TRAUMA: THE BRAIN, THE BODY, AND COMPASSIONATE WITNESS
BESSEL Van der KOLK, M.D.
with Joe Weldon and Noël Wight of the Somatic Therapy Center
The 76th Annual Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology-Memorial Day Weekend – May 25 – May 28, 2018- REGISTRATION to open soon.
This year’s Plenary Speaker is psychiatrist and New York Times best-selling author Bessel Van der Kolk, M.D. His book, “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma”, is a courageous exploration of how trauma—whether from war-time experience, sexual abuse, corporal punishment, or even early parental verbal assaults—registers deep in the body and emotional brain. Such trauma gets imprinted neurologically at a distance from one’s rational self. Dr van der Kolk explains that chronic depression, rage, anger, panic attacks, suicidal tendencies—and even self-abuse or numbing through overeating, alcohol, and drugs—can be symptoms of deep, painful past injury.
“Trauma is not just an event in the past, it is an imprint left by experience on mind, brain, and body which affects how we survive,” Dr. van der Kolk writes. “After trauma, the world is experienced with a different nervous system.”
The science and experience of researchers and therapists suggest that healing from trauma requires more than a rational understanding of the early injury. The Body is primary in the healing process.
On Saturday afternoon, FCRP will welcome Joe Weldon and Noel Wight, co-directors of the Somatic Therapy Center in Philadelphia, who will introduce us to Transformative Touch therapy, which they have spent three decades teaching and administering. Somatic Therapy is a gentle, non-intrusive hands-on technique that helps individuals connect what is happening in their bodies to what is happening in their lives. This deep connection supports the creation of new synapses in the body and mind, opening the way to healing from the physical and emotional pain of trauma.
Joe and Noel’s lectures and experiential demonstrations throughout the rest of the weekend will allow conference participants to see Bessel van der Kolk’s theory of healing from trauma in action.
Bessel van der Kolk is the medical director of the Trauma Research Center at the Justice Resource Institute in Boston and professor of psychiatry at Boston University. He has published extensively in professional journals on the subject of trauma’s interface with dissociative problems, borderline personality issues, self-mutilation, cognitive development, and memory, and on the psychobiology of trauma. His best-selling book, “The Body Keeps the Score” draws on more than four decades of research on trauma and clinical experience with its victims. Dr. van der Kolk travels internationally to present workshops that explore the neurological seat of trauma and the healing process.
Joe Weldon is a licensed clinical psychologist and master somatic therapist. He is co-founder, with his wife Noel, of the Somatic Therapy Center in Philadelphia. He is a deeply experienced guide and teacher of the art of Transformative Touch, which focuses on the innate wisdom of the body. Joe has taught at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work and Villanova University.
Noel Wight is also a master somatic therapist and co-founder of the Somatic Therapy Center in Philadelphia. She studied extensively with Ilana Rubenfeld, the founder of the Rubenfeld Synergy Method, and has taught at Omega Institute, Kripalu and at Esalen. Her extensive background and experience teaching and administering Transformative Touch daily confirms her belief that the body is a wise ally, guide, and key resource on the path to healing from trauma and becoming whole. Noel has a master’s degree in integrative psychology.