Trauma and dissociation: the role of the midbrain in symptoms and in therapy.  This webinar was canceled due to the war invasion of russia in Ukraine in 24 of Fabruary 2022

Seminar Frank Corrigan

Dear colleagues

We invite You to participate in online webinar  by Frank Corrigan “Trauma and dissociation: the role of the midbrain in symptoms and in therapy” 

This webinar  are introductory to the more deep and detailed 7-8 hours training on DBR-therapy, which we are planning to set in future.



Deep Brain Reorienting (DBR)


Deep Brain Reorienting (DBR) is a trauma psychotherapy which has been developed mainly for the treatment of attachment shock; but it can also be applied to the processing of other unresolved traumatic experiences. The indication that past events continue to have an impact is that there are clinically significant symptoms which would not be present if the experiences had not occurred.


There are well-researched trauma psychotherapies which offer hope of full recovery as they are not dependent on top-down management of symptoms. These transformational approaches rely on the human brain having an inherent ability to find healing from emotional trauma when the memory of the initiating event is approached in a specific way. However, it can often be difficult to get to the core of an adverse experience to liberate this healing flow. Sometimes it is difficult because return to the event is emotionally overwhelming and there is a protective tendency to turn attention away from the memory as soon as possible. Sometimes there is a more evident dissociation from the present-day experience through numbing, blanking out, shutting down, or switching into a self-state like that which occurred at the time of the original trauma. Sometimes there has been a shock – before the emotions became intense – which replays so fast that it is easily missed during treatment. More commonly it is because the original experience that was so disturbing has been covered in layers of thoughts and feelings and distressing re-experiencing. It may also have been compounded by relational problems which themselves were precipitated by the continuing distress.


Deep Brain Reorienting (DBR) aims to access the core of the traumatic experience in a way which tracks the original physiological sequence in the brainstem, the part of the brain which is rapidly online in situations of danger or attachment disruption – or both, as an experience of abandonment in infancy will likely also involve appropriate fears for survival. The first structure capable of initiating a movement response is the superior colliculus (SC), which can direct eye movements. The SC also prepares the head for turning by bringing in tension in the muscles of the neck. This orienting tension, although often fleeting and unnoticed, is a major component of DBR. The focus on face and neck tension arising from turning attention to the memory of the traumatic event, or to whatever has been the present-day trigger, gives an anchor in the part of the memory sequence that occurred before the shock or emotional overwhelm that is leading to the continuing symptoms. Deepening awareness into the orienting tension provides an anchor for grounding in the present so that the mind is not swept away by the high intensity emotions; nor does it divert into a compartment holding a self-state frozen in time in which contact with the present is lost. Although the theory is simple the practice of DBR can be difficult. It does not work for everyone. Therapists who will find it most useful are those who use transformational trauma therapy approaches that are body-based, or “bottom-up”. These approaches do not rely on restructuring of thoughts or meanings at a complex verbal level for “top-down” control of symptoms, not do they rely on exposure for establishing cortical control of fear responses.

Clinical applications

It is well-recognised that traumatic experiences can lead to the development of the full syndrome of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with its characteristic intrusive features, such as flashbacks and nightmares, and attempts to avoid triggers to further distress. In more complex forms of PTSD there may be more derealisation and depersonalisation, consistent with the brain’s attempts to avoid being overwhelmed by shock and horror, and by intense affects of fear, rage, grief, or shame. The more dissociative forms of PTSD occur when there has been early life attachment disruption preceding other traumatic experience. Dissociative disorders may arise from early life separation experiences experienced as painful and unresolved even when there has been no later abuse. The pain of aloneness may be an internal driver of defensive and affective responses and may thus contribute to difficulties in regulating emotions. Any such difficulty may lead to efforts to control distress through substance abuse, eating disorders, or self-harm – or it may be expressed through troublesome anxiety or mood disturbance. It is not so much the clinical presentation which is important for DBR – but whether there is an underlying event or experience at the origin of the distress.

