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Sharon Vaisvaser

Memory and Reminiscence in the Brain-Body-Mind

This dance/movement workshop will focus on the interconnected brain-body-mind interface in the experience of individual and collective reminiscence. We will delve into the ongoing formation and re-formation of our memories, through spontaneous movement, in an experiential holistic approach, combining visual art and intuitive writing, incorporating understandings of dynamic brain functions. The artistic perspective, informed by neuroscience, will enable integrative processing of the embodied and relational nature of memory and the inherent link between retrieval of our past, being at the present moment and the envisioning of our future.

Moving along and between the articulated conscious recollection and the unconscious zones of implicit memory, we will touch upon the memory-related reinstatement of emotions, as bodily reactions, changing our inner balance and thus our perceptions and feelings. We could then recognise the impact of arousal and emotional saliency on the traces of our memories. Realizing that in our embodied brain, neurobiological systems mediating emotional arousal and memory are very closely linked. We can acknowledge the adaptive role of these inner voices from our past, resonating within us, and the way they affect our present, as a window for self-awareness and change. Re-engagement with the past can interact and modify memory representations, highlighting the potential for clinical avenues. Through creative acts, imagination, and empathic attunement in the intersubjective arena, individual and collective themes emerge. Providing a safe space for self and self-other explorations, we meet, shape and reconfigure our narratives, as interactive agents of transformation. Such an interdisciplinary approach to memory processing and reconsolidation enlightens the neuroplasticity-enhancing potential of creative arts. The opportunity to travel in time yet return to the present moment, to listen to voices from within the body, to curiously and creatively express and play with autobiographical content, accept and enact our story, will be linked to development, brain-body-mind health and well-being.

Sharon Vaisvaser

Dr. Sharon Vaisvaser is a dance/movement therapist. She maintains a private clinic and serves as the clinical manager of an ASD kindergarten (Autism Research and Treatment Center). Sharon is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Society and the Arts (ASA), Ono Academic College, in Israel, where she teaches and trains DMT and other arts therapies students and practitioners. She completed her PhD in neuroscience at Tel Aviv University; her area of expertise includes a focus on emotional memory, stress and trauma. She conducted her studies at Sagol Brain Institute, Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. Currently, she is also the regional director (Middle East- Israel) in The International Association of Creative Arts Somatic Education (IACASE). Additionally, she is a choreographer and contemporary dance teacher, leading group improvisation and composition workshops; she has worked with people from around the world in Taglit Dance-Journey program (Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and the Jewish Agency).

Recent Publications and Presentations

Schwartz, S., Lieblich, A., Marcow Speiser, V., Lakh, E., Cohen, T., Dushi, P., Gilad, A., Vaisvaser, S. (2020) Life story and the arts: A didactic crossroad. Journal of Applied Arts & Health

Vaisvaser, S. (2019). Moving along and beyond the spectrum: creative group therapy for children with autism. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 417.‏

Admon, R.*, Vaisvaser, S.*, Erlich, N., Lin, T., Shapira-Lichter, I., Fruchter, E., Gazit, T., Hendler, T. (2018). The role of the amygdala in enhanced remembrance of negative episodes and acquired negativity of related neutral cues. Biological psychology, 139, 17-24.‏ * authors have equal contribution.

Vaisvaser S., Modai S., Farberov L., Lin T., Sharon H., Gilam A., Admon R., Fruchter E., Bar-Haim Y., Tarrasch R., Shomron N., Hendler T. (2016) Neuro-epigenetic indications of acute stress response in healthy humans: the case of miR29c. PLoS One. 11(1): e0146236.

Vaisvaser S., Lin T., Admon R., Podlipsky I., Greenman Y., Stern N., Fruchter E., Wald I., Pine D.S., Tarrasch R., Bar-Haim Y., Hendler T. (2013) Neural traces of stress: cortisol related sustained enhancement of amygdala-hippocampal functional connectivity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.7:313.

Maron-Katz A., Vaisvaser S., Lin T., Shamir R., Hendler T. (2016) A large-scale perspective on stress-induced alterations in resting-state networks. Scientific Reports 6:21503.

Lin T., Vaisvaser S., Fruchter E., Admon R., Pine D., Charney D., Wald I., Bar-Haim Y. and Hendler T. (2014) A neurobehavioral account for individual differences in resilience to chronic military stress. psychological medicine 5:1-13.

2019: Multifaceted narratives of the dynamic moving body, European Consortium for Arts Therapies Education (ECArTE) conference (Spain, 2019).

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