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Neuroscience for Effective Clinical Practice 

Maggi McAllister-MacGregor


Understanding what’s going on in our heads – how our brain’s work – can help us become better practitioners and help our clients make sense of their experiences in ways that reduce self-blame and self-criticism. Although the human brain is probably one of the most complex structures around, some of the principles on which it works are easily explained. You don’t have to be a neuroscientist to get a better understanding of the brain and nervous system!


This accredited workshop will provide you with ways to make sense of the responses of the nervous system to threat and safety and to explain them in ways that are easy to understand for both you and your clients. Psychoeducation can be enormously useful for clients to help them make sense of what’s happening to them although this resource can be resisted in some therapeutic approaches that value the practitioner not taking an ‘expert stance’ in relation to the client. I like to think of it as ‘information sharing’ and doing this in the context of the therapeutic relationship can be a way for the therapist and client to explore the clients’ experiences together to make sense and meaning. I find that doing this can allow the client to make connections between their current experiences and past events in a way that is less likely to result in blame – for self or others.


In the workshop we will look at threat and safety, responses to acute and chronic stress, using the body as an ally, and practical ways to work with anxiety, panic and stress that are backed up by sound, up-to-date, scientific research. There will be opportunities to try out some of these practical tools, as well as informational input, and time for discussion.


This workshop is usually presented over 2 days, however we feel that it will be more accessible in an online environment to split the workshop into 4 parts of two and a half hours each. We would love to have you with us for all 4 parts of the workshop.



I thoroughly recommend this course for anyone who wants to enhance their knowledge of the biology and neuroscience of anxiety. I've developed a deeper understanding of my own practice and how to help my clients overcome their anxiety. For me it wasn't good enough knowing how to drive the car, I wanted to look under the bonnet to see how the engine works.

Workshop 1

• Welcome to the workshop and intro’s

• Intro to the nervous system

• Some ‘body awareness exercises’

• Intro to stress

Workshop 2

• Polyvagal Theory, 3 systems 5 states, mapping your ANS.

Workshop 3

• Relationships and Regulation: Window of tolerance, Social engagement system, the 5 ‘F’s’

• Exercises for regulation

Workshop 4

• Putting it into practice – how you can use this with clients

• Integrating the body into the body of your work


Workshop Outcomes

An understanding of what's going on physiologically with clients, particularly in relation to safety and threat, and how their responses are influenced by this.

An understanding of what's going on physiologically in the therapist, particularly in relation to safety and threat, and how their responses are influenced by this. 

Having a way to explain to clients why they are responding in the way they are.

Therapeutic interventions to help your clients (and you as a therapist) to regulate themselves.

Helping both clients and therapists to move to a more compassionate stance in understanding why we behave the way we do, especially when we feel threatened or unsafe.


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Do I have to have a medical/nursing background to understand the workshops?

No, just a curiosity about what may be going on when you respond in particular ways to life.

How will it make me a better practitioner?

We all have bodies that respond to what's going on in our world. Having a better understanding of this helps to make sense of how these responses come about in your client and in yourself as a therapist.  This can help you feel more compassion towards your clients, and yourself, when you find either of you reacting in ways that don't always make sense on the surface. It will also give you practical ways to work to help your clients learn how to regulate their systems.

Will I have to do a lot of reading outwith the workshops?

That's entirely up to you! There will be reading suggested in the resources, but there will also be notes provided to supplement the workshops which will enhance your understanding and provide additional information alongside the PowerPoint presentations.  

When I go to a 'real' workshop, I get to work in small groups for 'experiential' exercises how will this work 'online'?

The workshops are 'live' and interactive. You will be able to interact with the facilitator and your colleagues on the workshop just as you would if you were attending a venue. There is the facility to go into 'breakout rooms' with a smaller number of the group to do experiential exercises or for small group discussions. You will also be able to watch and interact in the more formal presentation material that the facilitator may use.


I'm not very technical. How will I manage?

Before the workshop, you will have a one-to-one session with a colleague from 'Onlinevents' who will take you through the technical part. It's not complicated, and if you have basic computer skills you should manage fine. You will need a webcam with sound to fully participate, but again, this will be covered in the 'Tech' session. You can access the workshop from a variety of devices. Read More about our online workshops



Maggi McAllister-MacGregor


Maggi Said: As the facilitator of this course I have an unique background and experience to bring to it.  I started Yoga when I was 12yrs old in 1966; at that time in the West of Scotland not many people had heard of it, but it sounded interesting and I signed up for some classes. It made me pay attention to my body in a way that I hadn't before, and so began my curiosity with bodies! Maybe this was spurred on by having parents who thought that if you had physically 'sore' places in your body, the way to deal with it was to have a massage! I remember massaging my Mum's shoulders when I was about 6yrs old - don't know how effective I was then, but I improved with practice!  


