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FCRP 
May 27 - May 30, 2022

The 80th Annual 

FRIENDS CONFERENCE ON RELIGION AND PSYCHOLOGY

 

THE NEUROBIOLOGY OF THE SPIRIT: Compassionate Witness and the 

Chemistry of Healing

 

We have all been traumatized by the pandemic in some way.  Our dependable daily rhythms and patterns have been disrupted.  We have been isolated from the company of loved ones, and often from our in-person work community.  We may have had to care for someone who was ill or even suffered the loss of someone dear in this time of upended traditions.

Our last several conferences looked at trauma and its recovery from different perspectives. Neuroscientist and psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk taught us how the nervous system registers trauma in the body and the brain, and how trauma embedded in our nervous system resists recovery when the body itself is not engaged in therapy.  Jungian analyst and author Donald Kalsched used metaphors and fairy tales to illuminate the multi-dimensions of trauma’s defensive mechanisms which block recovery.  Early trauma, he said, is often imaged in our dreams as an innocent child, imprisoned by demonic angels who, in trying to keep our inner child safe from fresh injury, cut if off from growing into the fullness of life.  Last year, in our virtual format, Jungian analysts and authors Monika Wikman and Marian Dunlea put the work of our earlier speakers into practice—by taking us into processes which center the body and open doors in the psyche where healing imagery and energy can be released.

Each of these extraordinary speakers mentioned the importance of polyvagal theory.  This is the work of Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D., who with his wife and colleague,  C. Sue Carter, Ph.D., have intermingled their lives’ research to understand the complexities of the body's chemistry in healing and health.  Their willingness to cross into many disciplines to get to the facts—has resulted in visionary answers not only about what it means physiologically when a person is emotionally damaged and the defenses are activated.  But they also can help us understand why it is possible to recover from early trauma and not only heal but thrive.

The Friends Conference on Religion and Psychology feels extraordinarily blessed that this exceptional couple—who are invited  both individually and together to present to experts in wide-ranging fields internationally—have agreed to be our Plenary Speakers for our 80th anniversary conference.

They will share with us the science behind why fear shuts our bodies down—and how the body's chemistry then limits our ability to think creatively, live vitally, and grow spiritually.  Our speakers will help us understand why the residue of trauma or early emotional damage is not "just in our heads." And perhaps most significantly, our speakers will help us comprehend why the atmosphere in a room changes whenever we feel safe and nurtured.  They have the science that shows what happens in the body in the presence of compassion—and its transforming effect on body, mind, and soul.

To read more about this year’s Plenary Speakers, C. Sue Carter and Stephen W. Porges, please click here.

To see the full schedule of events, click here.

FCRP has long been a place where your story matters.   We look forward to seeing you in person or virtually in May.

Fees for this year's conference, if attending virtually, are $75.  

In-person fees—for three nights and all meals at Pendle Hill are $545 for a private room.  (Fees for double rooms for established “pods”  are slightly lower.)  Commuter registration fee is $345.

Because of Covid restrictions at Pendle Hill, the number of on-campus registrants has been reduced by 30 percent.  Please register soon to ensure your place.  Also note Pendle Hill’s Covid policy requires proof of full vaccination and a negative Covid test no more than three days prior to the conference.  You will be asked for this documentation via email in advance of the conference.