Loving with the Brain in Mind: A Relational-Neurobiological Approach to Couple Therapy

Presenter: Mona Fishbane, Ph.D.

CEUs: 14

Distressed couples often get caught up in mutual blame and cycles of emotional reactivity. This workshop explores the psychodynamic, interpersonal, intergenerational, cultural, and neurobiological processes that shape these cycles. Based on the latest studies from neuroscience as well as relationship research, Dr. Fishbane presents an integrative approach that empowers couples to transform their interpersonal dynamics. Interventions are offered to increase skills of social and emotional intelligence, including emotion regulation, empathy, equality, respect, and generosity. The workshop highlights the tension between kneejerk reactivity (driven by the emotional brain) and a more thoughtful ability to choose to live according to goals and values (powered by the higher brain). We will focus on ways to help partners become proactive lovers, as they work to co-author their relationship together.

The second day of the workshop will focus on intergenerational factors that fuel couple distress; unfinished business from the past can haunt couples and shape their reactivity with each other. Dr. Fishbane will propose interventions to help clients “wake from the spell of childhood,” heal old intergenerational wounds, and transform current relationships with family of origin. This process often facilitates relational empowerment and healing in the couple as well as the intergenerational family.

Throughout both days of the workshop, the dynamics of habit and change will be a central concern, informed by research on neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to change. Why is change so hard in adulthood? Why are clients “resistant” in therapy? The brain is wired for habit, and neuroplasticity in the adult brain, while possible, can be challenging. Dr. Fishbane will integrate insights from interpersonal neurobiology, research on couple relationships, and her many years of clinical experience in exploring the dynamics of change in couple therapy. She will explore evidence-based techniques to facilitate neuroplasticity, offering new insights into the development of relationship plasticity.

Day 1:
From Reactivity to Empowerment in Couple Therapy

Day 2:
Healing Intergenerational Wounds

Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to:

Identify & diagram couple’s vulnerability cycle Work with clients’ emotional reactivity using techniques informed by neuroscience

Facilitate neuroplasticity (the ability of the brain to change) and relational change in the couple

Help partners become more relationally empowered, increasing empathy, connection, 


Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 9:00am to 5:00pm

FAU Boca Raton Campus, Student Union Majestic Palm Room 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431

Event Type

Lecture, Lectures, colloquia, seminars, etc., Workshops/trainings






$295 until January 28; $345 thereafter

College for Design and Social Inquiry


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