Amy Banks, M.D. discusses how neuroscience research shows that the human brain responds to social pain, such as social exclusion or loss of love, the same way it responds to physical pain. Knowing that social pain can have significant implications for wellbeing, she encourages us to consider how we can address cultural factors (child rearing norms, social systems, communities, etc.) through education, policies, practices that promote healthy relationship versus isolation.

Banks is Director of Advanced Training at the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute (JBMTI) at Wellesley Centers for Women. She has devoted her career to understanding the neurobiology of relationships. In addition to her work at JBMTI, she was an instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She is the first person to bring relational-cultural theory together with neuroscience and is the foremost expert in the combined field. Banks is the creator of the C.A.R.E. Program, an easy to use, practical guide that helps clinicians and laypeople assess the quality of their relationships and strengthen their neural pathways for connection. She also has a private practice in Lexington, MA, that specializes in relational psychopharmacology and therapy for people who suffer from chronic disconnection.

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