Understanding Trauma Neurobiology: How Brains Change Research has taught us how adverse experiences (including trauma) can change the structure and function of the developing brain, as well as the processes by which we can reverse those changes. Audiences will learn how trauma affects brain growth and physical health, impairs social, emotional, and cognitive functioning, and sets the stage for the onset of mental and physical problems leading to premature disease and death. They will also learn what approaches facilitate recovery and resilience.
Trauma-Informed Practice A host of human service organizations have adopted a “trauma-informed” approach in response to what is now know about the prevalence and impacts of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) on individuals, families, and systems. Those who lack a trauma-informed stance risk developing practices and policies that inadvertently re-traumatize those they serve, and can lead to burnout and secondary traumatic stress. Trauma-informed approaches promote better outcomes for both consumers and staff well being. Audiences will be introduced to the principles and practices of trauma-informed care. Creating Trauma-Sensitive Schools: Using Relationships to Promote Growth & Learning Schools across the country are adopting a “trauma-sensitive” approach in order to effectively educate students who have been exposed to adverse experiences. The field of “social neuroscience” draws from vast disciplines to explain how we have evolved in the context of interpersonal relationships through attachment and group cohesion, and how we have subsequently developed the capacity to shape the brains of those with whom interact and connect. This presentation will describe how educators can use our knowledge of interpersonal neurobiology to create classrooms and student relationships that maximize growth and learning. Participants will be able to employ trauma-sensitive principles, practices, and procedures to address the impact of trauma on learners and increase their students’ ability to succeed in the school environment.
Science of Hope During the last few decades, there has been a flurry of research on the role of hope in recovery from medical and psychological adversity, including traumatic exposure. It is becoming clear that hope and hope- and relationship-focused practices are critical components of resilience and recovery. This presentation will inform participants about the current science of hope as it relates to the use of relationships to build resiliency in the face of adverse experiences.
Post-Traumatic Growth “Post-traumatic growth” refers to the positive changes that take place following a person’s experience with tragedy and/or adversity that can include new perspectives about oneself, relationships, or the meaning of life. Though there has been considerable focus on building awareness of the negative impacts of trauma on one’s brain development and functioning, it is equally important that we understand and foster the positive aspects of post-traumatic growth. Participants will learn the various ways people may grow following trauma and accompanying strategies for facilitating that growth process.
Building Resilience & Promoting Brain Growth: What Neurobiology Has to Offer Educators Facing Students with Challenges Description: Educators are faced with challenging circumstances in their role today, not the least of which is disrespectful, aggressive, and non-compliant behaviors exhibited by students. We will explore the underlying adversities that are often at the root of these behaviors, and learn how they can undermine neurodevelopment, as well as future social, emotional, and cognitive functioning. Research in social neuroscience has demonstrated that interpersonal relationships, especially student-teacher interactions, can promote brain growth and learning by providing safety, promoting reflection and hope, and capitalizing on our fundamental interconnectedness as human beings.