Working with people with a trauma history: how understanding neuro-plasticity can help

How research into the neuro-plastic properties of the brain sheds new light on human responses to complex relational trauma.

Many people who access mental health services have histories of complex relational trauma born out of early childhood experiences. These experiences can include parentification, enmeshment or invalidation as well as emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse and neglect.

The brains and nervous systems of infants and children are profoundly influenced by these early experiences.

The good news is that current neuro-plasticity research suggests that the same neuro-biological processes that shape responses to experience, can also be harnessed to influence people's recovery from the impacts of complex relational trauma.

What will participants learn in this one day workshop?

  1. how human experiences - both positive and negative - impact upon the brain's plasticity and the body's regulatory systems
  2. how a better understanding of the brain's neuro-plastic properties can improve the way we understand mental health and illness
  3. ways to re-frame mental distress and behavioural symptoms as the brain's 'best effort' to adapt to intolerable early experiences
  4. ways in which mental health workers can create conditions that maximise the healing power of neuro-plasticity, within the context of their everyday practice

How do I enrol in this workshop?

Currently, the Centre MHN can only accept enrolments from Nurse Education teams within Victorian area mental health services. If you are an individual or a group of practitioners, contact your Education team to express your interest. Services are entitled to a minimum of two Centre MHN workshops per year at no cost, with a minimum of 15 participants each.