Resistance to PTSD: Could It Be in Your DNA?

Not everyone who experiences trauma develops PTSD. So what might be boosting the resilience of the folks who experience trauma and don’t suffer from PTSD? According to Israel Liberzon, MD, of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, genetic factors might play a role. When combined with trauma in early childhood, a tiny DNA change (or…

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Epigenetics Might Help Us Predict How the Brain Responds to Threats

If you could predict how well your clients might be able to deal with stress, just based on a blood or saliva sample, would that change your treatment approach? There’s a specific gene that’s been getting a lot of attention lately because it affects how the brain processes serotonin – a chemical created inside the…

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A Reflection on This Season of Renewal

For weeks I’ve been staring out my window at bare forsythia branches, almost willing them to reveal the slightest whisper of yellow. Finally, the other day, I saw it—the hint of yellow I’d been squinting so hard to detect seems suddenly to have arrived in full flower. Snowdrops and purple and white crocus had already…

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The Polyvagal Theory: Looking at Trauma through a New Lens

Can trauma haunt the body the same way it haunts memories? According to Stephen Porges, PhD, not only does the body remember a traumatic experience, but it can actually get stuck in the trauma response mode. So even when life becomes safe, the body still perceives danger and its defenses stay engaged. Why does this…

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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…

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Dreaming of a Greener Christmas

For a while now, I’ve been trying to do my part. I bring my canvas bags to the grocery store and the farmer’s market. I recycle my newspapers and plastics, and lately I’ve been buying a lot more in glass and going to the local food co-op to refill those containers. And while I’m not…

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