Confer - continuing professional development, seminars and conferences for psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists
A 3-day conference-workshop exploring the role of yoga in emotional regulation
This link takes you to a secure, partner website where your booking will be processed.
18.30 Registration and refreshments
Dr David Beales
Yoga's Route to the Mind
This lecture will introduce current understandings of the interaction between psychological processes and the various branches of the nervous systems to demonstrate how the body and the mind talk to each other through signalling pathways. We will consider how this dynamic can be controlled by yogic or meditative breathing exercises, and thus how yoga practice impacts directly on our emotional experience.
Heather Mason
Yoga as Mind-Body Therapy for Mental Health: A Scientific and Interdependent Approach to Emotion Regulation
There is a growing body of research indicating that yoga is an effective mental health intervention. Heather Mason examines relevant studies and breaks down the integrated practice of yoga into various mechanisms including controlled breathing, stretching, coordinated physical movement, enhanced cardiac output, and mindfulness and explores how these elements combine to enhance brain functioning and promote positive mental health.
21.30 End of evening
09.30 Registration and refreshments
Mira Mehta
The Mind According to Yoga
The principal text on Yoga, the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, defines Yoga and states its aim to be stilling the fluctuations of the mind. It is a comprehensive work on psychology, explaining the constitution and operations of the mind and giving methods how to control and transcend it. The nature of consciousness is also discussed.

Mira Mehta explains this theoretical base of Yoga and outlines Yogic practices for alleviating mental and emotional stress.
Dr Chris Streeter
Yoga and Neurotransmitters - recent research findings explored
In this lecture a theory will be proposed to explain the benefits of yoga practices in diverse, frequently comorbid medical conditions based on the concept that yoga practices correct decreased parasympathetic nervous system activity, and also correct under-activity of the gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA) system - the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter system. Studies using magnetic resonance spectroscopy to document increases in brain GABA levels and improved mood in association with yoga sessions will be discussed.
11.15 Refreshments
Dr Sara Lazar
Yoga, Meditation, and Neuroplasticity
In our Meditation Research lab at Harvard Medical School, we use neuroimaging techniques to study neurological, cognitive and emotional changes associated with the practice of meditation and yoga. We also incorporate measures of peripheral physiology (breathing, heart beat) in order to understand how meditation practice influences the brain-body interaction and use MRI to study the neural underpinnings of yoga and meditation. I will present data showing how practice of yoga and meditation impacts neural function and structure, and how such changes lead to long-term changes in physical and psychological health and well-being.
13.00 - 14.30 Lunch break
13.00 - 14.30 Optional yoga session (SENATE HOUSE)
1. Professor Sat Bir Khalsa
Yoga and Yoga Therapy: The Scientific Rationale and Research Evidence
This workshop will present an overview of the history and breadth of scientific research on yoga and yoga therapy and will review the relevant known psychophysiology of yoga practices. Models of psychophysiological mechanism of action, ongoing research in our laboratory, and future areas of research will also be presented.
2. Ed Fellows
Handling Yoga Participants' Deep Feelings
There can be a tension in yoga practice between the 'poses' or positions we hold and the possibilities of free movements. This workshop offers an opportunity to explore the range of ways we support ourselves along a continuum between structured positions and free flow movements. We will look at the relationship between sensations, emotions, movement and expression in yoga. This will lead to experiential exercises exploring how to recognise and manage some of the more challenging feelings that can emerge in a yoga session.
3. Heather Mason
Yoga as a Complementary Treatment for Trauma
We will explore the neurophysiology of PTSD clarifying why body based practices, such as yoga, are increasingly recognised as important in the treatment of trauma. Through a mix of theory and practice we will review special considerations and yoga techniques that are vital for working with this population.
4. Jo Manuel
Yoga for Children with Special Needs
We will explore through theory and practice how yoga can help special needs children to reach their fullest potential physically, mentally and emotionally including integrated series of balanced asanas to increase body awareness, breathing and relaxation to improve concentration, reduce hyperactivity, and rhythmic chanting to enhance communication skills.
5. Veena Ugargol
How to use yoga to manage anxiety
This workshop provides an understanding of anxiety - what it is and how it can become problematic. Reviewing research on the benefits of using yoga as a therapy for anxiety, it will provide participants with insight into how to use yoga with their students and clients to enable them to develop effective ways to overcome their anxiety.
