stress levels. As a remedial masseuse, Alexander technique teacher and even within my work as a chiropractor, I find touch to be a very powerful thing.
    (Apart from my amazing Alexander teacher, the late Don Burton), I was encouraged, during my various trainings, to stay dispassionate, keep an eye on the time and stay ‘professional.’ .. so I have lead a rather covert life (now working one my own) doing exactly the opposite – and I have found this a most rewarding and authentic way to be. If someone comes for physical therapies they may prefer I work silently so that they can rest and relax or they may talk and we interact the whole way through. It is up to them. If someone tells me something sad I often weep – it was something I was ashamed of – but this is how I respond to sadness and sometimes people lead very difficult lives and live with some very dark secrets. One can be just empathic and it can stay context free – often over time my clients/patients/friends usually want tell their story… if they do their bodies often release more readily – but it can stay context free. All I can say is that this type of integral work is a beautiful thing… The patient/client leads the way – they come for physical reasons but as we know ’emotions’ (ex-motum – means ‘out of movement’) also manifests through the body. The physical effects of trauma and fear (or happiness) are directly seen in the body. Therefore working with the body can be a truly beautiful first expression of transformations in the mind. It is thought perhaps as much as 97% of what we want to express emotionally is non-verbal – found in body language… Neuroscience and fMRI research are giving us new information almost daily about these integral connections…. these are exciting times :).

    It is very affirming to me that whether we are physical therapists or psychotherapists – we all benefit from an awareness of this integral stance. This new way of being really does work – also at a deeper soul or spiritual level – where we can all find true mindful integration and peace …
    Thank you for this evening,
    Shirley x

    • Elaine Dolan says:

      Shirley, Your *doing the opposite* is exactly how I have come to feel about Rolfing. The definition of appropriate boundaries does not lie in being impassive, straight-faced and time oriented. Thank you for saying this *aloud*! It lies in being communicative, showing emotion and being aware of your time constraints.
      I have long felt that my best release work has not been my doing. In fact it has emerged from my finest interactions.

  21. I followed Pat’s talk with great enthusisam. In my work soon, I now feel more “permission” to overtly resonate with the patients’ experiences along with them instead of keeping a more or less “straight face” and “neutrality” as I innerly (covertly) do so, and also tu use physical touch more freely.
    Pat’s warmth is a great pleasure to feel, and ignites my own.
    I also appreciated Joan B.’s comments a lot; I read her book “Fried”, which is great. Ron’s comments were very good too.
    Keep up this good work, Ruth.
    Charles Hershkowitz., Brussels

  22. Fiona Aitken says:

    I am an experienced psychotherapist with many years of working with trauma, particularly childhood sexual abuse and DID clients/patients.

    I am just in my final year of Sensori Motor training and have been very excited by the impact of using body/mind with the neuroscience information with my clients. I have seen changes take place in a much more cohesive way than previously.

    My clients really value the information about the brain because it’s collaborative and helps them know they are not ‘mad ‘(this is particularly relevant for people who have been sectioned in the past and traumatized, on top of the original traumas, from the psychiatric services mishandling of their difficulties.

    These webinars are great because they offer simple exercises and ideas that most practitioners can use with care and with the relationship in place. I feel very hopeful that clients / patients who previously would’ve been written off as un workable with may now get the treatment they need and deserve. Thankyou

  23. Jigme Urbonas says:

    Dear Ruth,
    Thank you for your great generosity in creating the programs and in sharing them. I have learned a great deal and have been feeling lighthearted after each presentation.
    I am a long time meditator with a lifelong interest in psychology and brain function.
    I have been struggling with weariness and apathy since 2006, and through your presentations, I am understanding what is happening and why. I feel like I am coming out of a tunnel into the light.
    Thank you so much for your generous and thoughtful offering.
    Every presentation and every post-presentation comment session was truly wonderful.
    All the very best to everyone involved.
    Jigme Urbonas

  24. Linda Midalia says:

    Thank you Ruth and your reviewers for making sense of what was a somewhat rambling presentation. I was struggling to make much of it until the discussion at the end. I think those of us who have been in the field for a long time have understood the importance of working with the body/mind in the present whilst connecting to past experience. As with much in psychology, it is the theory which advances not so much the practice.

  25. Ann Edwards says:

    Hello: I am not a therapist, rather I am a monk and am presently in India,although I live in Canada. I experienced severe trauma as a child and over the years have done much talk therapy, forgiveness,spiritual work and so on, however, recently I met a therapist who became licensed with somatic therapy (I believe that is the correct name she gave me) and we began to talk and eventually it ended in a 25 minute session that opened up my life….It was not my fault (although I knew that on a cognitive level), I can see in retrospect how I freeze in a threatening situation and so much more….Just knowing this makes all the difference.

    I will be 70 years old in March and I’m honored and grateful to have been given this information and feel it will impact every aspect of my life…..I willl continue to listen to your series as long as they are available and of course take advantage of the information in the books of the presenters.

    I feel a physical opening in my body actually that is amazing to me and also a clarity of mind in many ways…….this information on the brain has had a huge impact on me……Thank you all very much. Ann

  26. This was the best session so far. I have the utmost respect for Pat anf for Joan. Thank You for this incredible session Ruth.

  27. Elsa says:

    It’s fascinating to learn the way body and mind interrelate – what part of the mind does what. I’ve used tapping for years – found it effective. Listening to these interviews gives me more understanding of how it works, why it’s effective. Thank you for this excellent series. With Pat Ogden I particularly appreciated the role of being in he presence of an empathic other.

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