NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
PROFESSOR ROB MACFADDEN,
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO
[email protected]
www.robertmacfadden.com
INSPIRE TO REWIRE
WEBINAR
Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work
Continuing Education
University of Toronto
October 16, 23, 30th, 2013
Module 1 FUNDAMENTALS
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Training Video on the Brain
PINKY AND THE BRAIN ON THE BRAIN
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NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
NEUROSCIENCE AS A NEW PARADIGM
Demise of the mind-body split (Descarte’s Error)
Move towards integration (Mind/Body)
Biological/Psychological/Social Beings
Rise of nurture (e.g., environment, social, psychological, lifestyle)
Neuroplasticity and self-directed neuroplasticity
Mental health therapists as physical agents impacting the brain, body &
emotions of others
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NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
NEUROSCIENCE AS A NEW PARADIGM
Characteristics of the brain have a big impact on how we function. If it wasn’t
for the limitations of the brain, the mental health profession might be out of a
job.
A neuroscience perspective involves looking at how our new knowledge of
the brain and nervous system can change the way we understand problems
that clients develop and how they might be reduced or eliminated. Everything
comes through our senses to our brain and reality is constructed within the
brain. It follows that to understand how we construct “reality” we need
to know how the brain works.
Understanding the brain/body connection can reduce blame/sense of
personal failure (normalize) and engage the client in intervention (e.g., hand
puppet of the brain)
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NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
An Introduction to the Brain
Some Brain Facts:
The brain is a monstrous, beautiful mess. Its billions of nerve cells - called
neurons - lie in a tangled web that displays cognitive powers far exceeding any
of the silicon machines we have built to mimic it. - William F. Allman in
Apprentices of Wonder. Inside the Neural Network Revolution, 1989.
The brain is the most advanced and complex organ in our known universe.
1. The human brain has about 100,000,000,000 or 100 billion neurons. From the age
of 35 years about 7000 neurons are lost daily.
2. During early pregnancy the neurons in the fetus can multiply at a rate 250,000
neurons/minute.
3. Brain is composed of 75 to 80% water. Dehydration can affect proper functioning of
brain.
4. Brain consists of 60% White matter and 40% Grey matter. White is the supporting
matter and Grey is the thinking matter of the brain. If the brain was a computer the
grey matter would be the computer itself and the white matter its cables.
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NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
Some Brain Facts (Cont’d):
5. Adult brain weighs about 3 pounds or 1300 to 1400 Grams. This is about
2% of the body weight if you weigh 150 pounds or 70 kgs.
6. Although the brain only accounts for 2 percent of our body weight but it
consumes 20% of the oxygen that we breathe and roughly 20 percent of
our daily calories.
7. 15-20% of all blood pumped out of the heart goes directly to the brain.
8. All the thinking in the brain is about electricity and chemicals. The brain
is more active and thinks more at night than during the day.
From: http://www.medindia.net/health_statistics/health_facts/brain-facts.htm
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MINDFULNESS MEDITATION & NEUROSCIENCE
There is so much stimuli coming into our senses. It is estimated that our five
senses are receiving more than 11 million pieces of information per second.
It is believed we can handle about 40 pieces of information per second
consciously (Wilson, 2002).
More of these stimuli are being processed by our unconscious but most of
the incoming stimuli are not attended to consciously or unconsciously. Thus
there is enormous competition for our attention. Items that are novel, or
which threaten our survival or present opportunities for survival or those
which elicit emotions are marked for attention and memory.
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NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
Anatomy of a
neuron and a
synapse from
“Brain Facts” of
the Society for
Neuroscience,
http://www.sfn.org/
skins/main/pdf/bra
infacts/brainfacts.
pdf
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NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
Triune Brain: The Lizard, Horse and Monkey
Triune Brain (P. MacLean, 1990)
Linking the basic somatic regulatory functions of the brainstem (REPTILIAN BRAIN) with the limbic
(PALEOMAMMALIAN) circuits’ generation of affective states, motivational drives, attachment, and
appraisal of meaning and laying down of memory is a first layer of vertical integration.
Above the limbic circuitry emerged the neocortex (NEOMAMMALIAN), or “outer bark” of our evolving
brains. The posterior regions of the cortex are specialized for perception of the physical world (our first
five senses) and the body itself is registered in the more forward aspects of this posterior region. In the
frontal lobe of the cortex we have our motor and pre-motor planning areas that enable us to carry out
behaviors.
The forward most part of this frontal lobe is the prefrontal cortex. Toward the middle of the prefrontal
cortex, just behind the forehead area, are several regions that are sometimes thought to be the “higher
part” of the limbic circuitry and a core aspect of the social circuits of the brain: the orbital frontal area
behind the eyes, the medial prefrontal cortex behind the forehead, and the anterior cingulate just behind it.
These more midline structures, along with a region called the insular cortex, serve important functions in
linking body, affective state, and thought.
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NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
From Hanson, R. (2009). Buddha’s Brain.
