Vancouver BC Short Courses

Complex Integration of Multiple Brain Systems (CIMBS)


Working with Neuroplasticity, Unconscious Anxiety and the Underlying Approach Activations

Two day Psychotherapy Short Course

September 24th and 25th, 2011

Workshop has been approved for 12 hours of CEUs.

Participatory Training Course

Maximum of 27 Participants


Beatriz Winstanley, M.Ed. Psych.

Albert Sheldon, M.D.

Dates: Saturday and Sunday, September 24th and 25th, 2011

Time: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Location: Holiday Inn Broadway

Wheelchair accessible

711 West Broadway

Vancouver BC

Unconscious Anxiety

One of the major obstacles to success and efficiency in psychotherapy is Unconscious Anxiety.  What do we mean by Unconscious Anxiety?  Our Nervous System is constantly protecting us from dangers of which we are not consciously aware. Often our nervous system is unconsciously and habitually protecting us from emotional or relational dangers that we experienced developmentally which are no longer valid. For example, we might unconsciously avoid being emotionally open in relationships because we feel unsafe , and feeling unsafe will cause us to have problems in relationships or avoid relationships all together.  This kind of implicit learning gives rise to Unconscious Anxiety and symptoms of passivity, depression, or reactivity.  In this course we will be learning how to assess, differentiate, regulate and treat Unconscious Anxiety.

We will initially look at the neuroscience and theory behind this approach to working with Unconscious Anxiety.  There will be clinical demonstrations by carefully reviewing videorecordings of therapy sessions.   We will learn a number of therapeutic approaches to regulate the unconscious anxiety in the therapeutic process.  And then we will explore a variety of interventions to treat unconscious anxiety throughout a therapy   session.  There will also be role-play exercises for each of the participants to experience how to assess and treat unconscious anxiety in therapy sessions each day.

Positive Activations

On the second day we will expand the exploration of Unconscious Anxiety by attending to underlying Positive Activations.   Most of the Unconscious Anxiety that is present in therapy comes from ‘top-down’ implicit learning from early development.  In order to effectively work in therapy we want to be able to access the ‘bottom-up’ experiences that are uniquely transpiring in the ‘present moment’.   Many of these ‘present moment’ experiences are unconscious Positive Activations.  For example, the patient may be curious about what they are experiencing at this ‘present moment’ even as they feel afraid that they will be judged by the therapist.  We will demonstrate and give the participants opportunities to learn how to utilize the wisdom and to access the energy of Positive Activations in psychotherapy.

Learning Objectives:

1] How to detect and assess Unconscious Anxiety.

2] Increased skills in regulating and treating Unconscious Anxiety

3] How to identify the unconscious Approach Activations

Complex Integration of Multiple Brain Systems: [CIMBS]

This approach integrates recent neuroscience research on neuroplasticity, brain development, and therapeutic change. Dr Sheldon and Ms Winstanley have been developing new experiential teaching approaches to enable therapists to incorporate [even embody] this wisdom into their own therapeutic work.

Workshop Leaders:

Albert Sheldon M.D. is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Washington, Seattle and has taught psychotherapy for 20 years. He has trained in many psychotherapeutic modalities including CBT, EMDR, hypnosis, group therapy, systems oriented therapy, psychodynamic, and in short-term dynamic psychotherapy. Dr Sheldon received a three year Bush Medical Fellowship to pursue research in psychotherapy.

Beatriz Winstanley M.Ed.Psych. graduated from McGill University, Montreal where she also completed postgraduate specialization in Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy. She has had her clinical practice in Vancouver, BC for 25 years. Ms Winstanley has trained and supervised clinical counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists for the past 10 years.

Dr Sheldon and Ms. Winstanley were both clinical investigators in a recently published multi-centered evidence based research study of Short-Term Dynamic Psychotherapy. Now they have joined together to pioneer a different therapeutic paradigm.

Workshop Agenda: September 24th and 25th

Day One:

8:30 – 9:00 Registration

9:00 – 10:00 Introductions and Establishing our Group Process

10:00 – 11:00 Defining and Exploring Unconscious Anxiety

11:00 – 11:15 Coffee Break

11:15 – 12:15 Demonstrations of therapeutic approaches to Unconscious Anxiety  [Video recordings of clinical vignettes

12:15 – 1:15 Lunch

1:15 – 2:15 Exercises for therapists to practice working with Unconscious anxiety

2:15 – 3:15 Role-play demonstration of working with Unconscious Anxiety

3:15 – 3:30 Coffee Break

3:30 – 4:30 Summarization and group Process.

Day two:

9:00 – 10:00 What are approach Activations.

10:00 – 11:00 Differentiating Unconscious Anxiety and Approach Activations.

11:00 – 11:15 Coffee Break

11:15 – 12:15  Demonstrations of Unconscious Anxiety and Approach Activations

12:15 – 1:15 Lunch

1:15 – 2:15 Exercises. Practice working with Approach activations

2:15 – 3:15 Role-play demonstration. Differentiating Approach Activations

3:15 – 3:30 Coffee Break

3:30 – 4:30 Summarization; group processing and discussion.

The International Experiential Dynamic Therapy Association is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists IEDTA maintains responsibility for the

Program and its content

IEDTA (provider #4796) is approved by the California Board of Behavioral Science to provide 12 continuing education units for MFTs and LCSWs in California. The course meets the qualifications for 16 hours of continuing education credits for MTFs and LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.

Registration Form:



City__________  Province___________  Postal Code______



Profession____________  License #_______________

Registration fee:  early $330 if postmarked 14 days before conference

Regular fee  $350

make checks payable to:   Beatriz Winstanley

c/0 Beatriz Winstanley

601 West Broadway  Ste 302

Vancouver, BC  v5z 4c2


tel:  604-737-4868

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