Modern approaches to trauma tend to focus on the psychopathology of adverse experience. However, trauma exposure is not the only contributor to posttraumatic suffering. Trauma will be described as a normal part of human experience, with chronic posttraumatic suffering more likely when trauma-related memories, thoughts, and feelings are experienced as unacceptable and overwhelming, and then excluded from awareness through thought suppression, behavioral avoidance, distraction, or numbing. Yet, research indicates that avoiding pain actually increases symptoms and distress, and directly experiencing and allowing pain ultimately reduces its power. This Pain Paradox, long appreciated in Buddhist psychology, suggests a reworking of traditional therapeutic models so that awareness can increase in the context of carefully titrated engagement with — and less encumbered consideration of – painful history. John Briere will outline the clinical implications of this perspective, emphasizing the role of mindfulness, metacognitive awareness, and a compassion-focused therapeutic relationship.
- Define the Pain Paradox
- Describe how mindfulness can support therapeutic exposure
- Discuss the therapeutic relevance of the ancient Buddhist suggestion that we “invite our pain to tea.”
October 24 @ 10:00
10:00 — 11:35 (1h 35′)
John Briere, PhD