I have had a long interest in neuroscience that began with my first degree in the early '70's, and subsequent experience as a body therapist, before becoming a counselling therapist and trainer in 2000, and have taught on a PG Diploma in Counselling for 13 years.  The Body - Mind connection is one that fascinates me and I want to share some of my experiences and learning with other therapists.



Maggi Said: I've often thought that therapy fails to take what's going on in our bodies in account, and how this influences how we are in the world, and how we see and experience the world and our relationships.  Understanding this as therapists will enhance your practice by helping clients make sense of the experiences and reactions that they have, enabling them to be more accepting of their bodies and appreciate how they are trying to ultimately keep them safe.


- Informative

- Useful

- Life-changing



Maggi McAllister-MacGregor

My interest in neuroscience has spanned 4 decades, from my first degree in the early 70’s, when neuroscience was in it’s infancy, and a lot of what we knew was on a cellular and structural level, and much less was known about function at that time. My degree was in optics and visual sciences, which included anatomy, physiology, pathology and pharmacology. It also covered visual perception so there was a cross-over with psychology as well.


In the mid 80’s I made a career move to massage and sports therapy, which obviously had a body focus. I was also interested in sports psychology, particularly in how visualisation could be used to enhance sports performance.


One thing that I found in my bodywork was that often clients would have an emotional release during the work. And I’ve experienced this first-hand myself as a client.


From all of this, I knew the brain (mind) - body link was real. Neuroscience backs this up.  


The experiences that my massage clients were having got me interested in doing a psychology degree, but I was disappointed to find a big body – mind split. Emotions were largely discounted, and the idea of ‘body memories’ was dismissed – but remember this was in the 90’s when neuroscience was just beginning to forge some credibility within the sciences. I ‘knew’ about the mind – body connection from my work with clients and personal experience, but anecdotal or experiential evidence is not acceptable ‘proof’. I decided that psychology wasn’t a route that could support me in my exploration, so that was when I decided on counselling as a better fit for how I wanted to work.


That led me to a Counselling Skills course, and then a Diploma in Counselling from Strathclyde University that I completed in 2000.  


My client work since then has been in different areas – bereavement, childhood sexual abuse, anxiety and depression both in GP and private practice. I work entirely now in private practice, and offer training for therapists


Over the years, I’ve honed my interest to working with stress, anxiety and trauma, and how these affect relationships. I’m increasingly integrating my understanding of neuroscience and the body into my work.

I’m a Certified Clinical Trauma Practitioner and have completed training in Emotion Focussed Therapy levels 1-3, Couples’ Therapy, Neuroscience in Therapy, and Supervision.


I was a trainer on the PG Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy between 2005 - 2018, and the PG Certificate in Counselling Skills 2014 -2016.

TWITTER: @maggimacsync

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New Workshop Programme


We are acutely aware that for many colleagues in the helping professions travel is extremely difficult due to time, money and health constraints. We are developing this programme so that the workshops offered by experienced trainers from all over the world can also be accessed by you from the comfort of your own home

This workshop will be hosted in the Zoom meeting platform which has all the resources we need to create an experiential group learning environment. The workshops will have access to an online group room, breakout rooms for small groups, whiteboards for creating and sharing resources and the capacity to communicate with voice and text.

How Do I Join the Workshop?

One week before the date of the workshop you will receive an email which will include a clickable link to join the workshop. About 10 minutes before the workshop is about to begin please goto this email and click on the link. This will open the Zoom meeting on your computer or mobile device.

When you register for the workshop you will receive an email with an invitation to meet a colleague from the onlinevents team in Zoom who will help you orientate to the Zoom environment. Because the workshop will require the use of the camera and microphone on your computer or mobile device we want to help you feel confident using your technology.

Please note that we are requiring that all workshop participants meet with a colleague from the onlinevents team before participating in the onlinevents workshop programme so that the workshop can begin and run smoothly. Any colleagues who do not respond to the invitation for the pre-workshop meeting will not be able to join the workshop. This pre-workshop meeting will prepare you to attend this workshop and any other onlinevents workshop that you choose to register for. You wont need to attend one meeting per workshop.

Reduced Workshop Fees

We are offering a reduced number of low cost places to this workshop on a first come first serve basis. The tickets will be visible until they are sold out and then the full cost places will be visible on the ticket form.

100% Learning Guarantee


Our number one priority at onlinevents is your learning. Which means we stand by our learning experiences 100%, no matter what, no holds barred, no ifs, no buts.


If you have a problem, we will solve it. Refund it. Whatever it takes. Just reach out to our Customer Learning Team. We’re here for you. Learning Guaranteed.

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Please contact one of the team on +44 114 4782601 or for more information. 

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