Hypothetical basis of DBR

The hypotheses have been described in a paper published in the journal Medical Hypotheses by Frank Corrigan and Jessica Christie-Sands:

Corrigan, F.M., Christie-Sands, J. (2020). An innate brainstem self-other system involving orienting, affective responding, and polyvalent relational seeking: Some clinical implications for a “Deep Brain Reorienting” trauma psychotherapy approach. Medical Hypotheses, 136, 109502.

© Frank Corrigan January 2021



The webinar is intended for psychologists, psychotherapists, psychiatrists and anyone interested in the topic of trauma and dissociative disorders.

Conditions of participation

Frank Corrigan
Frank Corrigan, MD source , began his training in psychiatry in 1977 and was an NHS Consultant Psychiatrist in Scotland from 1985 until 2018, latterly working part-time as a specialist provider of trauma psychotherapy. He now works in private practice in Glasgow and specialises in complex trauma and dissociative disorders. Frank is a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (FRCPsych) and a Member of the General Medical Council (GMC). He is also an EMDR Europe Approved Consultant.
After training in EMDR in 1999 he was, until recently, an accredited practitioner and consultant with the EMDR Association (UK & Ireland). He is the co-author of “Neurobiology and treatment of traumatic dissociation” (Lanius, UF, Paulsen, SL, & Corrigan FM, Springer, New York, 2014) and of “The Comprehensive Resource Model” (Schwarz, L, Corrigan, F, Hull, A, & Raju, R, Routledge, London, 2017). The hypotheses underlying DBR were set out in a paper co-authored with Jessica Christie-Sands in Medical Hypotheses (2020, 136, 109502).
Frank source is a highly skilled Consultant Psychiatrist and Neuroscientist with over 30 years clinical and academic experience in various areas of mental health. He combines his extensive clinical experience with research on the neurobiology of trauma and its underpinnings in major psychiatric disorders. His research broadly explores the intersection between affective neuroscience and the science of healing. Drawing on his fluent understanding of the brain, his work brings interior and exterior empiricism into a series of hypotheses that invites us to rethink the dialogue between therapist and client within the context of the nervous system. His work offers us new ways of thinking about how the nervous system organises in relationships, which helps in understanding why some of our clients with trauma histories remain stuck both in therapy and in life.
His treatment philosophy is fundamentally relational and seeks to embed the vital links between mind, brain and body in the therapy. In his clinical work, he emphasises the importance of tracking physiological arousal states and their expression through subtle shifts in body-based defensive patterns. Frank believes that it is not possible to override state driven affective and defensive patterns without building a scaffold of neurobiological resources as a vital regulatory intervention and utilizing the wisdom of the body as a restorative bridge to healing.
Throughout his career, Frank has been dedicated to exploring innovative methods for working with trauma and severe dissociative disorders along with a range of other complex mental health difficulties. His commitment to understanding the unfolding impact of trauma on developing brain systems led him to undertake extensive training in various therapeutic approaches and techniques including; Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Clinical Hypnosis, Lifespan Integration, EMDR, Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (Level 1), Brainspotting and Resource Brainspotting. More recently he has also undertaking advanced training in Comprehensive Resource Model (CRM) as well as Neurofeedback training.
He is a co-author of ‘Neurobiology and Treatment of Traumatic Dissociation: Towards an Embodied Self (Lanius et al., 2014), along with numerous other scientific papers. His most recent book is ’The Comprehensive Resource Model: Effective Techniques for Healing Complex Trauma’ co-written with Lisa Schwarz and Dr Alastair Hull published 2016. This book offers a vital contribution to scientifically-informed clinical practice. He is currently involved in a major research project with Dr Ruth Lanius (Professor of Psychiatry and Director of PTSD Research Unit at Western University in London, Ontario) using brain imaging to explore the possible neural mechanisms underpinning complex trauma and treatment outcomes specifically in relation to CRM as a key therapeutic intervention.
His current research on the role of the seeking system in mediating the urge to attach is invaluable in helping us understand the unfolding impacts of early impaired bonding experiences in shaping the attachment capabilities of the children, young people and adults who access our services.
Registration and payment
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The amount in UAH may change when the euro exchange rate rises.
Еhe real equivalent of €55 remains unchanged.
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