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Digital Seminar

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

Frank Anderson, MD
2 Hours 06 Minutes
Audio and Video
Mar 23, 2018
Product Code:
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Digital Seminar
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We often get shaken and lose confidence in our approach when a client’s trauma response edges into seemingly uncontrollable dynamics of rage, panic, or suicidal desperation.

Watch Frank Anderson, colleague of Dr. Bessel van der Kolk and Dr. Richard Schwartz, as he provides an essential road map for treating relational trauma cases. Explore the neurobiological processes of hyperarousal and parasympathetic withdrawal and the underlying symptoms.

Watch now and you will also learn various therapeutic techniques and interventions that can be integrated with psychotherapy practices to help soothe your clients’ trauma.


Continuing Professional Development Certificates
- 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 2.0 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



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. He specializes in the treatment of trauma and dissociation and 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.

His most recent book, entitled Transcending Trauma: Healing Complex PTSD with Internal Family Systems was released on May 19, 2021.

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 has employment relationships with The Trauma Center and The Center for Self Leadership. Dr. Anderson receives royalties as a published author. He receives a speaking honorarium, recording, and book royalties 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.


  1. Evaluate the extreme symptoms of trauma by determining if they are rooted in sympathetic activation or parasympathetic withdrawal to inform clinical treatment interventions.
  2. Articulate methods by which neuroscience can be interfaced with psychotherapy practices to improve clinical outcomes.


 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

Target Audience

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

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