Educational workshop: neuroscience-based psychiatry

About the Educational Workshop

The conference will be accompanied by the Educational Workshop on Neuroscience-based psychiatry (EWNP). The Workshop is primarily designed for psychiatry and neurology residents and clinical psychologists in training, however students and interested professionals are welcome to attend as well.

The Workshop will cover four main topics in two successive sessions, time-coordinated with the scientific programme of the SNC'17, to enable EWNP participants' attendance at the Friday plenary talk and their socialising with the SNC'17 participants during the lunch and coffee breaks by the posters.

Each two-hour session of the EWNP will cover two topics, each topic being first presented by an introductory talk followed by interactive discussion of illustrative cases with active audience participation.

Friday, 29 September | Hall II

EWNP Programme: Session I


Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
Bojana Avguštin Avčin

BPD is a serious mental illness marked by unstable moods, behavior, and relationships. People with a borderline level of personality organization have a fragmented sense of self and others. As a consequence they don't have a consistent view of themselves or others, over time and across situations which results in severe and repetitive problems. The rates of co-occurring disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, along with self-harm, suicidal behaviors, and completed suicides are high. People with BPD can recover! Psychotherapy is the most important component in the treatment, leading to large reductions in symptoms that persist over time. Over the past 2 decades, many forms of psychotherapy have been developed specifically to treat the disorder.

Psychotic disorders
Borut Škodlar

Psychotherapy of psychotic disorders with its diverse methods and strategies can be related and mutually enriched by the neurobiological and neurocognitive findings, such as disturbances of automatic, pre-conscious processes (e.g. salience etc.) and conscious, volitional processes (e.g. executive functions, memory on different levels etc.).

EWNP Programme: Session II


Mirjana Radovanovič

Addiction research has been at the forefront of neuroscience, which contributed evidence for many clinically well recognized phenomena, starting from the concept of addiction as a brain disease to understanding the underlying mechanisms resulting in maladaptive behavioral patterns. The presentation will focus on recent relationship and contributions of neuroscience to the state-of-the-art treatment of patients with addiction.

Psychosomatic disorders
Maja Rus Makovec

Somatization, the presentation of emotional distress in the form of somatic complaints, is a clinical area of huge importance in psychosomatic psychiatry. Amygdalae, paralimbic area, especially insula, are likely to play an important role. Functional somatic symptoms can be explained also by central sensitization and disrupted efferent stress pathways. Psychosomatic patients are too often labelled as treatment resistant.

Background thoughts on the EWNP

In western culture learning “per partes” has been favored. Different levels of experience are rarely co-constructed. Neuroscience has provided a huge amount of data which require integration and co-construction between and within disciplines in every day psychiatric practice. Pieces of a puzzle of mental disorders’ psychopathology, (social) neuroscience and psychotherapy can be connected in terms of meaning for every day clinical practice by using systemic paradigm with reflections.

Social neuroscience has been uncovering the biology of human interactions, focusing at effects of social factors on brain and biological functioning, genes and social environments, the biological mechanisms underlying social cognition and emotions, social connections, social interactions, group processes etc. Brain of our patients should be conceptualized as flexible and adaptive, with possible recovery, provided by multilevel stimulation (medication and especially psychotherapy).

Mental disorders trigger philosophical existentialist (self) inquiries, dilemmas of responsibility, guilt, shame, stigma, life functionality and wondering about the possibility of change, forgiveness and inclusion. Narratives about psychological and relational suffering and redemption can be processed through the process of psychosocial interventions/psychotherapy. Psychotherapy can be understood as linguistic and relational tool: how to bond with and how to communicate with our patients (and their families) to introduce change. Attachment and empathy needed for bonding in psychiatry/psychotherapy are typical social neurobiological and core psychotherapeutic concepts, regardless which kind of evidence-based psychotherapy we apply.

Common curriculum to define a cohesive set of neurobiological concepts that apply specifically to psychiatry and psychotherapy is proposed to overcome disciplinary boundaries and stigma of mental disorders. Main dimensions of mental disorders will be presented through psychopathology, neuroscience and psychotherapy perspective, relevant for clinical practice.

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