Three Ways Trauma Can Change the Brain

The treatment of trauma can be some of the most complex work practitioners face. And for years, this challenge was complicated by not having a clear picture of the impact that trauma has on the brain. But scientific advances within just the past few years have opened the eyes of practitioners to what actually happens in the brain of someone who has experienced trauma. And according to Bessel van der Kolk, MD, there are three major ways that the brain changes in response to trauma. To find out what they are (and their impact on the body), take a look…

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PTSD, the Hippocampus, and the Amygdala – How Trauma Changes the Brain

Emotional neurocircuitry . . . . . . it’s how the brain is wired for emotions. But in the brain of a person with PTSD, emotional distress could physically (and perhaps even visibly) change the neurocircuitry. In a normal brain, the interaction between the hippocampus and the amygdala is important for processing emotional memory. It’s suspected that they both change in response to experience as well. But when someone experiences trauma, do these parts of the brain change together, or are they completely independent of one another? In a recent study led by Quan Zhang, MD at China’s Tianjin Medical…

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Healing a Traumatized Brain with Neurofeedback

Pioneers in the field of brain science and the treatment of trauma are continually researching new ways to help treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) . . . . . . and it looks like they’ve found something that works with the plasticity of the brain to help people gain control over a restless mind. R.C. Kluetsch, MSc and a team of researchers wanted to find out if neurofeedback training can change the plasticity of brain networks linked to PTSD. The research team investigated whether a single session of electroencephalographic (EEG) neurofeedback training would affect the state of anxiety and arousal…

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One Powerful Trauma Intervention for Working with a “Fear-Driven” Brain

When we treat patients who have experienced trauma, we’re often working with a brain that’s driven by fear. So for practitioners, it can be essential to know just what part of the brain to focus in on, and more importantly, what you can do once you know where to look. According to Sebern Fisher, MA, there’s one powerful intervention that can help . . . . . . and it can be a resource for patients who are trying to calm a frightened brain after trauma. Check out the video clip (below) for more – it’s just 3 minutes. Click…

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Rethinking Trauma: The Third Wave of Trauma Treatment

As someone who’s been practicing for a while, I’ve seen our view on the treatment of trauma go through substantial development. Our research, theory and treatments have all advanced considerably in the last 40 years. And as I reflect upon this, I’m seeing 3 waves in the evolution of our outlook. Looking back at when I first began to practice (in the late 70’s) our understanding of trauma was really quite limited. Of course we recognized the fight / flight response ever since Hans Selye introduced the notion back in the 50’s. But our prevailing treatment option was talk therapy….

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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 body believed to be responsible for maintaining mood balance. The serotonin transporter gene codes for a molecule that regulates the amount of serotonin signaling between brain cells, and it’s a key target for the treatment of mood disorders. It’s also well known for its involvement…

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