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Linda Graham — Bouncing Back: The Neuroscience of Coping with Disappointment, Difficulty, Disaster

Bouncing Back: The Neuroscience of Coping with Disappointment, Difficulty, even Disaster a 2019 Cape Cod Institute workshop led by Linda Graham, June 18-22, 2019

Linda Graham

Bouncing Back: The Neuroscience of Coping with Disappointment, Difficulty, even Disaster
June 17-21, 2019

Dealing effectively with challenges and crises is the core of resilience and well-being.  Helping clients develop flexible and adaptive strategies for coping with everyday disappointments, existential dread, and extraordinary disasters is the heart of the therapeutic process. Helping clients harness the brain’s processes of change to rewire coping strategies that are defensive, dysfunctional, and blocking of growth, and to encode new more flexible patterns of response, is the focus of this workshop.

Modern neuroscience is teaching us how to use the brain’s innate neuroplasticity to rewire coping behaviors, even when they are seemingly “stuck” and intractable.  Clinicians will learn through didactics, experiential exercises, and group discussions, which tools and techniques of brain change best help clients reverse the impact of stress and trauma, come out of anxiety, depression, grief, loneliness, guilt and shame, deepen the self-compassion and empathy that connect them to their inner resources, strengthen the resonant relationships that foster perseverance, and shift their perspectives through mindful awareness to discern options and make wise choices.

Participants will learn to apply these tools and techniques, which underlie the therapeutic modalities they are already familiar with – Internal Family Systems, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, AEDP, DBT, EFT – to four intelligences - somatic, emotional, relational, reflective - and recover the natural resilience that supports well-being and flourishing.  Clinicians will also learn to apply these tools to their own brain care as self-care to avoid compassion fatigue and burnout.

Basics of Neuroscience of Resilience

  • Evolutionary context

  • Impact of attachment conditioning, including early developmental trauma, on brain functioning and resilience

  • The power of neural deconsolidation-reconsolidation to create new neural pathways and rewire traumatic memories

  • Executive functions of the pre-frontal cortex – the brain’s CEO of resilience

  • Lifestyle choices that promote neurogenesis, accelerate brain change, and prevent-reduce-reverse cognitive decline

Somatic Intelligence

  • Body-based tools to regulate the nervous system’s automatic survival responses, and return the body-brain to its natural physiological equilibrium

  • Use of the brain’s social engagement system to manage surges of emotions, generate a neuroception of safety, and prime the brain’s plasticity-receptivity to learning


Emotional Intelligence

  • Practices of mindful empathy and self-acceptance to antidote the brain’s negativity bias, heal toxic shame, and retire the inner critic

  • Cultivating positive, pro-social emotions to shift the functioning of the brain out of contraction and reactivity to more openness, receptivity, the bigger picture

  • Exercises to manage signal anxiety when facing the new or the unknown

Relational Intelligence

  • Tools to help clients recover the internal secure base of earned secure attachment

  • Teach clients skills of resonant relationships: reaching out for help, setting limits and boundaries, repairing ruptures, resolving conflicts, negotiating change, that allow them to navigate their world with skill and love

  • The impact of digital technology on the brain, on relationships, on resilience

Reflective Intelligence

  • Practices of mindfulness – knowing what you’re experiencing while you’re experiencing it - that strengthen the brain’s response flexibility that leads to therapeutic change

  • Tools to notice, name and tolerate what’s happening and reactions to what’s happening, to step back and unpack thoughts, emotions, “rules,” belief systems, to shift perspectives and discern options 

  • Tools to create the coherent narrative of experience that leads to post-traumatic growth

Linda Graham

Linda Graham

Linda Graham, MFT, is an experienced psychotherapist in the San Francisco Bay Area and leads trainings internationally on the emerging integration of relational psychology, mindfulness, and neuroscience. She is the author of Resilience: Powerful Practices for Bouncing Back from Disappointment, Difficulty, and Even Disaster (New World Library, 2018) and Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience (New World Library, 2013) and publishes weekly Resources for Recovering Resilience archived at

See / Hear Linda Graham

What our alumni are saying:

"Linda Graham is knowledgeable, organized, personable and accessible"

"Linda has been a wonderful teacher, generous, empathic, willing to be vulnerable, interlacing gentle humor with information. Linda has been truly authentic and somehow connected with our whole group in a way that individuals could feel her warmth.”

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NJ Social Workers:

Social workers completing this course will receive 15 General Social Work Practice continuing education credits. ASWB ACE Individual Course approval statements can be found here.

For all other CE information:

Please visit our CE page and search by discipline.