6. Dr. Patricia Gerbarg and Dr Richard P. Brown
Integrating Breath Techniques with Talk Therapies
An in-depth case of a patient with posttraumatic stress disorder, who benefited from the addition of yoga breathing to her ongoing therapy will be explored from the perspective of current neuroscience and neuro-psychoanalytic theory. The seminar will highlight clinical issues to consider when augmenting psychotherapy and other verbal therapies with yoga practices. This will include patient selection, diagnosis, timing, the patient's experience, transference, and how to address obstacles to treatment and compliance. Workshop participants are invited, but not required, to briefly present cases and questions from their clinical work.
17.00 End of day
09.30 Registration and refreshments
Dr. Patricia Gerbarg and Dr. Richard P Brown
The Language of Breath: How Respiratory Messages Improve Emotion Regulation
This joint presentation will review research evidence and evolving theories regarding the neurophysiological mechanisms that may account for the rapid, powerful, healing effects of mind-body practices, particularly yoga breathing. They explore how yoga breathing corrects autonomic nervous system imbalances, over activity of stress responses, and dysfunctions in emotion regulatory systems and inhibitory neurotransmitters. Changing breathing patterns alters the interoceptive messages from the body to the brain where they can influence key neuro-anatomic regions involved in trauma processing, emotion regulation, and recovery. Through these pathways, we will see how specific breathing practices can alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder such as anxiety, insomnia, intrusive memories, over reactions, distorted body perceptions, disconnectedness, and loss of meaning.
11.15 Refreshments
1. Samantha Bottrill
Applying Yoga as part of Treatment in Psychological Work with Children and Adolescents Experiencing Eating Disorders
There is growing interest in the use of yoga and mindfulness based therapy approaches for the treatment of Eating Disorders. Samantha Bottrill examines the relevant research and theoretical explanations for how yoga can have its therapeutic effects, as well as offering insights for using yoga with this client group.
2. Raquel Chinchetru
Yoga therapy for Perinatal Depression
The workshop is aimed at Yoga teachers working with pregnancy, postnatal and babies, yoga therapists who work in women's health and mental health. We will look at psychoeducation, physical exercises according with the individual needs, breathing techniques, deep relaxation techniques and mindfulness meditation.
3. Dr. Richard P Brown and Dr. Patricia Gerbarg
Breath-Body-Mind Workshop for Transformation
Participants in this workshop will learn five powerful self-regulation strategies to improve their own well-being and enhance their work with clients. A programme of non-religious practices will enable participants to experience Coherent Breathing, Resistance Breathing (Ujjayi), Breath Moving, Ha Breath, and Open Focus meditation. Through rounds of movement, breathing, and meditation with interactive processes, participants will discover the benefits of Breath-Body-Mind techniques. How to use this knowledge for personal transformation and in clinical practice will be discussed. This workshop is suitable for novices as well as experienced practitioners.
4. Ed Fellows
Is there a place for counselling in a yoga session, or yoga in a counselling relationship?
When we move we are expressing a way of being. All our physical movements are also psychological and emotional movements. This is the case in yoga as well as counselling. Yoga potentially offers a safe framework for exploring embodied processes and relational patterns. In this workshop we will work out how to develop an emotional sensitivity to yoga sessions, and how to use the embodied aspects of yoga within counselling.
5. Dr Lucy Clarke
Using yoga to treat ADHD in children and young people as part of a psychological treatment
There is increasing popularity of the use of Yoga and Mindfulness as a therapeutic intervention with young people who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, the evidence base of these approaches is still limited. This workshop will introduce participants to the emerging literature and evidence on using Yoga and Mindfulness as a therapeutic intervention for ADHD. Based on this, it will offer practical ways in which yoga can be used for young people with ADHD, both as a stand alone intervention and alongside other psychological therapies. This workshop will also offer the opportunity to engage with some of the practices which are safe, enjoyable and beneficial for many young people with ADHD.
13.30 - 14.45 Lunch break
13.30 - 14.45 Optional yoga session (SENATE HOUSE)
14:45 Professor Sat Bir Khalsa
Yoga for Mental Health Conditions: Prevention and Treatment
Yoga is an ancient behavioural practice incorporating physical exercises/postures, breath regulation, meditation and relaxation for promotion and maintenance of health and wellness. It is being increasingly applied as an adjunct therapy in medicine and psychiatry. This presentation will overview the basics of yoga, its current popularity for wellness and medicine, and the growing of clinical research demonstrating its efficacy for prevention and treatment in a variety of conditions including chronic stress, anxiety and insomnia.
16.00 End of conference
This link takes you to a secure, partner website where your booking will be processed.