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NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
From Hanson, R. (2009). Buddha’s
Brain.
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NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
“FLIPPING YOUR LID”
Dan Siegel’s Brain Hand Puppet from Siegel & Hartzell (2003),
Parenting from the inside out. P.173
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NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
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NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
Bi-Lateral Integration (LEFT BRAIN AND RIGHT BRAIN)
The right mode of processing:
A.Holistic – things are perceived in the whole of their essence.
B.Visuospatial – the right side works well with seeing a picture and is not proficient at decoding the
meaning of words.
C.Non-verbal – eye contact, facial expression, tone of voice, posture, gestures, and timing and
intensity of response are the non-verbal components of communication that the right mode both
sends and perceives from others.
D.A wide range of functions, including the stress response, an integrated map of the whole body,
raw, spontaneous emotion, autobiographical memory, a dominance for the non-verbal aspects of
empathy. The right mode has no problem with ambiguity and is sometimes called “analogic”
meaning it perceives a wide spectrum of meaning, not just a digital restricted definition of
something.
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NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPjhfUVgvOQ&feature=related
Siegel: Integrating the two hemispheres
Bi-Lateral Integration
(LEFT BRAIN AND RIGHT BRAIN)
The left mode of processing:
A.Linear – the left loves this sentence, one word following the next.
B.Logical – specifically syllogistic reasoning in which the left looks for cause-effect relationships in
the world.
C.Linguistic – these words are the left’s love.
D.Literal – the left takes things seriously. In addition, the left is sometimes considered the “digital”
side, with on-off, yes-no, right-wrong patterns of thinking.
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NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
LOW ROAD & HIGH ROAD
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NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
LOW ROAD & HIGH ROAD
Emotions are bodily responses that evolved to ensure our survival and they are at the
core of who we are and that they reflect “…prepackaged decisions of great complexity
(LeDoux, 1996)”. If something induces fear, for instance, the sympathetic nervous
system is activated and a cacophony of biochemical agents, and bodily changes
designed to “fight or flight” occur rapidly.
An emotional reaction can occur even before the person is consciously aware of the
threat. This immediate, “low road” to arousal has significant survival value. It is
extremely rapid and doesn’t require cognitive reflection and delay. Emotions use the
brain’s “superhighway” (Jensen, 2008a) to ensure that emotions get our priority.
Emotions can overpower cognition as we move from reflection to reaction.
A high state of arousal can be a form of “emotional hijacking” (Sprenger, 2007) and
make it difficult to remember and to think. Negative emotions, past a point, narrow our
scope of attention and thinking (Sousa, 2006).
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NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
GAS PEDAL AND BRAKES
Emotional regulation is a critical process in maintaining well-being and mental health. Our
brain contains processes alternatively described as accelerators and brakes.
The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) (fight or flight) is an example of a systemic
accelerator that puts our mind and body on a war footing. Our blood pressure increases,
pupils dilate, muscles tense, our mental focus sharpens as the brain and body are dosed
in cortisol & other brain chemicals. This is the gas pedal.
The brake is our parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) which downshifts the SNS and
begins the relaxation process. Blood pressure decreases, our breathing becomes normal
and we are able to think and problem-solve more easily. Time-outs, medications, deepbreathing, meditation, self-hypnosis are examples of other brakes. Self-soothing &
soothing by others are other types of brakes.
Continual fear, anxiety and arousal initiates the SNS & soaks our system with cortisol
and leads to states of hyper vigilance with a hyperactive amygdala, an easily aroused
SNS. More “low road” processing occurs, & emotional regulation becomes very difficult.
Chronic cortisol exposure can shrink our hippocampus & make thinking & remembering
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difficult.
NEUROSCIENCE & SOCIAL WORK PRACTICE
Video
• During the week please watch, Stroke of
Insight by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor on TED.
•
•
(don’t watch it now)
http://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_s_powerful_stroke_of_insight.html
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MINDFULNESS MEDITATION & NEUROSCIENCE
Explicit & Implicit Mental Processing Systems
THE NEW UNCONSCIOUS
Two mental processing systems which involve: memory; perceptions;
learning; emotions; action control; motivation; emotional regulation &
interpersonal behaviour.
Explicit processing system is the conscious one which is that part of us
that we believe is who we are.
It involves us consciously perceiving things, remembering things like
facts, events, and being aware of how we feel and being conscious of
taking action. It provides the history for the development of our selfidentity.
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MINDFULNESS MEDITATION & NEUROSCIENCE
Implicit Mental Processing System
• Most fundamental & occurs outside our awareness;
• We are much more about unconscious processes, yet we view
ourselves mostly as conscious creatures;
• Our 5 senses are estimated at receiving more than 11 million pieces
of information per second. We don’t have enough conscious
processing power or capacity to manage this.
• Our unconscious allows us to manage fundamental processes (e.g.,
heart beat, walking, eating, drinking) without engaging our
consciousness. Life would be impossible without our unconscious
processing.
