About the conference

RESTORE SAFETY TO THE BODY

16-17 MAY 2020

SATURDAY-SANDAY

PLACE

1 day-16 may – lecture day
MAXIMUM AUDITORIUM OF THE JAGIELLONIAN UNIVERSITY  IN CRACOW

2 day-17 may – workshop day
MUSEUM OF ART AND JAPANESE TECHNOLOGY MANGGHA IN CRAKOW

The conference is aimed at psychologists, psychotherapists, body psychotherapists, physicians, athletes and people seeking alternative therapies. Speakers with many years’ experience of working with clients will tell us about the influence the mind has on the body.

WHAT WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT

Over the last 20 years, a great revolution has been taking place in psychotherapy, triggered by the development of brain imaging techniques. Psychologists and physicians can no longer deny that the health of our bodies depends on the psyche, and the healing of the psyche is possible through insight into the body and emotions. Treating the body in isolation from psychological experiences results in addiction to pharmacology, deprives us of freedom and limits the potential we have. Therefore, we would like to invite you to get acquainted with the extraordinary methods which give us back the responsibility for our health and a chance for healthier, easier and more fulfilled life.

Dorota Hołówka
President of Stowarzyszenie Nowa Psychologia (New Psychology Association).

Dorota Hołówka President of the Nowa Psychologia Association

Polyvagal Theory in Human Connection

The lecture will be led by  Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D.

Safety is critical in enabling humans to optimize their potential. The neurophysiological processes associated with feeling safe are a prerequisite not only for optimal mental health and social behavior, but also for accessing both the higher brain structures that enable humans to be creative and generative and the lower brain structures involved in regulating health, growth, and restoration.  The Polyvagal Theory explains how social behavior turns off defenses and promotes opportunities to feel safe.  It provides an innovative model to understand bodily responses to trauma and stress and the importance of the client’s physiological state in mediating the effectiveness of clinical treatments. Consistent with a Polyvagal perspective, oxytocin and vasopressin dynamically moderate the autonomic nervous system influencing vagal pathways and anti-inflammatory circuits that help explain the adaptive consequences of love, trust, and social behavior for emotional and physical health.  Thus, interventions that target the capacity to feel safe and use social behavior to regulate physiological state can be effective in treating psychological disorders that are dependent on defense systems.

Learning objectives for talks and workshop

  • Participants will gain an understanding of the principles and features of the Polyvagal Theory.
  • Participants will understand how the Polyvagal Theory can demystify several clinical symptoms related to psychiatric diagnoses (e.g.,PTSD, autism, depression, and anxiety disorders).
  • Participants will understand that maladaptive behaviors, including states of dissociation, may be an emergent property of an adaptive physiological state triggered by survival mechanisms.
  • Participants will be informed about a face-heart connection that defines a social engagement system linking bodily feelings with facial expression, vocal intonation, and gesture.
  • Participants will understand how deficits in the regulation of the Social Engagement System are related to the core features of several psychiatric disorders.
  • Participants will be informed about a neural process (neuroception) that evaluates risk in the environment and triggers adaptive neural circuits that promote either social interactions or defensive behaviors.

TRE® — SAFE DIALOGUE WITH THE BODY

The workshop will be led by Elżbieta Pakoca 

TRE (Trauma Release Exercises) — exercises releasing trauma, stress and emotions is the method developed by dr David Berceli and consisting in triggering neurogenic vibrations, subject to self-regulation by the exercising person, by means of the sequence of 8 exercises.

Regardless of whether the stress and trauma has an emotional, physical or mental undertow, the body response to the hazard is always the same, i.e. an instinctive reaction of fight/flight or freezing response. To restore mental and physical balance, this reaction needs to be discharged and released. In TRE we use an innate human system of unintentional vibrations in a safe and controlled way to release the chronic stress, trauma or PTSD from our body. The aim of TRE exercises is to restore the natural balance to the body where all the systems (i.e. neurological, biochemical, anatomical) cooperate with one another. TRE exercises reduce chronic stress, muscle tension, anxiety and pain particularly in the lower back and pelvis.
This is an effective stress-reduction method, tension release and restoring the natural resources to the body. This method is rooted in the Bioenergic Analysis by Alexander Lowen. The exercises are prepared to release deep residual tension in the body by vibrations. TRE is different from other relaxation techniques, tai-chi or yoga as even though you guide yourself using TRE you need to “let it go” one day and allow your body to take over the initiative and lead its own process. Delicate vibrations release deep tension patterns which is difficult to achieve using other cognitive behavioural techniques. Some specific muscles, e.g. the iliopsoas and diaphragm are relaxed with no intentional effort. The body enters deep relaxation passively.

