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Digital Seminar

The search for a secure base: current neurobiological insights in theory and practice

Jeremy Holmes, MD, FRCPsych, BPC
1 Hour 07 Minutes
Apr 15, 2021
Product Code:
Media Type:
Digital Seminar


Trauma is a piercing of the protective boundary that maintains life, physical and psychological. Evolution has ensured that we are equipped to survive and recover from trauma, but because of the prolonged dependency and role of social learning in human development, if developmental processes go awry, or the trauma sufficiently overwhelming, the result can be PTSD, acute or chronic. Explore this perspective from an attachment point of view, draw on KarlFriston’s Free Energy Principle, and link these theories to therapeutic practice.


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Jeremy Holmes, MD, FRCPsych, BPC's Profile

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Professor Jeremy Holmes, MD, FRCPsych, BPC, was for 35 years consultant psychiatrist and medical psychotherapist at University College London and then in North Devon, UK. He was chair of the Psychotherapy Faculty of the Royal College of Psychologists 1998-2002. He is visiting professor at the University of Exeter, and lectures nationally and internationally. In addition to 200+ papers and chapters in the field of psychoanalysis and attachment theory, his books, translated into 9 languages, include John Bowlby and Attachment Theory (2013, Routledge), The Oxford Textbook of Psychotherapy (2005, co-editors Glen Gabbard and Judy Beck), Exploring in Security (2010, Routledge, winner the 2010 Canadian Psychological Association Goethe Award), The Therapeutic Imagination (Routledge, 2014), Attachment in Therapeutic Practice (with Arietta Slade, SAGE 2017), and The Brain has a Mind of its Own (Confer Books, 2020). He was recipient of a New York Attachment Consortium Bowlby-Ainsworth Founders Award, Music, gardening, green politics and grand-parenting are gradually eclipsing his lifetime devotion to psychoanalytic psychotherapy and attachment theory.


  1. Identify the implications of insecure attachment and its relationship to trauma.
  2. Apply Karl Friston’s Free Energy Principle to those experiencing PTSD.
  3. Justify the therapeutic implications of the attachment perspective and the Free Energy Principle.


General comments:

  • Definition of trauma
  • Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)
  • Acute vs chronic trauma
  • The trauma spectrum

Attachment perspectives on trauma:

  • Tomasello’s research
  • Bio-behavioural synchrony between infant and mother
  • Bowlby/Hinde’s theory on environment of evolutionary adaptiveness
  • Affect regulation and co-regulation
  • Implications of secure attachment
  • The role of diagnosis language
  • Disorganized attachment

Relational neuroscience and trauma:

  • The Free Energy Theory
  • The brain: bottom up and top down conversations
  • Adaptation and resilience
  • Hierarchical free energy minimizing
  • The work of Karl Friston
  • Two person neuroscience
  • Trauma and the Free Energy Principle
  • Free Energy and PTSD

Therapeutic implications:

  • Creating a relational context
  • Sensitivity to attachment dynamic
  • Trust
  • Affect regulation via meditation/mindfulness
  • Tolerating ambiguity
  • Psychoactive drugs

Target Audience

  • Psychotherapists
  • Counsellors
  • IAPT practitioners
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Therapists
  • Case Managers
  • Addiction Counsellors
  • Nurses, Psychiatrists
  • GPs
  • Other Mental Health Professionals



Overall:      4.7

Total Reviews: 37

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