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May 2017 - Attachment and trauma : The Resilience of  mind and body


We are proud to introduce 11 speakers from all over the world who will participate in this year's Congress.


A three-day Congress with some of the world's leading experts in the fields of psychotherapy and neuroscience.


Purchase your early bird ticket before October 31. Only 500 available!


This Congress is worth 36 hours of continuing professional development/ continuing education (CPD/CE). We will issue certificates of attendance at the end of the Congress.
Please check with your individual accrediting body if this Congress is able to count towards your CPD/ CE hours.


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Vittorio Gallese

The impact of prolonged maltreatment and neglect on the physiological mechanisms supporting humans’ social nature: a study of Sierra Leonean street-boys


The development of the human brain is strictly dependent on the type and quality of social relations taking place during an extended period of time. The present study shows how, following specific impact-trajectories, the exposure to prolonged maltreatment and neglect produces specific alterations in the basic physiological mechanisms supporting human social nature. In two groups of Sierra Leonean street-children and street-boys facial mimicry, and the vagal autonomic regulation to others’ facial expressions of negative emotions appeared to be significantly altered. Furthermore, results demonstrated a different level of impairment between street-children and street-boys exposed to maltreatment and neglect for different time. The impact-trajectory of maltreatment and neglect time exposure - a discriminative variable of protracted traumatic events in general - on facial mimicry and vagal regulation was further investigated in a longitudinal study involving a large group of street-boys from the age of 9 to 18 years. Results demonstrated that longer time exposure enhanced incoherent facial mimicry and ineffective vagal regulation in response to negative facial expressions. Importantly, a compensatory vagal recruitment was evidenced during the first years of maltreatment. The longitudinal study sheds new light on the natural patterns of resilience and chronicity, hence providing clues for coherent rehabilitative interventions.

Diana Fosha


Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP), one of the fastest growing approaches to working with attachment trauma, has developed a neurobiologically based psychotherapeutic process with rich, creative, systematic interventions to transform attachment trauma and rewire internal working models of attachment. It features a 3 factor -- relatedness, emotion & transformation-- theory of change. Featuring an explicitly empathic, affirming, emotionally engaged therapeutic stance, AEDP is fearless in working with the experience of the patient-therapist attachment, moment-to-moment tracking and processing it rigorously.
This presentation will showcase AEDP with its clinical focus on directly translating attachment research into the clinical practice of fostering secure attachment through explicit and experiential work with: 1. here-and-now experiences within the therapeutic dyad; 2. receptive affective experiences, of feeling felt, feeling seen, and feeling loved; 3. dyadic affect regulation and processing of unbearable emotions; and 4. dyadic affect regulation and processing of transformational experience. Processing both traumatic and restorative emotional experiences to completion, the AEDP process culminates in vitality, energy, and the non-finite positive emotion-fueled spirals of resilience, well-being and creativity that are so highly correlated with health. Making extensive use of videotaped material from actual psychotherapy sessions to illustrate both affective phenomena and clinical techniques, this presentation will demonstrate specific relational, experiential, somato-sensory and transformational strategies for putting neuroplasticity into moment-to-moment clinical action.

Pat Odgen

The Role of the Body in Fostering Resilience
Our sense of self is influenced not only by the words we use to describe ourselves, but also by a non-verbal story, told to others as well as ourselves through automatic physical habits of which we are typically unaware. Movement vocabulary -- the variety of gesture, posture, and movement available for ready execution – develops over time in a context of trauma and attachment. Certain action sequences, such as reaching, pushing, or maintaining an aligned posture, are abandoned or distorted when they consistently fail to produce the desired outcome. These physical correlates of personality, pathology and competency can be directly and objectively observed and changed to support self-esteem, healthy relationships, and emotional intelligence. In a Sensorimotor Psychotherapy approach, clients’ movement vocabulary is expanded so that new actions appropriate to current contexts instead of past ones become available to promote resilience and instill hope for the future.
Bessel Van Der Kolk


The majority of people who seek psychiatric care have histories of trauma, chaos, or neglect. PTSD is only one possible adaptation to trauma; it rarely exists by itself,
and it does not take account of the differential effects of trauma at different stages of mental and brain development. In the past two decades there has been not only an explosion of knowledge about how experience shapes the central nervous system and the formation of the self, but also about what constitutes effective intervention.
Advances in the neurosciences, attachment research and in information processing show how brain function is shaped by experience and that life itself can continually transform perception and biology.
Overwhelming experiences alter the capacity for self-regulation, attention and memory processing due to changes in subcortical, i.e., “unconscious”, levels of the brain. The memory imprints of the trauma(s) are held as bodily states and physical action patterns. This causes the entire human organism to automatically react to current experiences as a recurrence of the past. While language, insight and understanding are useful to deal with confusion and secrecy, it rarely is enough to deal with the unspeakable, intolerable and unacceptable nature of traumatic experience.
Effective treatment of post-traumatic problems needs to include addressing the imprint of trauma on the physical experience of the self as being helpless and in danger.
Recovery needs to incorporate dealing with defensive efforts that helped ensure survival, and incorporate physical experiences that contradict feelings and sensations associated with helplessness and disconnection.

