Deep Brain Reorienting, Frank Corrigan, Elmfield Institute, Armagh, Northern Ireland

Deep Brain Reorienting with Frank Corrigan

Sunday 20th October - 8.30am to 5:30pm

Venue: 23 Moyallan Road, Gilford

Contact: Jane Shaw


Sun 20th October 2019

Deep Brain Reorienting with Frank Corrigan

This is a co-produced event with PCPSI.


This workshop is designed to give an introduction to Deep Brain Reorienting (DBR), a clinical method for the treatment of attachment conflicts and traumatic experiences. Progress in therapy can be impeded in some clients by the consequences of early attachment disruption or by an energetic shock at the time of unresolved trauma. DBR may be of interest to experienced trauma psychotherapists seeking an additional approach for such clients.

The approach is based in the observation that the earliest responses in attachment are dependent on the processing of sensory stimuli related to significant others. The brainstem base for this Innate Connection System is in the midbrain structures, specifically the Superior Colliculi (SC) and the Periaqueductal Gray (PAG), which are also at the heart of the brain’s Innate Defensive System. Therefore the tendency to approach others for connection involves a system which readily engages defensive responses if there is any threat experienced in the interaction. This can lead to conflicted responding held in implicit memories at a very deep brain level.

The relevant neuroanatomy and functioning of the midbrain superior colliculi (SC), the adjacent periaqueductal gray (PAG), and the ascending monoamine systems from the brainstem activated by emotionally salient stimuli, especially those of a relational nature, will be outlined.

The implications for the body’s holding of conflicted attachment tendencies, often made complex at a very early developmental stage when the cortex is not fully mature, will be discussed; these can explain some of the apparently contradictory aspects of dissociative and borderline presentations in adults.

The method outlined for the processing of these relational conflicts through the identification of sequences running consecutively or in parallel has relevance also for the healing of clinically unresolved trauma memories. The detailed components of the physiological sequences that have been stored in somatic memory following emotionally significant events and interactions will be described.

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the neuroscientific underpinning of the DBR model
  2. Understand the proximity – anatomical and functional – of the Innate Connection and the Innate Defensive Systems
  3. Understand the clinical indications for application of DBR in healing from attachment shocks and traumatic experiences
  4. List the components of the brainstem sequences holding implicit memories
  5. Explain deep attachment conflicts held in opponent action tendencies in the brainstem
  6. Differentiate the elements of those conflicted sequences – even those that appear to be simultaneous