The Nature of Forgetting: Neurofeedback and Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Dissociative Disorders

6 recorded lectures by author, therapist, and mentor Sebern Fisher

The course will be available soon at https://www.eeglearn.com/

This webinar series explores the latest neuroscience research in developmental trauma and discusses how its findings challenge the prevailing belief that dissociation, repression, resistance and regression are primarily psychological defense mechanisms, at least in those with histories of neglect and abuse in childhood. We instead address them as they are — habitual firing patterns in the brain that form in response to survival threats early in life. When there are enough fearful stimuli the brain tends to return to its earliest patterns of protection.

The neuroscience of trauma is clearly indicating that we must change these habitual firing patterns in the brain. Presently the only way we know to do this is with neurofeedback. We will review protocols that help those who have never experienced a sense of self and other to develop this capacity, primarily but not solely through affect regulation. And we will look at how all of this plays out in the therapy relationship, particularly with the “treatment-resistant” patients. We will discuss why these patients need highly skilled therapists who understand the brain dynamics underlying interpersonal ones.​

Registration for this course will be available soon at https://www.eeglearn.com.

Learning objectives:

In this workshop, participants will

  1. Explore the emerging neuroscience of trauma and dissociation
  2. Describe the neurocircuitry of dissociation
  3. Describe the default mode network (DMN) and its relationship to the sense of self in developmental trauma
  4. Discuss how understanding the circuitry and frequency dimensions of dissociation, repression, resistance and regression deepen our understanding of these processes.
  5. Investigate protocols that interrupt or quiet the repeated firing of fear circuits and the presumed mechanisms of action of these protocols
  6. Provide an overview of the challenges and benefits in integrating neurofeedback with psychotherapy in the treatment of those suffering with dissociative disorders.


Nature of Forgetting

Neurofeedback and Psychotherapy in the Treatment of Dissociative Disorders

The Nature of Forgetting course consists of six recorded webinar lectures. The recorded course will be available soon at https://www.eeglearn.com/

Learning Objectives

Nature of Forgetting Course Continuing Education Objectives


6 one-hour sessions

$549 ($479 EEGER Affiliates)

  1. Explore the emerging neuroscience of trauma and dissociation.
  2. Describe the neurocircuitry of dissociation.
  3. Describe the default mode network (DMN) and its relationship to the sense of self in developmental trauma.
  4. Discuss how understanding the circuitry and frequency dimensions of dissociation, repression, resistance and regression deepen our understanding of these processes.
  5. Investigate protocols that interrupt or quiet the repeated firing of fear circuits and the presumed mechanisms of action of these protocols.
  6. Provide an overview of the challenges and benefits in integrating neurofeedback with psychotherapy in the treatment of those suffering with dissociative disorders.

Continuing Education

At the moment, continuing Education is only available for live courses.

*To qualify for CE credit, participant must sign in and attend each live seminar for that part. Webinar sessions will be recorded and available for attendees to view during following week.

EEG Education & Research Inc. (EEGER) has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP #6260. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified.

EEGER is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
EEG Education & Research (EEGER) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. EEGER maintains responsibility for this program and its content.


  • Disorders of the Cerebellum
  • Harvard Research Shows How the Cerebellum Regulates Thoughts
    [Sebern comment: Take a look at this article and if you can listen to the lecture embedded that includes very preliminary studies of TMS of the cerebellar vermis. Then think Inion Ridge placement that we ate exploring in neurofeedback.]
  • Event-related potential: An overview
  • The Dissociative Subtype of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
  • Dynamic causal modeling in PTSD
  • The effects of stress exposure on prefrontal cortex
  • The human electrocerebellogram (ECeG) recorded non-invasively using scalp electrodes.
  • The Underestimated Cerebellum Gains New Respect From Brain Scientists

    The cerebellum, a brain structure humans share with fish and lizards, appears to control the quality of many functions in the brain, according to a team of researchers.
    [The recorded story contains more info than the written one.]

  • Healing Power of Hugs

    “The paradox of hugs is that though they are quintessentially physical, they can also be enacted mentally. I often invite my patients, if it feels right for them, to imagine someone they feel safe with, including me, holding them.”