We are proud to introduce 11 speakers from
all over the world who will participate in this year's Congress.
Antonio Damasio


Brief Abstract:
It is not possible to deal effectively with the issues of attachment and trauma without having a clear perspective on the relations between body and brain and on how they play in the construction of affect, including both feelings and emotions. Both recent findings and fundamental theory will be reviewed in this lecture.

Louis Cozolino

London Conference / May 2017

Trauma, Natural Selection, and the Devil’s Bargain

Decades ago, Jonas Salk highlighted the double-edged sword of evolution by reminding us that while natural selection is busy solving the problems of the present, it is also creating the problems of the future. As therapists, we see this manifest in many evolutionary “choices” that have been made to keep our bodies safe, which now make our brains and minds so vulnerable to psychological distress. This devil’s bargain is nowhere more apparent than the impact of trauma on the human species. Trauma, especially early in life, impacts the matrix of our neurobiological and psychosocial development in ways that can result in the debilitating symptoms for which victims our help. In this presentation, Dr. Cozolino will explore the deep history of our vulnerability to trauma and leverage evolutionary theory to understand the how’s and why’s of successful treatment.
Points of discussion:

Natural selection and the survival of the fittest
Conservation (the cerebellum / the body in the mind)
Vestigial organs (Non-Waggy Tails and Jacobson’s)
Evolution favors an anxious gene

Maternal behavior, maternal stress, cortisol and benzodiazepine receptors
Attachment schema as patterns of adaptation
Insecurity and survival
Earned autonomy

The purpose and multiple forms of memory
How does the traumatized brain process new information?
How EMDR works – dogs, squirrels and the orienting response

Executive Functioning
The three executive systems
The primitive executive’s role in memory, attachment, and the experience of self
Becoming your own amygdala whisperer

Cortisol Poisoning
The conservation of the flight/flight system
The damaging effects of an evolutionary legacy

Broca’s Area Inhibition
The integrative role of language
Coherent narratives, neural integration, and the adult attachment interview
Humans, narrative, and culture

Attachment & Self Awareness
Chronic default mode network hyperarousal
The self in exile
Social fragmentation
The inhibition of empathy

Social status, psychosomatic disorders, toxic shame
Anger utilization vs. anger management
The healing effects of anger
Of alphas and betas
Earned alpha status

Rachel Yehuda

Epigenetics and Resilience

Epigenetic factors play a major role in biological processes and help determine how life trajectories are altered through experience. Environmental exposures prior to and during gestation and
later in the postnatal period represent the earliest non-genetically mediated source of variation. Although in recent years there has been abundant focus on epigenetic changes associated
with environmental changes in utero, emerging evidence suggests that epigenetic changes in sperm can affect transgenerational inheritance of the effects of trauma in animals. Thus both male and females have the ability to uniquely contribute to programming the capacity for responding to stress in offspring. The power of the environment to influence our genes through epigenetic mechanisms early in development has been generally considered to increase vulnerability. However, it is also important to consider the positive aspects of our ability to make enduring transformations on the basis of experience. This presentation will focus on early developmental opportunities for epigenetic modifications, but will also demonstrate that such changes may be present throughout life. Epigenetic data will be presented demonstrating changes in association with trauma exposure, PTSD, and resilience. The clinical implications of these changes will be discussed.

Rachel Yehuda, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Director, Traumatic Stress Studies Division
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Director, Mental Health Patient Care Center
James J. Peters VA Medical Center

Judith Lewis Herman

Judy Herman

Live Video Conference


Resilience following adverse life events is commonly considered an attribute of individual psychology. This talk will suggest that while individual factors such as temperament and intelligence contribute to resilient development, positive outcomes depend as much or more upon relational and social factors. Data from prospective longitudinal studies of children in high-risk homes have consistently identified the central importance of secure attachment to at least one stable and reliable caregiver. Moreover, home-visiting services to high-risk mothers and infants have been shown to reduce significantly the percentage of children who manifest insecure or disorganized attachment as toddlers and to prevent the development of later social and educational difficulties. For older children and young adults, social factors affecting resiliency include the availability of interested teachers, clergy members, or youth leaders, and the opportunity to participate in organized group activities where their talents are appreciated. For adult trauma survivors, the most resilient outcomes are seen in those who find active coping strategies in affiliation with others. Finally, this talk will address the perspective of a particular group of trauma survivors—the parents of homicide victims—who resist the idea of resiliency altogether.

