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Digital Seminar

Plasticity of the Social Brain: How to Train Mindfulness, Compassion and Perspectives on the Self

Tania Singer, PhD |  Ronald D. Siegel, PsyD |  Richard C. Schwartz, PhD
2 Hours 02 Minutes
May 28, 2021
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Digital Seminar
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Tania Singer, head of the Social Neuroscience Lab of the Max Planck Society in Berlin, and colleagues have conducted a wide range of studies about mindfulness and self-awareness with a broad aim of finding ways to foster mental health, heartfelt connections and social cooperation. Their work has examined the interpersonal aspects of heart rate variability (HRV), exogenous generation of emotions (EGE), social capacities such as compassion, empathy and Theory of Mind as well as interoceptive body awareness, alexithymia and the effects of socio-affective and cognitive mental training on brain plasticity. The most important project was the ReSource project, a multi-disciplinary 9-month longitudinal mental training study involving more than 300 participants and 90 different measures. The goal was to compare the effects of three different types of 3-month mental training modules on brain plasticity, social connectedness, wellbeing and affect, the immune- and stress-system, interoceptive body awareness, social intelligence and prosocial behaviours. The findings from these studies are highly relevant to interoceptive-, mindfulness- and compassion-based treatments such as the Internal Family Systems therapy (IFS) whose founder Dick Schwartz will discuss the clinical implications of Dr. Singer's work.


- PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This online program is worth 2.25 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Tania Singer, PhD's Profile

Tania Singer, PhD Related seminars and products

Tania Singer, PhD, Scientific head of the Social Neuroscience Lab, Max Planck Society, Berlin, Germany. Her research focus is on the hormonal, neuronal, and developmental basis of human sociality, empathy and compassion, and their malleability through mental training. She is the principal investigator of a large-scale, nine-month longitudinal mediation based mental training study, The ReSource Project, and investigates together with Dennis Snower how psychology can inform new models of Caring Economics.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Tania Singer has an employment relationship with the Max Planck Society. She is a researcher at the Charité - Universitaetsmedizin and the University of Zurich. She receives royalties as a published author, and she receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Tania Singer is a member of the Young Avademy or Europe (YAE) and the Interdisciplinary Forum Neurourbanistics. She is a fellow of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA). Dr. Singer is an honorary member of the Österreichischer Bundesverband für Achtsamkeit/Mindfulness (ÖBAM) and Mind & Life Europe. She is a member of several scientific organizations; for a complete list, please contact

Ronald D. Siegel, PsyD's Profile

Ronald D. Siegel, PsyD Related seminars and products

Ronald D. Siegel, PsyD, has spent over 35 years as a part-time assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. A long-time student of mindfulness meditation, he serves on the Board of Directors and faculty of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He also teaches internationally about mind-body medicine and the application of mindfulness and compassion practices in psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, and other fields.

Dr. Siegel has edited and written several books, including the critically acclaimed professional text, Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, 2nd Edition, a comprehensive guide for general audiences. He also authored several professional guides: The Mindfulness Solution: Everyday Practices for Everyday Problems, Sitting Together: Essential Skills for Mindfulness-Based Psychotherapy and Wisdom and Compassion in Psychotherapy. His step-by-step self-treatment guide, Back Sense, integrates mindfulness practice, aggressive rehabilitation, and mind-body approaches to treat chronic back and neck pain.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Ronald Siegel maintains a private practice and has employment relationships with Harvard Medical School, the University of Massachusetts, and the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He receives compensation as an international presenter. Ronald Siegel receives royalties as a published author. Ronald Siegel receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from Psychotherapy Networker and PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Ronald Siegel is a member of the American Psychological Association. He is an author for Psychotherapy Networker.

Richard C. Schwartz, PhD's Profile

Richard C. Schwartz, PhD Related seminars and products

IFS Institute

Richard Schwartz, PhD began his career as a family therapist and an academic at the University of Illinois at Chicago. There he discovered that family therapy alone did not achieve full symptom relief, and in asking patients why, he learned that they were plagued by what they called "parts." These patients became his teachers as they described how their parts formed networks of inner relationship that resembled the families he had been working with. He also found that as they focused on and, thereby, separated from their parts, they would shift into a state characterized by qualities like curiosity, calm, confidence and compassion. He called that inner essence the Self and was amazed to find it even in severely diagnosed and traumatized patients. From these explorations, the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model was born in the early 1980s.

IFS is now evidence-based and has become a widely-used form of psychotherapy, particularly with trauma. It provides a non-pathologizing, optimistic, and empowering perspective and a practical and effective set of techniques for working with individuals, couples, families, and more recently, corporations and classrooms.

In 2013, Schwartz left the Chicago area and now lives in Brookline, MA where he is on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Richard Schwartz is the Founder and President of the IFS Institute. He maintains a private practice and has a employment relationship with Harvard Medical School. He receives royalties as a published author. Dr. Schwartz receives a speaking honorarium, recording, and book royalties from Psychotherapy Networker and PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Richard Schwartz is a fellow of Meadows Behavioral Healthcare and is a member of the American Family Therapy Academy and the American Association for Marital and Family Therapy. He is a contributing editor for Family Therapy Networker. Dr. Schwartz serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, the Contemporary Family Therapy, the Journal of Family Psychotherapy, and the Family Therapy Collections.


  1. Investigate the process and research methodology of the ReSource project.
  2. Categorize findings and compare differential effects of various forms of meditations.
  3. Determine how various types of mental practices affect brain plasticity, social capacities, reduce stress, promote compassion, altruism and social connectedness.


  • Effects of mental training on brain plasticity
  • Effects of mental training on interpersonal aspects of HRV and EGE
  • Two current research studies measuring aspects of brain plasticity
  • Relevance to interoceptive, mindfulness, and compassion-based treatments

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Psychotherapists
  • Therapists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Case Managers
  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

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