  • Impact of Developmental Trauma on Brain Function and Connectivity

    Presented by Carl Armes, BS. & Robert Coben, Ph.D. at the International Society for Neurofeedback and Research 25th Annual Conference in September of 2017, this study explores the impact of developmental trauma on brain function and connectivity through extensive research.
    [Link below is a pdf of powerpoint]

  • Multivariate Coherence Training for Developmental Trauma

    Dr. Coben, Dr. Stevens, and Dr. Thompson presented on Multivariate Coherence Training for Developmental Trauma at the 2018 ISNR conference.
    [Link below is a pdf of powerpoint]

  • The Abused Brain Neural Adaptation, Resilience, and Compensation in Childhood Maltreatment

    Article by Brenda Patoine. Figuring out how to enhance resilience or boost compensatory changes in the brain–essentially, to adapt to the maladaptation of abuse–is a primary goal of treatment.

  • The Human Brain Is a Time Traveler “A more apt name for our species would be Homo prospectus, because we thrive by considering our prospects. The power of prospection is what makes us wise.”

    Article by Steven Johnson. The seemingly trivial activity of mind-wandering is now believed to play a central role in the brain’s “deep learning,” the mind’s sifting through past experiences, imagining future prospects and assessing them with emotional judgments: that flash of shame or pride or anxiety that each scenario elicits.

  • Brain Anatomy—Early Structures and Systems I have read a wide range of books and articles to develop an understanding of how ancient parts of our ancestral brain, also called our animal brain, can sometimes dictate automated or instinctual behavior without the influence of neocortical reason and logic. Such behavior is often construed as psychiatric symptoms. Certain criminal behaviors can also be labeled as “automated,” especially when the brain has been damaged.

    Website by Sarah Neenah Koch

  • TRPM8 and Migraine Migraine is among the most common diseases on earth and one of the most disabling, the latter due in large part to poor treatment efficacy. Development of new therapeutics is dependent on the identification of mechanisms contributing to migraine and discovery of targets for new drugs. Numerous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have implicated the transient receptor-potential M8 (TRPM8) channel in migraine.

    Dussor G, Cao YQ.

  • Alpha oscillation neurofeedback modulates amygdala complex connectivity and arousal in posttraumatic stress disorder EEG neurofeedback was associated with a shift in amygdala complex connectivity from areas implicated in defensive, emotional, and fear processing/memory retrieval (left BLA and left SFA to the periaqueductal gray and left SFA to the left hippocampus) to prefrontal areas implicated in emotion regulation/modulation (right CMA to the medial prefrontal cortex). This shift in amygdala complex connectivity was associated with reduced arousal, greater resting alpha synchronization, and was negatively correlated to PTSD symptom severity

    Study by Nicholson, et. al.

  • The Forgotten Part of Memory [from Sebern: This is an interesting piece on relatively new research on how brains forget and the evolutionary necessity of doing so. Unfortunately to me anyway the researchers seem once again caught in the biochemical paradigm of brain function which very much limits the scope of their inquiry. Nonetheless interesting. I’d love to hear your thoughts]

    Article by Lauren Gravitz
    “Our ability to generalize new experiences is, at least in part, due to the fact that our brains engage in controlled forgetting,” says Blake Richards, who studies neural circuits and machine learning at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

  • Real-Time Functional Connectivity-Informed Neurofeedback of Amygdala-Frontal Pathways Reduces Anxiety Successful self-regulation of amygdala-prefrontal top-down regulatory circuits may represent a novel intervention to control anxiety.

    Study by Zhao Z., et. al. [note from Sebern] This research concludes that increasing functional connectivity between the vPFC and the amygdala with feedback decreases anxiety. This is of course good news to get out to more and more people yet it is not, as the conclusion says, a first. This is the goal and the apparent experience of many that they accomplish this with training at FPO2 and it appears that the inion ridge training low enough may also help with fear bound states.

  • Psychiatric Diagnoses Found to Be “Scientifically Meaningless” A new study, published in Psychiatry Research, has concluded that psychiatric diagnoses are scientifically worthless as tools to identify discrete mental health disorders.

