Somatic SIG June Workshop Recap

Daniel Factor
Somatic SIG Chair, LA-CAMFT

Well folks, he did it again! Dr. Marc Milstein delivered another stellar lecture, bringing us captivating news from the neuroscience frontier. The subject: Brain Resilience.

A highlight for me, beyond his delightful humor and ability to teach hard science in a very digestible way, was Dr. Milstein’s explanation that, like the way muscle tissue grows by tearing and repairing, joined neurons (i.e. memory) will repeatedly tear apart and rejoin repeatedly to strengthen their connection or memory; and that this mechanism is also what makes change and learning possible.

The key to ‘change’ is the current mood (or mental activity) of the person when the tearing apart & rejoining sequence is happening, as this is the time in which new sets of neurons can join with the prior configuration. But it’s also how rigid patterns are reinforced – that is, if the person’s current mood (or mental activity) syncs with the memory as it’s tearing & rejoining, it strengthens that rigid memory. Just ponder that for a moment! This is a more refined explanation than the usual ‘neurons that fire together wire together’.

But that’s not all, because in cahoots with the mechanics of this change & reinforcing process is the influence of our older preserved prehistoric stress-system. For example, the newer parts of our brain may ‘know’ that our stress cues are not from seeing a saber-toothed snarl, but our stress-system is not so sure, and roars just the same as it always did. Dr. Milstein explained that if not for our ancestors having this adaptive survival response to predators and remembering it, we wouldn’t be here to freak out over traffic jams and email overload (get it?).

But don’t take it from me, as you can hear all about it directly from Dr. Milstein, if you head straight to his website and consider downloading his video offering: “Brain Science for Therapists” (5 CEUs), which covers the latest breakthroughs that apply to Love, Anxiety, Stress, Happiness, and the science of Mindfulness and Meditation.

As for our next SOMA SIG workshop, coming July 10th, practitioner and trainer Nkem Ndefo, will introduce us to a wellness & therapeutic tool called Trauma Release Exercises (TRE®). TRE is way to self-activate the nervous systems’ natural ability to discharge stored stress—from the everyday accumulation, to the traumatic—relieving the body and mind of its corrosive effects. Space is limited to 25, and registration is live, so hopefully you will still be able to join us.

That’s all for now. Be well. Daniel –