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Digital Recordings

Treating Trauma Clients at the Edge: How Brain Science Can Inform Interventions

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Frank Anderson, MD
2 Hours 01 Minutes
Audio and Video
Mar 24, 2017
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Recordings


Therapists often get shaken and lose confidence in their approach when a client’s trauma response edges into seemingly uncontrollable extremes of rage, panic, or suicidal desperation. This workshop provides an essential road map for treating difficult trauma cases through a detailed exploration of the neurobiological processes of hyperarousal and parasympathetic withdrawal underlying extreme symptoms. You’ll discover:

  • How to stay clear and calm while working with clients in extreme states
  • When it’s necessary to be the “auxiliary brain” for your client
  • When to slow things down and hand over control vs. when you need to be bigger than the extreme symptom
  • When to work from the top-down and when to work from the bottom-up



This online program is worth 2.0 hours CPD.



Frank Anderson, MD's Profile

Frank Anderson, MD Related seminars and products

Frank Anderson, MD, completed his residency and was a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is both a psychiatrist and psychotherapist and specializes in the treatment of trauma and dissociation. He is passionate about teaching brain-based psychotherapy and integrating current neuroscience knowledge with the IFS model of therapy.

Dr. Anderson is a lead trainer at the IFS Institute with Richard Schwartz and maintains a long affiliation with, and trains for, Bessel van der Kolk’s Trauma Center. He serves as an advisor to the International Association of Trauma Professionals (IATP) and was the former chair and director of the Foundation for Self-Leadership.

Dr. Anderson has lectured extensively on the Neurobiology of PTSD and Dissociation and wrote the chapter “Who’s Taking What” Connecting Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology and Internal Family Systems for Trauma in Internal Family Systems Therapy – New Dimensions. He co-authored a chapter on “What IFS Brings to Trauma Treatment in Innovations and Elaborations in Internal Family Systems Therapy” and recently co-authored Internal Family Systems Skills Training Manual.

Dr. Anderson maintains a private practice in Concord, MA.

Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Dr. Frank Anderson maintains a private practice. He is the Executive Director of the Foundation for Self Leadership, and he receives royalties from Routledge and PESI Publishing. He is a supervisor and lecturer at the Trauma Center and receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.

Non-financial: Dr. Frank Anderson is a member of the New England Society Studying Trauma and Dissociation and the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation.


  • Experiential Treatments – Integrating neuroscience and psychotherapy
    • Necessity of utilizing physical, emotional and relationship aspects in therapeutic intervention
  • Problems with traditional phase oriented treatment
    • Negative evaluation of symptoms – ignoring their protective function
  • Internal Family Systems
    • Understanding symptom presentation as positive efforts pushed to extremes
    • Welcoming and integrating all parts of an individual
    • Identifying intent of symptomology, importance of avoiding shaming
  • Redefining trauma related diagnoses and integrating overactive protective mechanisms
    • Disorganized attachment
    • Borderline Personality Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • Therapist factors – vulnerabilities
    • Impact of therapist parts acting as separately as the clients we work with
    • Responding effectively to personal triggers
  • Symptoms of post trauma
    • Hyperarousal, hyperarousal, psychic wounds
    • Importance of obtaining permission before addressing psychic wounds
  • Experiential exercise – self-awareness, response to triggers
  • Mind-brain relationships
    • Neuroplasticity, neural integration
    • Neural networks associated with trauma
    • Implicit nature of trauma memories
  • Autonomic nervous system
    • Role of cortisol
    • Sympathetic hyper-arousal
    • Characteristics of extreme symptom activation and mixed states
  • Therapeutic responses
    • Choosing compassion or empathic responses
    • Providing auxiliary cognition
    • Strategies to avoid contributing to hyperarousal
    • Top down strategies to separate or unblend
  • Case presentation – example of permission seeking, direct access and unblending
  • Polyvagal Theory
    • Dorsal and ventral branches
    • Activating strategies, responding to hypo-arousal, blunting


  1. Devise how to stay clear and calm while working with clients in extreme states
  2. Assess when it’s necessary to be the “auxiliary brain” for your client
  3. Determine when to slow things down and hand over control vs. when you need to be bigger than the extreme symptom
  4. Ascertain when to work from the top-down and when to work from the bottom-up

Target Audience

Psychologists, Physicians, Addiction Counselors, Counselors, Social Workers, Marriage & Family Therapists, Nurses, and other Behavioral Health Professionals



Overall:      4.4

Total Reviews: 1479


Lori K

"This seminar was excellent. It has been the best one I have seen yet."

Maralyn F

"I am delighted with this presentation! Dr. Frank Anderson is the best! Thank you so deeply, I learned so much."

Amy Kathryn F

"Phenomenal! "

Alexis L

"Dr. Anderson was an engaging, charismatic speaker who clearly explained nuanced topics. I enjoyed his use of humor as well."

Alisha S


Leva Janeen G

"The speaker was engaging and enjoyable to learn from. "

Anky A

"Enjoyed the presentation"

Karensa M

"Very great training!"

Renee R

"excellent presentation."

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