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Neurobiology of Trauma – TSM workshop | 13 – 15 December 2019 Zagreb, Croatia

We now know that people who have experienced traumatic events have significant changes in the neurobiology of their brain. The right brain, which holds emotions, relationship information, unprocessed trauma in the form of flashbacks, body memories, intrusive thoughts, and dissociated feelings, is always turned on by an overactive amygdala. Meanwhile, the left brain’s coherent function, which provides meaning and helps people stay in the here and now, is interrupted by stress hormones as the result of the danger signals from the hypothalamus. Most recently, research has shown that much more of the brain develops through interpersonal interaction showing changes in the brain in the poly-vagal nerve, and in other deeper brain structures than were previously thought to exist.

This course specifically teaches the Neurobiology of PTSD in Action. We examine many simulated as well as real situations, with participants bringing their own and clients’ stories to the group. Using the Brain in Action, a unique TSM way of demonstrating the neurobiological changes in the brain, allows people a visual learning tool that helps translate the often-difficult language of interpersonal neurobiology into a simple action structure.

This workshop also teaches specific TSM interventions to address the very primal defenses against trauma, including the Body Double (BD) created by TSI Trainer, Linda Ciotola, M.Ed, TEP (Burden & Ciotola, 2002).  The BD is a role that attunes the client to their own bodily sensations, thoughts, and feelings in order to provide self-regulation, self-soothing, and narrative labeling.  The BD was developed to decrease dissociation and help people experience their body in a healthy way, even during a flashback or body memory, and helps calm and soothe them.

Participants Learn:

  • The most recent research on the brain and attachment as affected by trauma.
  • Why experiential treatment is the treatment of choice for trauma and other stress related disorders, including addictions and eating disorders.
  • The structures and processes of both the healthy and traumatized brain shown through the Brain in Action.
  • The TSM Body Double clinical action intervention module.
  • Applied applications in the setting of choice.
  • early registration until 1st October – 250€
  • registration between 1st October – 1st December – 300€
  • late registration from 1st December – 350 €
To register please fill out this link –

Workshop will be in English, no translation. 

For more information or questions, please write to


What is TSM?

The Therapeutic Spiral Model (TSM) is a form of clinically-modified psychodrama used for the safe and effective treatment of trauma. Since the inception of TSM in 1992, thousands of people around the world have benefited from its application. TSM addresses trauma resulting from physical/emotional abuse, childhood sexual abuse, rape and sexual assault, ethnic conflict, torture and other forms of political violence. TSM is based on the premise that survivors of trauma need to be adequately resourced with a set of roles that can be internalized for greater awareness, resilience, and post-traumatic growth. Only when this is accomplished can survivors fully explore, understand, and release themselves from the debilitating impact of traumatic events. read more ->

This is an acknowledged and research-supported method of using clinically modified psychodrama and experiential psychotherapy to treat trauma with individuals, groups, and communities who present with symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, or depression.  It has also been applied to addictions and eating disorders, as well as to uses in education, theater, community building, business, and law. 

TSI offers a comprehensive training program in TSM psychodrama to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and its aftermath that when completed fulfill the TSI requirements for International Certification in Trauma Therapy.  This training is for mental health care professionals, educators, community organizers, business persons, lawyers, or volunteers who wish to learn or improve their skills in working with people who are highly stressed or suffer from PTSD.

Spontaneity and creativity are the curative agents of change when using psychodramatic methods and TSM to treat trauma (Hudgins & Toscani, 2013). Spontaneity, from a psychodrama view, is the ability to change a repetitive behavioral reaction to an old situation or adapt an appropriate behavior to a new situation. Using this definition of spontaneity, then, means that different interventions are therapeutically indicated with different clients and symptoms. This emphasis on spontaneity and creativity as the change agent is an ideal antidote for trauma survivors who are often depleted physically and emotionally and constricted in their behavioral repertoire. Thus, TSM guarantees resilience and prevents retraumatization with experiential methods.

Because of the use of demonstrations, supervised technique practice, and full TSM Psychodramas, skills are developed quickly and effectively. In addition, all participants have the opportunity to focus on their personal issues and to assist with others’ healing.  Often people start with attendance at a personal growth workshop for professionals to experience TSM for themselves and to meet the requirement for a personal experience in addition to the training requirements.

All courses will have handouts and supplemental readings. Since this is an experiential method, the majority of the learning is in action with demonstrations, live supervision, protagonist-centered psychodramas, sociodrama, and Playback Theatre.