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    June 2011 CTA Newsletter

NMT Clinical Practice Tools Complete Testing Phase
CTA Welcomes New Fellow and New NMT Partner Site
The Brain and Relational Capacity

BORN FOR LOVE - Now in Paperback


The ChildTrauma Academy is pleased to provide this monthly newsletter to subscribers.  Each month we try to provide some updates on the research, educational efforts and program development projects of our Fellows and affiliated partners.  Over the years we have formed many active relationships with individuals and organizations.  It is in context of these relationships that the work of the CTA takes place.  We encourage the reader to learn more about these remarkable individuals and outstanding organizations by visiting our website - www.ChildTrauma.org.  This month we highlight two of our new relationships and have a brief discussion of the brain and relational capacity - How many "friends" can one person truly claim?  Learn about Dunbar's number and the limits of social connection in the modern world.

Brain Maps
NMT Metric Tool Ends Beta-Testing Phase

The ChildTrauma Academy's NMT Clinical Practice Tools have completed Beta Testing.  Beginning July 1, 2011, NMT-certifed clinicians (or those in the process of certification) will have access to these tools on a subscription basis.  Visit NMT Training Certification to learn more about certification.  


The NMT Clinical Practice Tools include the "Functional Brain Map" which allows the clinician to make a visual representation of the functional status of a client's brain - and thereby begin to create a neurodevelopmentally-sensitive therapeutic, educational and enrichment plan for the client.  


Hull Logo
CTA Welcomes New Partner Site - Hull Child and Family Services
Hull Child and Family Services of Calgary, Alberta, is non-profit agency with expertise in issues that challenge children, families and communities. Through individualized assessment and treatment, combined with compassionate commitment, Hull carefully selects and delivers evidence based practices to ensure high quality care and beneficial outcomes. Areas of intervention include the effects of child maltreatment, abuse and neglect, issues involving mental illness, behavioural disorders, sexual victimization, addiction, developmental delay, poverty and depression. Hull's service continuum ranges from prevention and early intervention through to residential programs, and includes mental health and addiction services, in-home support, mentors, educational programs, family therapy, foster and kinship care, residential treatment and supported independent living.   
J. Clinton
Dr. Jean Clinton Joins CTA's Group of Fellows

Dr. Jean Clinton is an Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience at McMaster, Division of Child Psychiatry and is on staff at McMaster Children's Hospital.  She is also an Associate in the Department of Child Psychiatry, University of Toronto and Sick Children's Hospital.  She is an Associate Member of the Offord Centre for Child Studies and has been a consultant to child welfare and children's mental health programs for 25 years. We are happy to welcome her to the CTA Fellows Program. 


To learn more about Dr. Clinton visit her bio section on The ChildTrauma Academy website: Dr. Clinton.
How Many Relationships Can We Maintain?
Humankind is a social species.  For thousands of generations we lived in small hunter-gatherer bands - multifamily, multigenerational groups of relatively small size, say 50 to 60 members.  This relationally-dense social structure characterized the majority of humankind's history.  In the last several thousand years, however, humankind has been undergoing an increasingly rapid sociocultural evolution - the modern world is characterized by urbanization, mobility of populations, changes in family demographics, technologies that allow rapid and widely distributed relational communication. The number of "friends" on a child's Facebook site is hundreds if not thousands.  Yet there are neurobiological and time constraints that must limit the number of meaningful social interactions that any one person can have.  In a brilliant body of research and scholarship, British anthropologist, Robin Dunbar, speculated that the human neocortex was, in large part, a product of the evolutionary pressures of social complexity.  Complex social communication and interactions required more "brain" power.  He then conducted an elegant study in which he compared the size of the neocortex in various primate species and plotted that against the size of their social groups.  Simply stated, bigger brains allowed bigger social groups but ultimately effective management of social group size and relationships was limited by brain volume.  And from this he calculated that the number of meaningful relationships - "friends" - that a human could maintain was about 150!  (R. I. M. Dunbar. Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates. J. Human Evo., 22:469, 1992). This has been labeled "Dunbar's Number."  Several similar studies have since confirmed this general number.  In a very interesting recent study, a group led by Bruno Goncalves and colleagues analyzed Twitter communications and arrive at the conclusion that while social communication networks have changed the manner in which we communicate, the basic social capacity and capabilities of humans do not.  Even on Facebook or Twitter we can only maintain meaningful reciprocal social communication with about 150 people!  Worth thinking about.  Do we really rob precious minutes away from forming and maintaining meaningful relationships with family and friends by superficial and continuous "communication" with thousands of "friends" on Facebook?  - B.D. Perry  
We are looking forward to an exciting summer as we prepare for the new NMT Training Certification for Sites and Invididuals to begin in September.  Please see our website if you are interested in learning more.
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Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.
The ChildTrauma Academy