THE BODY REMEMBERS. CONSEQUENCES OF CHILDHOOD TRAUMA IN PSYCHOTHERAPY OF THE BODY

The lecture and the workshop will be led by Alice Moll

Suffering caused by traumatic experiences destroys our trust in others, in ourselves and in life. Childhood trauma affects our personal development deeply, though we are programmed also for enduring and healing. Cooperating with adult customers, we may underestimate the effects of the past. This lecture provides insights in how the Bioenergetic Analysis cooperates dynamically with the body and mind, helping the customers reconnect with their sensitive self and developing greater autonomy in adult life. To abandon helplessness patterns, the embodied sense of safety is not enough. The customers must expand their “tolerance window” consciously to stimulate stronger emotions in their body, including power, safe aggression and joy. The mentalisation concept will be listed as helpful when creating safe therapy frameworks.

BIOFEEDBACK

The workshop will be led by Kamila Froń

One way of restoring safety to your body is the self-regulation practice. The path to healing from painful experiences saved in your body runs through awareness and fine-tuning to signals sent by the body. The bodily awareness is indispensable here to trigger the self-regulation mechanisms.

Biofeedback is a tool teaching bodily awareness by observation and regulation of organic processes which usually take place spontaneously, e.g. pulse, skin conductivity, body temperature, breath, muscle tension or brainwaves activity. The principle of its operation can be compared to “seeing oneself in a mirror” but instead of your reflection on the computer display you see any changes taking place in your body and brain while a dedicated device enables to observe the changes of particular parameters second after second.

During the workshop various biofeedback modalities which enable to monitor the changes and restoring the balance in the autonomic nervous system will be presented. You will be given examples of how biofeedback can enrich the body-oriented psychotherapy.

Oxytocin in Human Connection

The lecture will be led by C. Sue Canter, Ph.D.

  • Participants will gain an understanding of how oxytocin contributes to a neurobiology of social bonding and love.
  • Participants will gain an understanding of how oxytocin is involved in regulating stress and enhancing health across the lifespan.
  • Participants will gain an understanding of how oxytocin mediates the impact of social support, social bonds, and trusting relationships on physical and mental health.
  • Participants will gain an understanding of how oxytocin and vasopressin act as “neuromodulators” within the theoretical context of the Polyvagal Theory.

MOTION RESTORING HOMEOSTASIS

The lecture and workshop will be led by Agnieszka Sut

The body communicates with us and the surroundings every day. It sends signals of pleasure or pain, raises and lowers temperature, tries to keep balance on a daily basis, thus creating optimum conditions for everyday existence. Feelings, emotions, sentiments are equally important as pain, cold and heat.
The body feels safe when we ensure its natural homeostasis.
When we enable it to have a natural contact with instincts, starting from sensitising to stimuli, including the internal ones and the ones coming from outside.

“Instinctive activity, emotional reactions, primitive pre-verbal logic trigger the archaic centres of harmony and functional synchronisation” is what professor Rolando Toro, author of Biodanza® Rolando Toro System method, wrote.

By physical activity and carefully-selected exercises it is possible to improve balance and regulation of the body, restore the balance to the sympathetic and parasympathetic autonomic system, bringing about good physical wellbeing, harmony, quietness and fullness. There are many components contributing to generating homeostasis, one of them being our sense of vitality.
Restoring the natural homeostasis, we offer ourselves an opportunity to connect with the ancient power of the natural and strong motivation and live and free energy to act (“vital impetus”).
Safe space is necessary to experience interactions and natural human bonds which contribute to increased self-esteem and, consequently, to the self-regulation of the body.

Interactions between people lead not only to getting to know ourselves but also to learning the variety and wonderful “otherness” of other people.
The non-verbal experience creates new information which is received by the body and transformed into responses that contribute to human health.

transmodal breath— from safety to growth.

