Improving Outcomes in Exposure Therapy through the Science of the Physiology of Emotions

A Workshop with Dr. Raja Selvam, PhD

Exposure therapy, based on principles of classical conditioning, is an evidence-based treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, not all clients might be able to cope with intense emotional and physical reactions from prolonged exposure that research shows is optimal for ensuring successful outcomes. The clients who have low levels of affect tolerance or are prone to physiological dysregualtion are more likely to decompensate, dysregulate, shut down, dissociate, or discontinue treatment.

Integral Somatic Psychology (ISP) can help clients undergoing exposure therapy to cope with the intensity of experiences during prolonged exposure using their body as a container. ISP utilizes the science of a) the physiology of emotions and of b) the physiology of biological regulation to regulate the brain and body physiology to create a greater capacity in clients to cope psychologically and physiologically with the intense emotions that can arise in response to the stimuli employed in Exposure therapy. The increase in capacity to manage intense emotional and physical responses during exposure can decrease the chance that any client undergoing Exposure therapy would decompensate or quit treatment and increase the chance of a successful outcome. ISP can therefore be a valuable adjunct to those all who practice Exposure therapy.

ISP can also help therapists deal better with difficult emotional and physical reactions that arise in the countertransference, something that research shows can make therapists reluctant to practice Exposure therapy. From ISP, therapists can also learn how to develop and utilize inter-personal resonance through their body and use it to regulate unbearable experiences in themselves and in their clients.

ISP is taught in over a dozen countries around the world and has also been found effective among tsunami survivors in India and survivors of war, violence, loss, and displacement in Sri Lanka. In this four-day workshop, you can learn from Dr. Raja Selvam, PhD the benefits of this approach to your practice of Exposure therapy through theoretical presentations, live demonstrations, and daily practice with fellow participants,. Workshop participants also have the option of taking two other workshops from Dr. Selvam to receive a certificate of completion in Integral Somatic Psychology.

Bio: Dr. Raja Selvam, PhD is a senior trainer in Peter Levine’s Somatic Experiencing (SE) professional trauma trainings and the developer of the Integral Somatic Psychology (ISP) approach, an advanced training for experienced clinicians for improving clinical outcomes through greater embodiment of all aspects of experience such as cognition and emotion and all levels of the psyche including energy and consciousness. He teaches in as many as twenty countries in Asia, Europe, North and South Americas, and the Middle East. His website is

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