Paradoxes of Neuroplasticity


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Paradoxes of Neuroplasticity:

How the Brain Compensates, Grows, and Heals While the Mind/Body Gets Mired in Habit

Terry Marks-Tarlow, PhD

March 14, 2020

$195 – Full Tuition
$165 – Early Registration before February 29, 2020

30% off for students in clinical training.
Use the coupon “student30”

Scientists believed that the mature brain anatomy was fixed and incapable of change or regeneration for many decades.  It was commonly believed that the brain underwent a long slow process of decline after childhood until death.  However, contemporary neuroscience has shown this to be far from true. While clear limits exist, the human brain is flexibly adaptive in various ways throughout the lifespan. Transformation of the mind/body/brain holistically through successful psychotherapy is one case in point.

This workshop examines the miracles and dangers of neuroplasticity, including the history and controversies surrounding the concept.  Throughout the day we will address the seemingly paradoxical aspects of plasticity—the very same mechanisms allowing for change also move us ever deeper into our earliest habits.

Starting with a short tutorial on brain anatomy we will look at the evolution of the human brain from our mammalian and reptilian ancestors to set the stage for understanding the open quality of the human brain and its incredible plasticity at birth.  As we sweep through infancy to early childhood, we will examine critical windows of development when the brain is most open to change.  We will discuss culture, learning and memory as elements that help us to sculpt and re-sculpt the brain throughout the lifespan.

As the day draws to a close, we will examine changes in the brain that occur during our twilight years, including remarkable ways our neural maps can regain functioning following strokes and other injuries with the right kind of training.

Participants will gain the basics of brain structure and development.  Each core concept is explored theoretically and clinically including case examples. The workshop will include exciting new trends in brain imagery that illuminate aspects of the neurology of relationship. The format will be partly didactic and highly interactive as we look together at how core concepts contribute to moment-to-moment practice.


Terry Marks-Tarlow, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist (PSY8853) in private practice in Santa Monica. She is a Visiting Professor at Italian Universita Niccolo Cusano London and a Research Associate at the Institute for Fractal Research in Kassel Germany. She is on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, where as Community Outreach Co-Chair, she co-created and curates an annual exhibition of visual and performance arts, “Mirrors of the Mind: The Psychotherapist as Artist.”  Dr. Marks-Tarlow is a member of the Insight Center teaching faculty. Dr. Marks-Tarlow has authored and co-edited numerous books, including Play and Creativity in Psychotherapy (2018, Norton), Truly Mindful Coloring (2016, PESI), Awakening Clinical Intuition (2014, Norton), and Clinical Intuition in Psychotherapy (2012, Norton), andPsyche’s Veil (2008, Routledge), all of which she has illustrated herself.

Dr. Marks-Tarlow has presented workshops and seminars internationally and nationally, including a 2012 a conference at the Tavistock Institute in London relating to her second book, Psyches Veil, on nonlinear dynamics, and the 2015 UCLA Interpersonal Neurobiology Conference.

Dr. Marks-Tarlow embodies the balance of life between play, imagination and creativity through her dance, art and yoga. Her creativity also has been expressed musically, through writing opera librettos with Juilliard teacher and composer Jonathan Dawe. Her first opera, “Cracked Orlando”, premiered in New York City in 2010 with a ballet. Her second opera, “Oroborium” is scheduled to premiere at Lincoln Center in April, 2018. For more information visit her website at

At the end of the workshop participants will be able to:

  • Describe 2 basic brain structures
  • Describe how culture, learning and memory shape brain development
  • Describe 2 examples of neuroplasticity
  • Identify changes in the brain with age
  • Give three examples of how the healthy brain can respond to injury, damage, or structural loss.

Continuing Education Units are available. Purchase CE Certificate A CE certificate is issued for a $20 charge. Instructions for purchasing CE certificates will be emailed once registration is completed and certificates are issued after the workshop is completed.  Continuing Education Certificates must be purchased within thirty (30) days of the event. Psychologists: The Insight Center is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Insight Center maintains responsibility for this program and its content. This course is provides 6 CE units. MFTs / LCSWs / LPCCs: The California Board of Behavioral Sciences accepts APA CEs. This course provides 6 CE units.