The lecture and workshop will be led by Michał Godlewski

Breath is a language describing our psychophysical condition, i.e. the coherence or disharmony of inner experience. The pace, rhythm, quality of breath on the one hand reflect the inner landscape. From this perspective, the breath enables us to see our basic vital processes, like giving, receiving, charging and releasing, mobilisation and demobilisation. On the other hand, the track and quality of breath indicate the level of the defensive tension and stiffening which we keep as the adaptive survival strategies or, just the opposite, it can tell us about the level of freedom, comfort and flow in our bodily and mental self.

Understanding the language of breath enables us to look inside ourselves and other people.

Building relations with the breath and its regulation enables us to shape our inner experience which is reflected in the relations and experiences of contact with the outside world. Reorganisation of breath shapes the scope of the vital force and stability, promoting better function in everyday life. What is more, it enables to reach to the energy resources suppressed by tension, resulting in free and complete expression of the person via the body. Breath promotes fast relaxation and elimination of stress and its consequences, enables to build mental endurance, to release trauma on a physical and emotional level as well as to restore our revived self-esteem. It leads to discovering one’s own specificity.

Breath is the basis of many Eastern spiritual and health-related traditions based on the body, including yoga, prenayama, Buddhist meditation or chi-kund. Many Western therapeutic approaches are aware of the role of breath and use interventions based thereon (e.g. Gestalt, Bioenergetic Analysis). Contemporary science explains the breath interventions in the neurological and biochemical sphere. We learn, beyond any doubt, the experimental approach of the Eastern tradition is grounded scientifically. In this way, the method of transmodal breathwork, a comprehensive development system combining and transgressing different perspectives of working with people, has been growing and consolidating. The method proposes gradual increase in breathing competences from an organic, natural flow, through controlled regulation of breath, to the ultimate surrender to breath rhythms expressing the mental experience. This can be conceived as a gradual and safe release of breath as the basic medium of a vital force and its authentic expression.
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During our meeting at the Conference I will present the available knowledge on breath and the basic breathing interventions which promote improved contact with oneself and the regulation of your nervous system. I will also discuss the stages of advanced breathwork and its therapeutic functions.

During the lecture the participants will:

  • Understand the connection between the breath expression and the psychophysical condition;
  • Experience the basics of the diagnostic breathwork;
  • Learn the regulating functions of breath from the perspective of a polyvagal theory i.e. how breath restores the sense of safety and stability to your body and mind.
  • Understand the sense of adopting growing intensity levels of the bodywork process.
  • Learn the basic assumptions and interventions in the transmodal breath method, paying particular attention to the work in the body safety area

Somatic Experiencing®: Developing safety

The lecture and workshop will be led by Kavi Alessandro Gemin

One of trauma’s most challenging after-effects is how it can radically and completely take away our sense of safety, affecting our experience of ourselves, of others and of the world around us.
Somatic approaches oriented to physiological regulation contribute to the resolution of the after-effect of trauma and the recovery of embodied feelings of empowerment and security.
Somatic Experiencing® (SE) is a body-oriented approach to trauma resolution, developed by Peter A. Levine, PhD.
Its major strategy involves the processing of traumatic symptoms by directing the client’s attention to the internal flow of perceptions. The method approaches the charged memories associated to trauma indirectly and very gradually and at the pace required by the body to be able to renegotiate and integrate the experience.
Essential to the processing of trauma related elements is the cultivation of bodily sensations associated to safety and containment. The felt sense of safety becomes a reservoir of innate, embodied resources, to which individuals can repeatedly return as they touch – little by little – on stress and trauma and steadily develop new capabilities.
Developing sensorial awareness of safety and capacity generates new corrective interoceptive experiences that physically contradict those of overwhelm and helplessness typical of trauma.
The therapeutic relationship provides the context in which safety is formed and cultivated through repeated, constant and coherent practice and repetition. As clients integrate new experiences, the chance of becoming overwhelmed and destabilized diminishes.
This presentation and overview of Somatic Experiencing®, offers a direct experiential opportunity to feel into the interoceptive response to supportive connections and interaction.
Cultivating safety within oneself and in relationships can support the ability to tolerate difficult sensations and emotions, increasing resiliency and reinforcing new neural pathways needed for healthy function. This in turn will help develop a greater capacity for compassion, love and a richer, fulfilling experience of life.