Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Another new web site, this one from Kate Hudgins, TEP

Kate Hudgins, left, and Karen Carnabucci
Another web site of interest:

Kate Hudgins, Ph.D., TEP, has a beautiful new web site.

Kate is an internationally known psychodrama trainer as well as the developer of the Therapeutic Spiral Model, a treatment model that has adapted psychodrama with safety and containment measures especially for trauma survivors.

For the past 20 years she has  traveled across the United States and around the world to teach her model. Most recently she has been training mental health professionals in China for the past 10 years and continues work with her Chinese students on Skype.

Here in the Midwest, many still remember her when she offered workshops in Madison and Black Earth, Wis., for many years before moving to Charlottesville, Va. She is the author of Experiential Treatment For PTSD: The Therapeutic Spiral Model with a new book to be published shortly.

Kate describes the Therapeutic Spiral Model as "experiential psychotherapy" which has much standard psychology research showing it is equally as good as cognitive behavioral therapy for more problems and even more effective for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. She also refers to psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk and his writings on neurobiology and how psychodrama and the Therapeutic Spiral Model can change the brain because of its experiential base.

Her site offers numerous links on articles, research resources, books and more. Go visit.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meditation changes the brain. (And why psychodramatists can appreciate the study of mindfulness)

Dr. Davidson and the Dalai Lama.

Richard J. Davidson, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, is one of many scientists on the forefront of neuroscience.

Neuroscience recognizes that our brain is impacted by our mental environment and how the heart and the brain are connected, giving new meaning to the mind, body and spirit connections that we talk so much about. 

Dr. Davidson cites brain's amazing ability to change, both structurally and functionally, and  maintains that we can think of happiness and compassion as skills that are no different from learning to play a musical instrument, or training in golf or tennis. Happiness, like any skill, requires practice and time but because we know that the brain is built to change in response to mental training, it is possible to train a mind to be happy.

In this video, filmed in 2009, he talks about the voluntary cultivation of compassion through the practice of mindfulness. His research findings show that a number of parts of the brain that are changed with meditation, particularly the amygdala, which strongly impacts our emotions.

 As psychodramatists and professionals who value experiential psychotherapy, we can take this cheerful information as yet more proof that certain experiences create positive and important changes in the brain.   

One video, below, with more resources and information on Dr. Davidson's work at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Malidoma Some speaks of rituals in the West Africa tradition -- the roots of experiential therapy?

Born in the African nation of Burkina Faso, Malidoma Some is the foremost teacher of African spirituality in the United States. He writes and travels to talk about the value of ritual, communion with nature and the necessity of the connection the ancestors.

I saw him on Saturday as one of the conference presenters at the U.S. Constellations conference in San Franscico, when he brought a message of hope, healing and reconciliation through the powerful tools of ritual and community building.

In this video, recorded at another time, he discusses how indigenous traditions, such as rituals, are relevant to modern society. Because rituals are experiential, I believe he is talking about the roots of what we call modern experiential therapies.