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MINDFULNESS MEDITATION & NEUROSCIENCE
Implicit Mental Processing System
Implicit memories occur from birth on & contain emotional memories,
learnings & knowledge that have accumulated over a lifetime.
Knowledge is marked through emotions with positive or negative
valences. We remember things that help us achieve goals and things
that do not or that threaten our survival.
Most of our knowledge is implicit & most of our decisions are made
beyond our awareness. Our implicit system has speedy ways of
analyzing & making decisions. These approach/avoid learnings help us
to work through the mass of problem-solving we do each day.
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MINDFULNESS MEDITATION & NEUROSCIENCE
Implicit Mental Processing System
• Not all the implicit knowledge is good or accurate. The valences are
like biases towards and away from knowledge, so biases are normal
and lifesaving. However some biases are incorrect and can promote
stereotyping & prejudice. Some of the learning can be faulty &
destructive. Because this knowledge is below our awareness, we
may act on these beliefs without knowing.
• Researchers from Harvard and the Universities of Virginia and
Washington have been exploring these implicit biases through the
Implicit Association Test (IAT) & developing ways to identify them.
Visit http://www.tolerance.org/activity/test-yourself-hidden-bias to
explore some of your own.
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Explicit & Implicit Mental Processing Systems
Adaptive Unconscious
Conscious
Multiple Systems, different areas of brain
Single system
Older
Younger
Less easily disrupted
Easily disrupted
Here and Now orientation
More future oriented
Faster
Slower, check and balance
Automatic
Non-automatic, deliberate
More rigid
Less rigid
Uncontrollable
Controllable
Categorization
Less categorization
Unintentional
Intentional
Great pattern detector
Less great pattern detector, slower
More sensitive to negative information
More sensitive to positive information
Slow to respond to contradictions
Responds faster to contradictions
Quick appraisals- sees things quickly
Slower appraisals
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MINDFULNESS MEDITATION & NEUROSCIENCE
SELECTED READINGS
Applegate, J., & Shapiro, J. (2005). Neurobiology for clinical social work: Theory and practice. NY: W.W.
Norton & Company.
Arden, John B., & Linford, Lloyd (2009). Brain-based therapy with adults: Evidence-based treatment for
everyday practice. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Badenoch, Bonnie (2008). Being a brain-wise therapist. NY: W.W. Norton & Company.
Cameron, N., & McDermott, F. (2007). Social work and the body. Hampshire, UK: Pagrave Macmillan
Cozolino, Louis (2010). The neuroscience of psychotherapy: Healing the social brain. Second Edition. NY:
W.W. Norton & Company.
Damasio, Antonio (1999). The feeling of what happens: Body and emotion in the making of consciousness.
San Diego: Harcourt, Inc.
Damasio, Antonio (2000). Descarte's error: Emotion, reason and the human brain. NY: Quill.
Damasio, Antonio (2003). Looking for Spinoza: Joy, sorrow and the feeling brain. Orlando: Harcourt, Inc.
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MINDFULNESS MEDITATION & NEUROSCIENCE
SELECTED READINGS
Fishbane, Mona DeKoven (2013). Loving with the brain in mind: Neurobiology & couple therapy. NY:
W.W. Norton & Company.
Goleman, Daniel (2006). Social intelligence: The revolutionary new science of human relationships.
NY: Bantam Books.
Grawe, Klaus (2007). Neropsychotherapy. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.
Johnson, Harriette C. (2001). Neuroscience in social work practice and education. Journal of Social
Work Practice in the Addictions, 1(3), 81-102.
LeDoux, Joseph (1996). The emotional brain: The mysterious underpinnings of emotional life. NY:
Simon & Shuster Paperbacks.
LeDoux, Joseph (2002). Synaptic self: How our brains become who we are. NY: Penguin Books.
Saleebey, Dennis (1992). Biology's challenge to Social Work: Embodying the person-in-environment.
Social Work, 37(2), 112-118.
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MINDFULNESS MEDITATION & NEUROSCIENCE
SELECTED READINGS
Siegel, Daniel J. (2012). The developing mind: How relationships and the brain interact to shape
who we are. Second Edition. NY: Guilford Press.
Siegel, Daniel J. (2010). The mindful therapist: A clinician’s guide to mindsight and neural integration. NY:
W. W. Norton & Company.
Siegel, Daniel J. (2010). Mindsight: the new science of personal transformation. New York: Bantam
Books.
Siegel, Daniel J., & Hartzwell, Mary (2003). Parenting from the inside out: How a deeper selfunderstanding can help you raise children who thrive. NY: Penguin.
Siegel, Daniel (2007). The mindful brain: Reflection and attunement in the cultivation of well-being. NY:
W.W. Norton & Company.
Wilkinson, Margaret (2010). Changing minds in therapy: Emotion, attachment, trauma & neurobiology.
NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
Wilson, Timothy D. (2002). Strangers to ourselves: Discovering the adaptive unconscious. Cambridge:
The Belnap Press of Harvard University Press.
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Module 1 - Dr. Robert J. MacFadden