Psychotherapists have an ambivalent relationship with neuroscience. Demonstrating brain changes following successful therapy lends authority and validation to our work, but the latter-day phrenology of fMRI scanners and the amygdala seems many miles from the everyday realities of the consulting room. In this workshop I shall expound — comprehensibly I hope — a new dynamic model of brain function, the Free Energy Principle (FEP), developed by mathematical psychiatrist Karl Friston that has excited huge interest in the world if neuroscience and artificial intelligence research, but thus far has had little impact in psychiatry, psychology or psychotherapy. I shall show that FEP helps explain the ways in which therapy brings about change — both in CBT through encouraging agency and action, and in dynamic therapies through explicating the role of free association, dream work and transference analysis. As an attachment theory enthusiast I will also bring an attachment perspective. Clinically I will link FEP with Mentalisation Based Therapy (MBT) for personality disorders.
The workshop, which I would argue will be of interest to all open-minded 21st Century therapists, will fall into four sessions. In the opening morning session I will describe the origins and main features of FEP, and in the afternoon first session link it with the established techniques of psychotherapy. In my talks I will use ’share screen’ for my PowerPoint just as I would in a live lecture. The second half of both morning and afternoon will be devoted to ‘live supervision’, when we will discuss two cases each from volunteer delegates.
About the Speaker:
Professor Jeremy Holmes MD FRCPsych was for 35 years Consultant Psychiatrist/Medical Psychotherapist at University College London (UCL) and then in North Devon, UK, and Chair of the Psychotherapy Faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists 1998-2002. He is visiting Professor at the University of Exeter, and lectures nationally and internationally. In addition to 200+ peer-reviewed papers and chapters in the field of psychoanalysis and attachment theory, his books include John Bowlby and Attachment Theory, (2nd edition 2013), The Oxford Textbook of Psychotherapy (2005 co-editors Glen Gabbard and Judy Beck), Exploring In Security: Towards an Attachment-informed Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (2010, winner of Canadian Goethe Prize), The Therapeutic Imagination: Using Literature to Deepen Psychodynamic Understanding and Enhance Empathy (2014), Attachment in Therapeutic Practice (2017, with A Slade), and The Brain Has a Mind of its Own: Attachment, Neurobiology and the New Science of Psychotherapy (2020). He was recipient of the Bowlby-Ainsworth Founders Award 2009. Gardening, Green politics and grand parenting are gradually eclipsing his lifetime devotion to psychoanalytic psychotherapy and attachment.
All art images are reproduced with the kind permission of Patricia Fitzgerald of Healing Creations. https://www.healingcreations.ie/