The Brain’s Potential Seminar

What a day and what a seminar. First, I have to say that the fear and tension I had when I wrote my post yesterday all dissipated after getting there. And then I felt foolish for being so worried. BUT…then I thought, heck I am learning and I am sharing what I learning. The drive was nothing because I planned a great route. As we crossed over the expressway I saw from the overpass that it was backed up. Turns out that one of the fellow participants said it was backed up and that was why she was late. HA! My route was smart because I avoided the mess. Double HA! (Yes I am sort of celebrating this small victory) We got one of the last parking spots at the hotel. We got registered in plenty of time and went in to a half full room. And who do I see sitting there but my mentor and therapist, John. You know how you do not expect to see someone and it throws you? But of course it made perfect sense he would attend this. I surpassed this small group of phobias and honestly felt that it was an accomplishment that will help me the next time I want to go to something. The drive home was absolutely easy and my rider and I had a wonderful chat.
The Seminar was “Noxious People: Living and Working with High-Conflict Individuals. If I had only gone by the title, I would say it was about difficult conversations which has been done to death. This was much more clinical. The objective included diagnosis criteria, empirical findings regarding the etiology of the toxic personality, and strategic evidence based approach. The presenter, Dr. Dennis Marikis was wonderful. I was taken by him in the first two minutes. He is a gifted presenter. He certainly knows how to hold an audience because the whole day was listening to him talk. It was not boring for a moment.
He got into the characteristics of noxious people by explaining behavioral traits. This seminar was focused on the therapist/caregiver interaction with this type of client or patient. As he ran through the laundry list, I felt a heavy weight come over me. As he listed problematic situations with clients I thought, “Oh, MY GOD, I am like that…or I have done that…” Then I thought many in the room had probably one or more of the traits he was talking about. It was the extreme or when the therapeutic relationship becomes compromised that there is an issue. He talked about patients who had crossed the line and about how the therapist/clinician needs to set boundaries. I admit, I was thinking about who was sitting behind me…..I thought about my Friday afternoon conversations. I will have to address my concerns with them.
I had heard this before from my reading, but he mentioned how significant it was for the therapist to have been in therapy themselves. “Physician, heal thy self.” He mentioned later another concept that there was better healing potential when the therapist has empathy because they had been through similar experiences as their patients. That coming from similar situations helps with empathetic listening and compassionate therapy.
Then he went on to talk about building resilience by facing fears. Ha, I thought, did that, been there! Of course, there is a lot more work for me to do on that. He talked about givers and takers at work and how the giver actually outlasts takers. Surprised me. He talked about causes and correlations to behavior including dysfunctional families and that impact. He got into the biological factors and the brain function and how the amygdala, prefrontal cortex and the limbic system all work. This was the process John had taught me about with his Associative Awareness Therapy. I think it is amazing how the brain functions. It directs our emotions and reactions and causes physical manifestations produced from this process not working in a current mode or in the as he explained the now. In other words how thoughts or cues cause a physical reaction such as pain based on the brains response from past trauma and what part of the brain the thought triggers. And by reprogramming the brain process we can eliminate disease and issues. What amazing and complex beings we are.
He talked about acceptance of pain. I am not sure how I felt about that. I get what he said about accepting the pain as part of your life and not medicating it to the point of the drugs not working. His theory about pain being part of your life is true and that there is some form of acceptance necessary to continue with a joyful life. But I am not sure at what point this acceptance needs to be. I do not accept all my pain because it limits me so much. I was to the point where it almost stopped me and there are days when it flattens me. But I have to continue. This is a discussion I want to have with someone I see on Monday afternoon.
It was a packed lecture and he continued with personality disorders. He explained in great depth the different profiles such as paranoid, anti-social and borderline. It was interesting because the group I was with had just had a wonderful discussion at lunch about entitlement and the anti-social behaviors existing in our society. His talk was eye opening especially when he delved into bullying in the workplace. And although it is not the first time I have heard it, in his context his comments about how to deal with bullies really hit home.
And then the whole seminar shifted for me. It went from clinical to mindfulness. I had hoped it would come around to a less clinical discussion. He talked about coping strategies. He talked about healthy behaviors and how to have balance. He talked about building relationships and managing your emotional intelligence with a blend of compassion and empathy. He talked at length about forgiveness and letting go, both process I am working very hard on. He talked about the attachment of grieving which was something MarDrag had just talked about last week. He talked about being in the present and dialectical behavior therapy such as mindfulness, acceptance and mood regulation. On my notes I wrote…”Just be.”
Dr. Marikis did a couple of meditations with us. I was surprised to see how many people in the room embraced meditation. My co-worker actually participated which surprised me because she does not often attest to “woo woo stuff like that.” I was smiling because I thought, here was a room of over 150 clinicians and they are practicing meditating for healing. Maybe there is hope to change the medical world. I was thrilled to think there were eight of us from my work who would maybe support some new ideas for home care. It was a long day but fulfilling and rewarding in many ways. I ran into a close high school friend (a very close friend from forty plus years ago.) We had seen each other at a gathering of our high school clan two years ago and then lost touch again. So we made a dinner date. I have a good feeling about this. It was funny because she was recently on my mind….and there she was. I am not doing justice to this seminar as it was full of wonderful teaching and information. I am so glad I went. I am proud of my small accomplishment in driving and the reward was a wonderful day.


3 thoughts on “The Brain’s Potential Seminar

  1. I love your last sentence too. A “small” accomplishment that wields great power in your life! Congratulations! The seminar sounds like it was wonderful and packed full of great information. Can’t wait to hear more. Blessings!

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