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Does Neuroscience Really Matter?

Rich SimonBy Rich Simon In “Therapy Isn’t Brain Science,” a provocative  article in the July/August Networker, Steve Andreas took aim at what he called psychotherapy’s collective case of “brain fever.” “The neuroscience information that’s currently in vogue seems primarily useful in convincing clients that we’re ‘experts’—that we have hard scientific knowledge about what’s happening inside their skulls,” wrote Andreas. “But so far I haven’t seen any persuasive direct application of neuroscience to the practice of therapy.”

Many of our readers jumped at the opportunity to dispute his claim, while others vehemently defended it. Nonetheless, the overall response was overwhelming, highlighting the fact that there are so few forums available in our field for ongoing dialogue about differences of opinion on clinical questions and the larger issues that shape the direction of practice. That’s why we set out to keep the conversation going in our upcoming virtual conference, State of the Art 2013.

The purpose of State of the Art 2013 is twofold: to both help practitioners sharpen the nuts-and-bolts craft of their trade and also to provide an overview of where psychotherapy is headed in each of its major specialty areas. To achieve the former, we brought together the 40 most popular Networker webcasts, Symposium workshops, and addresses of the past year that illuminate new ways to enhance our effectiveness. To achieve the latter, we invited leaders in four primary areas of practice—couples and family therapy, integrative mental health, trauma treatment, and the clinical application of brain science—to take part in a dialogue about the central issues that seem to be driving the development of theory and practice.

Given the responses that continue to come in to Andreas’ critique of the therapeutic relevance of neuroscience, we asked two leaders in the development of more brain-based approaches to therapy to weigh in and further the discussion for State of the Art 2013. In the preview below, you can get a flavor of “Does Neuroscience Really Matter?” a dialogue between Dan Siegel, a pioneer in bringing neuroscience into the therapeutic mainstream and the author of  The Developing Mind and  Mindsight, and Rick Hanson, best-selling author of Buddha’s Brain and  Hardwiring Happiness.

The lively exchange between Rick and Dan is only one of a group of dialogues that set State of the Art 2013 apart from other kinds of public forums in our field. Also included in the conference are:

  • “Commitment and Its Challenges in 21st-Century Couples”:  Esther Perel and William Doherty on the changing meaning of fidelity and commitment in marriage today and how the therapist’s own values can influence what happens in therapy.
  • “Treating Trauma: A 30-Year Perspective”: Mary Jo Barrett and Dick Schwartz on what distinguishes trauma from other clinical conditions and the special challenge of remaining transparent and authentic with clients suffering from complex trauma.
  • “The Now Moment”: Christopher Germer and Diana Fosha on the impact of mindfulness practice in therapy today and the demanding craft of truly remaining in the now with our clients.

Whatever your clinical interests, State of the Art 2013 will expand your toolkit and help you sharpen your skills. But beyond that, it will also invite you to expand your perspective about where psychotherapy is headed and the key issues we face as a profession. We look forward to your becoming part of the conversation.

State of the Art 2013
Starting November 4-8 And On Demand

Click here now for all the details.

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