Presenter: Paul Lehrer, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
All emotional problems include a psychophysiological component, but psychology training often gives scant training in how to address this component directly in psychotherapy. This workshop will cover the reasons for using psychophysiological methods as components of psychotherapy, and review basic concepts of stress physiology. Participants will be introduced to elements of cybernetic theory that explain how various stress management procedures work.
Then participants will learn the basics of three well validated stress management methods. 1) As a student of Edmund Jacobson, Dr, Lehrer will teach his method of deep muscle relaxation as a method to reduce muscle tension levels to absolute zero, with applications to control of ruminative thought and sleeplessness. This method differs substantially from the method conventionally used in CBT but is not necessarily more time consuming to teach. 2) The self-hypnotic method of autogenic training will be taught as a method for controlling autonomic balance, blood flow and peace of mind, treating psychosomatic problems and facilitating psychotherapy. Finally, the workshop will provide training in heart rate variability biofeedback: a method that now can be taught using free smart phone apps or simple and inexpensive monitoring equipment. It is known to improve general resilience, improve human performance, and treat a variety of physical and emotional problems.
In addition to devoting some time on clinical evidence, participants will be given materials that review these literatures, as well as manuals, case examples, and lists of indications, side effects, and contraindications for each method.
- Participants will be able to describe the physiology of stress and the ways that psychophysiological stress management methods target the various psychophysiological mechanisms. They will be able to explain these principles to clients.
- Participants will be able to practice and teach the elements of Jacobson’s progressive relaxation method, autogenic training, and heart rate variability biofeedback
- Participants will be able to list the indications, contraindications, and side effects of each of the three stress management methods
- Participants will be able to locate additional source materials reviewing outcome studies, and studies validating the rationale for each of these methods.
Paul Lehrer received his doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Harvard University, and has been working at Rutgers University since 1970. He has been doing clinical practice and research on applied psychophysiology for over 50 years, and has published over 100 papers on the topic. He is senior editor of Principles and Practice of Stress Management, which gives definitive descriptions and research reviews of most techniques used in this field. He has studied progressive relaxation methods under Edmund Jacobson, and has published numerous research papers and manuals on the method. For the past 25 years he has specialized on heart rate variability biofeedback: its physiological mechanisms and clinical effects. He also has published the most widely used procedural manual for this method, and has given workshops and lectures on this topic as well as other stress management methods, throughout the world. He has served as president of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, and has received its Distinguished Scientist Award. He regularly teaches stress management methods at Rutgers on all levels: to medical students psychiatric residents, to psychology interns, and to undergraduates.
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