    Article originally from University of Liverpool

  • Robust Midbrain Connectivity May Be Key to Paying Attention Taken together, these recent findings (2019) in humans, along with previous animal studies, suggest that the human SC midbrain region may play an evolutionarily conserved role in paying selective attention to visual cues.

    Article by Christopher Bergland

  • Da Vinci Was Right: The Cerebellum Deserves More Recognition Based on his ongoing work with ataxia patients at MGH that began in the late 20th century, Schmahmann was able to pinpoint specific ways that cerebellar damage can result in a constellation of deficits within the cognitive domains of executive function, spatial cognition, language, and behavior.

    Article by Christopher Bergland

  • Cerebellum Stimulation Influences Frontal Cortex Functioning Delta-wave cerebellar stimulation improves schizophrenia-like cognitive problems

    Article byChristopher Bergland. {Sebern notes:]You could miss the reference but one of the researchers mentions the importance of timing mechanisms in the brain. In this research they are stimulating delta at the cerebellum and seeing how the stimulation of the cerebellum shows up in the pre-frontal cortex. Interestingly a number of neurofeedback clinicians are presently training at the inion ridge to try to positively influence this communication and for most people we find ourselves reinforcing at very low frequencies. I’ll be talking about training at the inion at a lunch time gathering on Thursday 9/19/19 at ISNR. Pretty fascinating initial findings.

  • A Connection Between Motivation and Brain Inflammation Inflammation of the cerebellum reduces sociability and motivation in lab rats.

    Article by Christopher Bergland, [Sebern’s note:] Motivation and sociability are affected in mice with induced inflammation of the cerebellum in mice. So much to learn about what appears to be the co-arising of inflammation and mental illness but it’s clear that inflammation relates to high arousal and reactivity even sub cortically at the level of the brain stem and the cerebellum.

  • A Wide Range of Mental Disorders May Have Link to Cerebellum Various forms of mental illness are linked to the cerebellum, Duke study finds.

    Article by Christopher Bergland. [Note from Sebern:] In my webinar on Developmental Trauma, I discuss the apparent impacts of neglect and abuse on the cerebellum ( available now) and how we can can address them. Beginning in January, I’ll be presenting a 6 part webinar on dissociation and its disorders called the Nature of Forgetting and I will explore how the cerebellum and the brain stem factor in these disorders. This research calls for clinicians and treatment researchers to focus on how we can reach the brain particularly for those who suffer what we now see as treatment resistant disorders most of which relate to developmental trauma.

Suggested Reading

Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma: Calming the Fear-Driven Brain Sebern Fisher, Norton (2014).

The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease: The Hidden Epidemic Ruth Lanius, Eric Vermetten, and Clare Pain, Cambridge University Press (2010).

Healing the Traumatized Self: Consciousness, Neuroscience, Treatment Paul Frewen and Ruth Lanius, Norton (2015).

Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology and Clinical Neuroscience Rhawn Joseph, Williams and Wilkins (1996).

The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain: Part One Iain McGilchrist, Yale University Press (2009).

Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions Jaak Panksepp, Oxford University Press (1998).

Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development Allan N. Schore, Erlbaum (1994).

The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are Daniel Seigel, Guilford Press (2012).

Traumatic Stress, The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society Bessel Van der Kolk, Alexander McFarland, Lars Weisaeth, eds., Guilford Press (2016).

The Body Keeps the Score Bessel Van der Kolk, Penguin (2015).


Sebern Fisher has been integrating neurofeedback and psychotherapy into the treatment of those with developmental trauma for the last twenty years. She was the clinical director of a residential treatment facility for severely disturbed adolescents for 17 years. During her tenure she introduced attachment theory and dialectical behavior therapy to the milieu. She is presently in private practice where she provides neurofeedback, psychotherapy and consultation. She trains nationally and internationally.

Sebern Fisher is author of Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma: Calming the Fear-driven Brain (Norton 2014).

If you have questions, please write to us! info (at) trainingtrauma.org