How Drama and Theater Can Rewire Limiting Beliefs

As practitioners, we sometimes have to be creative in coming up with interventions that will work for a particular patient. And this can be especially true when clients have deeply rooted limiting beliefs about themselves. Bessel van der Kolk, MD is a master at coming up with creative approaches to help clients work with beliefs and emotions that hold them back. In the video below, Bessel shares a story about how, and why, theater can be a powerful tool in working with patients. Take a look – it’s just under 5 minutes. This video was taken from the Next Level…

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3 Ways Undiagnosed Trauma Disrupts Lives

When people have trouble paying attention, when they’re too emotional, or reactionary, or downright aggressive, what can we do to help them turn it around? Perhaps too often, these behaviors are addressed with medication for ADHD or bipolar disorder. But according to Bessel van der Kolk, MD, the problem (and the solution) may lie in knowing how to recognize the signs and symptoms of childhood trauma. Bessel walks us through the major markers of this kind of trauma in this short video – check it out, it’s just 4 minutes. Have you ever recognized any of these symptoms as potential…

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Coping with Childhood Trauma: A Strategy for Overcoming Increased Risk for HIV

Why is it that 33% to 53% of HIV-infected people have histories of childhood sexual abuse? Many symptoms commonly found among survivors of childhood sexual abuse, such as helplessness, low self-esteem, dissociation, denial, and self-destructiveness are also often seen in conjunction with HIV risk behavior. Studies show that childhood sexual abuse is associated with avoidant coping, which can lead to increased traumatic symptoms. So perhaps changing the coping strategy of people who experienced childhood sexual abuse could be useful? Duke University professor Kathleen J. Sikkema, PhD conducted a study to examine whether a coping intervention could reduce traumatic stress and…

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Treating Trauma in Children

Trauma’s victims are often among the most vulnerable in society . . . . . . especially when they include children. When trauma occurs at a young age, children can face biological effects that change the way their brains are developing. This includes parts of the brain that are critical for processing emotions like trust, affect regulation, impulse control, and identity (amongst other things). So as caregivers, we look for ways we can help kids feel safe so that they can learn to regulate their emotions and begin to heal. One promising intervention might be group therapy for kids sharing…

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A Trauma Therapy Program for Children in Conflict Zones

If a single traumatic experience can change a person’s life for years to come, what must an average day be like for someone who faces traumatic events on a routine basis? For people affected by war or natural disaster, where entire populations from infants to the elderly have been exposed to so much suffering, what can we possibly put in place to help them cope? Researchers wanted to see whether the Teaching Recovery Techniques (TRT) program could be one effective resource for this population. TRT is a skills-based cognitive behavioral therapy program that has significantly reduced symptoms of PTSD in…

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How Your Brain “Grows Up”: Brain Change from Adolescence to Adulthood

Growing up, do you remember counting down the days until your 18th birthday? For many of us, 18 meant adulthood and, most importantly, freedom from the rules and restrictions that often come along with adolescence . . . . . . rules meant to protect teenagers from what we might think of as risky or impulsive behavior. According to Dan Siegel, MD, these behaviors may have to do with the structure of the teenage brain. In this video, he explains one fundamental change that happens in the brain during adolescence, and why it may hold the key to understanding the…

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