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Brainstorm: A Clinician’s Guide to the Changing and Challenging Adolescent Brain


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Featuring Daniel Siegel, M.D., best-selling author and leading expert on the confluence of interpersonal neurobiology, mindfulness and psychotherapy.
Between the ages of 12 and 24, the brain changes in important, and oftentimes maddening, ways. Join world-renowned neuropsychiatrist and bestselling co-author of The Whole-Brain Child, Dr. Dan Siegel, as he helps you crack the code of the adolescent brain with groundbreaking research in interpersonal neurobiology based on his newest New York Times Bestselling book, Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain. Dr. Siegel explores how brain development affects teenage behavior and relationships and how mastering this knowledge helps promote more effective psychotherapy, targeted treatment interventions and better understanding between parents and their teens.
Attend this workshop and you will walk away understanding attachment issues in adolescents and strategies for clinical issues including substance abuse, sexual identity and other behavioral health concerns. Rather than seeing adolescence as a period of immaturity or dysfunction, this view suggests that the essence of adolescence— the emotional spark, social engagement, novelty-seeking, and creative explorations—can best be harnessed by supporting these important and necessary aspects of our human development.
Dr. Dan Siegel’s “inside out approach” to the second dozen years of life gives us an exciting new clinical perspective on the essence of adolescence. Understand the clinical implications of the four pillars of adolescence and discover how these pillars are a necessary set of characteristics that are essential for both the individual’s development and for the health and adaptation of our species. These features of the teenage brain set the stage for changes that not only shape our life as adolescents, but can surprisingly be seen as essential to thriving in adulthood. How we as clinicians approach adolescence as a period and adolescents as individuals can make all the difference in how these important years are navigated well.




  • Describe 4 fundamental aspects of the essence of adolescence.
  • Explore how brain development affects teenage behavior and relationships.
  • Identify the difference between impulsivity and hyper- rational thinking.
  • List the 2 major components of the remodeling process in the teenage brain.
  • Name 3 outcomes of the changes in dopamine processing in the adolescent brain.
  • Evaluate adolescent increased risk and 3 neurological processes that cause it.
  • Compare adolescent risk-taking with and without the presence of peers.
  • Describe the relationship between gender identity and sexual orientation.



Dispelling the popular myths of teenage behavior
  • Cultural myths
  • Modern scientific views
The Essence of Adolescence
  • Benefits and challenges of this important period of life
  • How the essential elements of adolescence are the core of living a vital adult life as well
  • The myths vs. modern scientific views
  • Risk-taking, pushing-away, and sexual behavior of adolescence
  • Adolescence is now longer than ever before, creating unique stressors
The Adolescent Brain
  • The developmental neurobiology of the adolescent period
  • Pruning and myelination leads to the remodeling of the brain into the mid-twenties
  • Risk-taking behaviors and the origin of “hyper-rational” thinking overemphasizing the pros of a choice over the possible cons
  • Develop “gist thinking” that relies on intuition
  • Exercises that stimulate the integrative growth of the brain
Adolescence and Attachment
  • Attachment toward parents changes during adolescence
    • Push toward peer connections
  • Social engagement becomes a central part of teen life
  • Early life attachment continues to influence the adolescent’s relationships and the emerging self
  • Move non-secure attachment models toward security
  • “Mindsight skill practices”:
    • Mind
    • Brain
    • Relationships
Clinical Strategies: Staying Present Through Changes and Challenges
  • Emergence of a sexual identity and sexual relationships
  • Romance and first love
  • Drug use and abuse
  • The return home of an adolescent who has already left for a period of time
  • Other issues
  • The most common period for the onset of serious psychiatric problems:
    • Mood disorders
    • Anxiety
    • Disturbances in body image and identity
  • Role of our cultural approach to the essence of adolescence
  • Other issues
    • Social media
    • Nutrition
    • Divorce
    • Education

 About the Speaker:

Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. is clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. An award-winning educator, he is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Dr. Siegel is the executive director of the Mindsight Institute, an educational organization that focuses on how the development of mindsight in individuals, families and communities can be enhanced by examining the interface of human relationships and basic biological processes.Dr. Siegel received his medical degree from Harvard University and completed his postgraduate medical education at UCLA. He served as a National Institute of Mental Health Research Fellow at UCLA.Dr. Siegel publishes extensively for the professional audience. He is the co-editor of the Handbook of Psychiatry and the author of numerous articles, chapters, and the internationally acclaimed text, The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are (Guilford, 1999). This book introduces the field of Interpersonal Neurobiology, and has been utilized by a number of clinical and research organizations worldwide, including the U.S. Department of Justice, The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family, Microsoft and Google. The Developing Mind, Second Edition was published in March 2012.Dr. Siegel serves as the founding editor for the Norton Professional Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology which contains over three dozen textbooks. He has also authored Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive with Mary Hartzell, M.ED. (Tarcher/Penguin, 2003), The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being (Norton, 2007) and Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation (Random House, 2010), The Mindful Therapist (Norton, 2010), The Whole-Brain Child (Random House, 2011), Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology: An Integrative Handbook of the Mind (Norton, 2012), and his latest book, Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain (Tarcher, 2014).

Dr. Siegel’s ability to make complicated concepts exciting as well as easy to understand has led him to be invited to address local, national and international organizations where he speaks to groups of educators, parents, public administrators, healthcare providers, policy-makers, clergy and neuroscientists. He lives in southern California with his family.

Length: 5 hours 48 minutes

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