618 – Brain-to-Brain

Mastering the Neurobiological Waltz
Janina Fisher

Clients raised by neglectful and frightening caregivers may as adults find themselves living with an unconscious somatic legacy of early traumatic attachment, yearning for closeness but unable to tolerate or sustain intimacy. Even their nervous systems rebel against physical proximity to others, or can’t tolerate being without proximity. As a result, their relationships—even with therapists—are tumultuous. The necessary strategy for working with these clients is coregulation, an approach that doesn’t depend on words but rather on a brain-to-brain neurobiological waltz that relies on the therapist’s attunement to implicit emotional and somatic communication. You’ll explore how to:

  • Recognize certain core issues in the therapeutic alliance—such as idealization and devaluing, stuckness, struggles for control, and abandonment fears—as manifestations of traumatic attachment
  • Become skilled at “right brain to right brain” communication, or being able to “talk” without words
  • Engage in a “dyadic dance” with your clients, mirroring their rhythms, body language, tone of voice, facial expressions, and gestures


Janina Fisher, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and instructor at the Trauma Center in Boston, a senior faculty member of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and a former instructor at Harvard Medical School.

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