by Staff writer
JSA Psychotherapy develop team with brain development and dissociation training day
An area of business development that we’re particularly enthusiastic about at JSA is our ongoing commitment to developing our team with training. This helps us remain up to date with the leading edge of psychotherapeutic practice. It’s not only an inherent part of our ethos, but also a critical component of our clinical framework. Every model of therapy and assessment that we conduct within the practice is underpinned by a shared understanding of the most effective techniques available to the contemporary industry.
Last week, Principal Psychotherapist Julie Stirpe ran the first of two days of training for members of our staff team. The course explored and contextualised the ways in which cognitive development and early attachment impact a child’s ability to interact with the world and engage with targeted therapy later in life. These processes set the foundations for all subsequent emotional and cognitive growth, informing personality as well as prospective susceptibility to mental health issues.
This can be measured in terms of an individual’s emotional resilience factors. Where clients have been unable to build strong resilience, they will be less able to withstand adversity without developing unhealthy and damaging coping strategies. In cases where a client has faced pronounced adversity early in life, especially chronic trauma, without receiving the necessary developmental support to endure these and recover, the brain will often resort to dissociation as a defence mechanism.
Dissociation is the brain’s main method of avoiding the overwhelming negative experience of trauma and is linked to the primal ‘freeze’ response when facing a threat, as opposed to ‘fight or flight’. Cognitive withdrawal in this manner provides temporary relief from the impact of the event to ease the burden that the mind is not equipped with the necessary resilience to deal with. There are however, significant repercussions for this behaviour, as the state of disconnection will then be maintained until the individual develops the emotional resilience to become able to process the trauma that first necessitated it.
We use this understanding to tailor our models of therapy. After assessing a client to make sure that we understand their unique strengths and weaknesses, we can formulate the most effective model of clinical psychotherapeutic intervention to resolve their mental health issues. It may sometimes be the case that we learn that it’s necessary to first use a different model of therapy to help the client build resilience, before attempting a more direct trauma recovery method.
The development programme will lead on from this point into Julie’s next training day, in which she will explain how we use the NMT metrics in our practice for a more advanced and bespoke application of this principle.