Loving with the Brain in Mind: A Relational-Neurobiological Approach to Couple Therapy

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Course Description

Distressed couples often get caught up in mutual blame and cycles of emotional reactivity. This workshop explores the psychodynamic, interpersonal, intergenerational, cultural, and neurobiological processes that shape these cycles. Based on the latest studies from neuroscience as well as relationship research, Dr. Fishbane presents an integrative approach that empowers couples to transform their interpersonal dynamics. Interventions are offered to increase skills of social and emotional intelligence, including emotion regulation, empathy, equality, respect, and generosity. The workshop highlights the tension between kneejerk reactivity (driven by the emotional brain) and a more thoughtful ability to choose to live according to goals and values (powered by the higher brain). We will focus on ways to help partners become proactive lovers, as they work to co-author their relationship together.

The second day of the workshop will focus on intergenerational factors that fuel couple distress; unfinished business from the past can haunt couples and shape their reactivity with each other. Dr. Fishbane will propose interventions to help clients “wake from the spell of childhood,” heal old intergenerational wounds, and transform current relationships with family of origin. This process often facilitates relational empowerment and healing in the couple as well as the intergenerational family.

Throughout both days of the workshop, the dynamics of habit and change will be a central concern, informed by research on neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to change. Why is change so hard in adulthood? Why are clients “resistant” in therapy? The brain is wired for habit, and neuroplasticity in the adult brain, while possible, can be challenging. Dr. Fishbane will integrate insights from interpersonal neurobiology, research on couple relationships, and her many years of clinical experience in exploring the dynamics of change in couple therapy. She will explore evidence-based techniques to facilitate neuroplasticity, offering new insights into the development of relationship plasticity.

Day 1:
From Reactivity to Empowerment in Couple Therapy

Day 2:
Healing Intergenerational Wounds

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  1. Identify & diagram couple’s vulnerability cycle
  2. Work with clients’ emotional reactivity using techniques informed by neuroscience
  3. Facilitate neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to change) and relational change in the couple
  4. Help partners become more relationally empowered, increasing empathy, connection, and generosity in the relationship
  5. Identify and help transform intergenerational wounds and impasses that are affecting couple relationship

A discounted block of rooms has been reserved at the Hampton by Hilton Boca Raton for out of town participants in this workshop. These rooms are available first come, first served.

The newly renovated Hampton by Hilton Boca Raton is located a short 2 miles from the FAU campus and provides each guest with great value amenities that are included in your discount rate. Some of these amenities include hot buffet breakfast each morning from 6am-10am, wifi, parking, as well as daily guest passes to 5 Star Lifetime Athletic Club next door! Please click the link below to be directed to the group page and reserve your room at a special discount rate now!

Click here to reserve your hotel room

Presenter: Mona Fishbane, Ph.D.
Dates/Times: Monday and Tuesday, February 11th-12th, 2019, 9am – 5pm
Location: Boca Raton campus, Student Union Majestic Palm Room

For Both Days:

Cost: $345; $295 early bird and $245 student rate until January 28. Students, use MonaFishbaneStudent50 at checkout.

CEUs: 14

For One Day Only:

Cost: $175; $150 early bird and $125 student rate until January 28. Students, use MonaFishbaneStudent25 at checkout.

CEUs: 7


Mona Fishbane, Ph.D., clinical psychologist in New Jersey, is faculty and former Director of Couple Therapy Training, Chicago Center for Family Health. She is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor, member of the Advisory Board for the journal Family Process, and past Board member of the American Family Therapy Academy. Mona lectures nationally and internationally, and has published numerous articles on couple therapy and neurobiology as well as on intergenerational relationships. She has been the recipient of honors and fellowships, including a grant from the Templeton Foundation, and the 2017 Family Psychologist of the Year Award from The American Psychological Association (Society for Couple & Family Psychology). Mona’s book, Loving with the Brain in Mind: Neurobiology & Couple Therapy (2013), is part of the Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology. Mona’s website: www.monafishbane.com

All Professional Development courses are on the Boca Raton campus in the Social Science (SO) Building unless otherwise noted. Click here for parking information and maps.

FAU Phyllis and Harvey Sandler School of Social Work is an approved provider of the Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy, and Mental Health Counseling, the Florida Board of Psychology and the Florida Board of Nursing (BAP #50-6251).

If you are an individual with a disability and need accommodations please complete the Application for Support Services and submit with documentation of your disability to mshaw@health.fau.edu. Student Accessibility Services (SAS) will process the application and contact you to discuss your accommodation needs. SAS requires that this information be provided at least two weeks prior to the beginning of your Professional Development Course, so that we have sufficient time to set up the accommodations requested. Thank you!

Refunds minus a $30 administrative fee allowed for cancellations up to 14 days prior to workshop. No refunds after 14 days prior to workshop. Refunds or transfers to other course dates may be permitted in cases of documented personal or immediate family medical emergency, when the same course is being offered on multiple dates, at the discretion of the Professional Development Coordinator. Registrations may not be transferred to another individual. Printed course materials will only be provided to those who attend the course. To request a refund or transfer, please contact Sara Dochterman at sdochter@fau.edu.

If you have any questions about Professional Development please contact Sara Dochterman at sdochter@fau.edu or 561-297-6680.