Date: 16 May 2024

Head First Conference

Venue: Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4LE


Event Notes:

Purpose of the Conference:

  • To consider the brain-body interconnections on health, wellbeing, and everyday functioning.
  • To explore how the injured and non-injured brain-body responds to traumatic experience and/or chronic stress.
  • To enquire into how embodiment practices and bottom up (body to brain) connection may enhance recovery in brain injury rehabilitation and general health.

*Embodiment practices use the body as a tool for healing through self-awareness, mindfulness, connection, self-regulation, finding balance, and creating self-acceptance. Embodiment explores the relationship between our physical being and our energy.

Learning Outcomes

  • To share current research evidence of brain-body interconnections
  • To raise awareness of alternative treatment approaches and practices that can be integrated into mainstream rehabilitation and used to enhance personal well-being and health.
  • To provide practitioners with experiences of different embodiment practices that can enhance their clinical work and own wellbeing.

The morning session

We introduce a range of speakers throughout the morning who will review the interconnections in the brain and explore the interrelationships between our bodies, guts, and minds. There will be the opportunity to explicitly see from brain imaging techniques some of these connections and findings and hear evidence underpinning the value of integrating different therapeutic approaches, which could impact on the brain, health, and well-being.

From the research, we will explore how this evidence may be applied to enhance brain injury rehabilitation, and augment treatment for specific conditions, for example, epilepsy. We will learn about how correct personalised diets and the microbiome play a part in health and brain functioning and be introduced to somatic approaches that make use of the autonomic nervous system to impact the brain, reducing the effect of trauma or chronic stress.

There will be an investigation of these ‘bottom up’ approaches, as well as the therapeutic effects of such things as warmth, kindness, the environment, or a co-regulated practitioner. We shall begin to consider how we might adjust our own practices and adapt the intervention or advice we provide to our clients and their families to yield better outcomes and enhance well-being.

The afternoon session

We have a number of highly skilled clinicians and therapists who will showcase a range of mind – body based interventions with the use of real-life examples and case studies. We know there is a growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating their clinical application and effectiveness to meet the holistic needs of clinical and non- clinical populations alike.

This is an opportunity to not only to learn about body-based tools, but also to experience, first hand, how they can be used to support your clients, as well as support yourself and the teams and complex systems that you work in. The experiential afternoon is where you, the attendee, will be invited to participate in a variety of embodied exercises with the aim of facilitating a move towards a place of empowerment, knowing and understanding of yourselves, which paves a way for more effective, compassionate, and safe working and therapeutic relationships.

This is where you have the opportunity to learn ways to be present, grounded, self aware and embodied – in essence, being better equipped to ‘practice what we preach’. This is fundamental in terms of being able to honour the experiences and complexity of the clients and families that attendees work with.