Robin Shapiro

Title: Ego State Interventions for Self-Destructive Clients:

This practical talk contains a brief introduction to ego state therapy for dissociative and non-dissociative clients, a simple method for assessing and treating suicidal and self-destructive capacities, and a way to bring the resources and care-giving capacities of the “oldest-wisest selves” or ANPs to the client’s entire system.

Stephen Porges

ICS London May 2017
Title: Connectedness as a Biological Imperative: Understanding the consequences of trauma, abuse, and chronic stress through the lens of the Polyvagal Theory

Polyvagal Theory expands our understanding of normal and atypical behavior, mental health, and psychiatric disorders. Polyvagal Theory, by incorporating a developmental perspective, explains how maturation of the autonomic nervous system forms the neural “platform” upon which social behavior and the development of trusting relationships are based. The theory explains how reactions to danger and life threat and experiences of abuse and trauma may retune our nervous system to respond to friends, caregivers, and teachers as if they were predators. The theory may help practitioners distinguish the contextual features that trigger defense from those that are calming and support spontaneous social engagement.

Daniel Siegel


Presence of Mind, Health in Body and Relationships
Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.

In this presentation we will explore the nature of presence, the state of receptive awareness that has been empirically shown to improve both relational and physiological well-being. Presence can be cultivated through a range of practices, and can be seen to support a clinician’s resilience in the face of working with those who have experienced trauma. For the person who has had trauma in their lives, the open state of presence may be challenged by the repeated intrusion of memory and emotion related to the traumatic events of the past. Working with presence cultivates well-being and resilience in both clinician and client, a win-win situation.


  • May 12th-14th, 2017

  • 8.30-9.30


  • 9.30-10.00


  • 10.00-11.30

    Louis Cozolino: “Trauma, natural selection and the Devil’s Bargain”

  • 11.30-12.00


  • 12.00-13.00

    Rachel Yehuda: “Epigentics and resilience”

  • 13.00-14.30


  • 14.30-16.00

    Bessel Van Der Kolk: “The body keeps the score brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma”

  • 16.00-16.30


  • 16.30-18.30

    PANEL: "Trauma, natural selection, epigenetics, resilience and mental health” (Louis Cozolino, Rachel Yehuda, Bessel Van Der Kolk)

  • 8.30-10.00

    Diana Fosha: “Neuroplasticity in action: rewiring internal working models”

  • 10.00-10.30


  • 10.30-12.00

    Antonio Damasio: “Brain, body and feeling; the essential neuroscience”

  • 12.00-13.30

    Stephen Porges: “Connectdenes as a biological imperative understanding the consequences of trauma, abuse and chronic stress through the lens of the Polivagal Theory”.

  • 13.30-15.00


  • 15.00-16.00

    Judith Lewis Herman - Live Video Conference : “Social sources of resilience”.

  • 16.00-16.30


  • 16.30-18.00

    PANEL “Effect of maltreatment, presence of mental health, brain, body and relationships” (Diana Fosha, Antonio Damasio, Stephen Porges)

  • 8.30-10.00

    Vittorio Gallese: “The impact of prolonged maltreatment and neglect on the physiological mechanisms supporting humans’ social nature: a study of Sierra Leonean street-boys”

  • 10.00-10.30


  • 10.30-12.00

    Daniel Siegel: “Presence of mind, health in body and relationships”

  • 12.00-13.00

    Robin Shapiro: “Ego State Interventions for Self-Destructive clients”

  • 13.00-14.30


  • 14.30-16.00

    Pat Ogden: “The role of the body in fostering resilience”

    Video Lecture
  • 16.00-16.30


  • 16.30-18.00

    PANEL:“Neuroplasticity, brain, body, feelings and psychotherapy of trauma” (Vittorio Gallese, Daniel Siegel, Robin Shapiro)




  • Istituto di Scienze Cognitive SRL
  • via Rolando, 16 - 07100 Sassari, Italy
  • Phone: +39 079 230449
  • isc@istitutodiscienzecognitive.it


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