Vivify Owner Rachel Hiraldo Presents on Neuroscience and Anxiety Treatment at the 2024 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium

The Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, a pinnacle event in the mental health field, once again brought together professionals from around the globe to Washington D.C. to explore innovative approaches, share insights, and foster connections in April of 2024. Among the esteemed presenters were Vivify’s owner, Rachel Hiraldo, LPCC, and Dr. Catherine Pittman, PhD, of St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN, whose dynamic presentation captivated nearly 500 therapists both in person and online.

Rachel Hiraldo, is known for her expertise in anxiety treatment and trauma-informed care as a Certified Clinical Anxiety Treatment Professional. Dr. Pittman, brought her expertise in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Neuropsychology that are expressed in her popular books such as “Rewire the Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry” and “Taming Your Amygdala,” which have become invaluable resources for both therapists and individuals seeking to understand and overcome anxiety.

Together, they delivered a compelling lecture titled “Taming the Amygdala: Simplifying Exposure Therapy to Transform Fear into Courage.” The topic delved into the intricate workings of the amygdala, the brain’s emotional center, and its pivotal role in the fight-flight-freeze response. This primal survival mechanism, mediated by the amygdala, dictates our instinctive reactions to perceived threats, whether it be confronting the danger head-on, fleeing from it, or becoming immobilized in a state of fear.

Exposure therapy, a cornerstone of evidence-based psychotherapy, was a focal point of Hiraldo and Pittman’s presentation. This therapeutic approach involves systematically confronting feared stimuli in a safe and controlled environment, allowing individuals to gradually confront and process their fears. By repeatedly exposing individuals to anxiety-provoking stimuli, exposure therapy facilitates habituation, leading to reduced fear and anxiety over time. Empirical evidence consistently supports the efficacy of exposure therapy in treating various anxiety disorders, including phobias, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Numerous studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing symptoms and improving overall functioning, making it a valuable tool in the therapist’s repertoire.

The three-hour presentation provided attendees with practical strategies and evidence-based techniques to harness the power of exposure therapy in treating anxiety disorders and trauma-related conditions. Drawing from their extensive clinical experience, Hiraldo and Pittman navigated complex concepts with clarity and insight, offering attendees a comprehensive understanding of the effective therapeutic intervention. Hiraldo was also able to present practical ways in which Exposure Therapy can be integrated with other empirically supported treatments, such as EMDR, that she utilizes as additional treatment methodologies.

Hiraldo’s and Pittman’s passion for empowering therapists to effectively address the needs of their clients shone through as they shared real-world case studies as well as normalizing how fear impacts everyone to some degree. Attendees were not only equipped with theoretical knowledge but also practical tools to integrate into their clinical practice. What set their presentation apart was their ability to bridge the gap between theory and practice, making complex neuroscience principles accessible and applicable in the therapy room. Their engaging delivery and collaborative approach fostered an inclusive learning environment where attendees felt inspired and empowered to elevate their clinical skills. They reached a diverse audience, transcending geographical boundaries and fostering a global community of mental health practitioners united in their commitment to excellence in psychotherapy.

The Symposium’s hybrid format, accommodating both in-person and online participants, underscored the importance of accessibility and inclusivity in professional development opportunities. With almost 4,000 attendees from around the world, the Symposium provided a platform for mental health professionals to come together, share insights, and learn from one another’s experiences.

That broad platform makes the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium one of the premiere ways for therapists to continue their education and stay abreast of the latest research in the field, which is a priority for all clinicians at Vivify Counseling and Wellness. In addition to teaching, Rachel Hiraldo was able to gain additional training in integrative and natural treatment methods, treating family of origin wounds, grief, shame, trauma, and working with adult children of addiction. Aislinn Baldi, another skilled therapist at Vivify Counseling and Wellness also attended the Symposium and was able to enrich her clinical skills to work with adult children of emotionally immature parents, as well as gained a deeper understanding of using “parts” work, treating shame, using trauma-focused tapping (EFT) as well as Exposure Therapy.

As the symposium concluded, Rachel Hiraldo and Aislinn Baldi left enriched with newfound knowledge, invigorated by meaningful connections, and were inspired by the numerous keynote speakers and lectures which they are able to bring back to the greater Cincinnati area and the clients they work with at Vivify.

Rachel Hiraldo’s and Dr. Catherine Pittman’s contributions to the field of Psychotherapy will continue to resonate and benefit therapists and their clients nationwide. In the ever-evolving landscape of mental health, their dedication to empirically supported treatments and quality instruction will guide therapists toward greater efficacy and empowerment in their therapeutic endeavors.

As we reflect on the profound impact of the 2024 Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, we look forward to the continued growth and collaboration that will shape the future of psychotherapy and look forward to Vivify Counseling and Wellness’ ongoing part to play in it.

Request Appointment