Befriending your Amygdala:
Exploring the Neurobiology of Trauma and Developing Self-Care Strategies

Understanding the nervous systems response to traumatic experience is crucial both for working with survivors of trauma and for combating the effects of secondary traumatization or compassion fatigue. This training, which has been presented around the globe, has assisted hundreds of providers in gaining a better understanding of trauma and the imperatives for effective treatment.

Format: The workshop consists of didactic presentations, experiential activities, and discussions/ processing as it explores the neurobiology of trauma and its effects on the brain in action. Using this understanding as a foundation, participants then explore elements essential for effective treatment, and the ways in which trauma and abuse affect not only clients, but also the professionals who serve them. As the processes of secondary traumatization or compassion fatigue are explored, participants will develop personal and group strategies to provide adequate self-care to prevent burn-out and fatigue.

Participants: This workshop is appropriate for professionals working with the effects of trauma (counselors, social workers, case managers), psychodramatists and drama therapists interested in learning more about these concepts, professionals who have been personally effected by trauma, and those in various roles who work with refugee individuals and families. Psychodrama/ drama therapy training is not a prerequisite.

Outcomes – Participants will be able to:

  • describe the functions of the various parts of the brain;
  • explain the effects of trauma on the brain and physical body;
  • perform interventions to contain intense affect and/ or dissociation; and,
  • articulate a personal self-care plan for the future.

Logistics: This training is offered as a full-day workshop with 6-7 hours of workshop time that includes a lunch break. Start and end times are negotiable. Space needs include a room that is large enough to accommodate the people involved that has movable chairs with tables off to the side. We also need a blackboard or whiteboard and appropriate chalk/ markers.