The DDP Conference in Stony Point, NY, October 31-November 2, 2016 proved to be an exciting and highly informative time for the 55 attending, made better by the lovely setting near the Hudson River about an hour north of NYC.
The highlights were the keynote, presented by Nim Tottenham, Research Neuropsychologist at Columbia University and a presentation and demonstration of Improvisational Theatre by Alexandra Dickenson of the Upright Citizen’s Brigade in NYC about how Improv can inform P.A.C.E.
Dr. Tottenham summarized extensive research on the amygdala, done by her and others, which demonstrate how early stress causes the amygdala to function similar to that of an older child, creating vigilance and premature self-reliance. She is now doing studies suggesting that good care enables the amygdala to return to a normal developmental rate that enables the child to function more appropriately for a safe environment.
The Improv information and exercises were received with great enthusiasm and laughter. The similarities between improv and DDP were quite evident, starting from its “Yes, and. . .” maxim and including the need for those engaged to stay in the here-and-now and be genuine in expressing the emerging story and the experience of each member of the team creating the story.
In addition the Conference covered a range of Dyadic Developmental Practice ranging from treatment (Sian Phillips, as well as Courtney Rennicke & Leah Langsam demonstrated Intensive DDP outpatient treatment), parenting approaches (Betty Brouwer & Charlie Menendez), Residential Care (George Thompson & Brandon Mock) and schools (Sian Phillips interviewing the educational staff of their specialized attachment-focused school program).
There also were a repeat of two Scotland presentations: Jon Baylin (blocked trust and the neurobiological underpinnings of DDP) and Dan Hughes (advanced DDP treatment themes, interventions, ideas).
Finally, Robert Spottswood and Dan presented a wide ranging view of how DDP might move beyond DDP Practice and have applicability in our ability to influence others in the neighborhood, community, and even dialogues that address more global issues. The open and engaged rather than defensive manner of being and communicating is likely to contribute to efforts to make a difference in many areas of our lives.
Thank you to all speakers and attendees for making this conference a success.