Food, Farming, and New Year’s Resolutions: Starting the New Year Off With Purpose

For many of us, ringing in the new year means setting goals – maybe replacing a bad habit (or two) with a good one, or doing something completely out of the ordinary. Just a quick internet search tells me it’s likely that a lot of us may even be setting similar intentions . . . . . . like eating better, and getting healthy. What you choose to eat can have lasting effects on your body, and your brain, which may be why diet is such a popular new year’s resolution. But food isn’t only important for good health. For…

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What does Beethoven have in common with Jimi Hendrix?

Trauma: what does Jimi Hendrix and Beethoven have in common

Last night, I went to a concert at the auditorium at the University of Connecticut. An orchestra from Germany was playing the music of Beethoven, but I came away with an appreciation of . . . . . . Jimi Hendrix? It might sound rather unlikely, but bear with me here. Because as it turns out, there’s a bridge over the gulf that separates the musical styles of Ludwig von Beethoven and Jimi Hendrix. You see, before the concert last night, I went to an eye-opening presentation led by Alain Frogley, Professor of Music History at the University of Connecticut….

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Our Hearts Go Out to Sandy Hook Elementary

Tragedy at Sandy Hook

How can this keep happening? That was my immediate thought upon hearing the tragic news of this latest school shooting that took place yesterday in my home state of Connecticut. The unthinkable has happened again, this time at an elementary school – 26 dead, 18 of them children, at the time of this writing. The details, I’m sure, will keep trickling out for weeks to come. But the heartbreak is here and now, and the wounds of such trauma run incredibly deep for the families whose lives have just changed irrevocably. And even though in our work as practitioners we’re…

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Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Female Rape Victims

PTSD can occur when someone experiences a single traumatic event. But what happens when a person is exposed to a traumatic environment over a long period of time? Healing from PTSD is challenging enough, but a person with a history of trauma who is re-traumatized is often likely to develop what’s called complex PTSD. Patricia Resick, PhD and her colleagues studied the potential for healing in women with an extensive history of trauma who were diagnosed with complex PTSD as a result of rape. She randomly assigned them into cognitive-processing therapy, prolonged exposure, or a wait-list control. Results showed that…

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Women in Abusive Relationships: Their Telomeres Tell the Story

Partner Abuse Trauma

We know that trauma has a significant psychological impact, but it has long-term biological consequences as well. In the past we’ve talked about how trauma affects the body, such as increasing chances for irritable bowel syndrome. This is another case that exemplifies this effect, but this time, using telomeres. As we’ve mentioned before, telomeres are protective caps that stabilize the ends of chromosomes and help regulate cellular aging. As we get older, our telomeres get shorter until our cells eventually die. They’re sometimes used in research to determine “biological age” and can be a good marker of overall health. Led…

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Trauma and Resilience: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger?

Psychological Balance and Resilience

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Although most of us have probably heard this euphemism before, a recent study looked at traumatic life experiences to see how true this saying really was. Published in the Current Directions in Psychological Science, Mark D. Seery, PhD and his colleagues from the University of Buffalo, delved into the impact trauma has on individuals and whether or not it actually makes them psychologically stronger and more resilient. Traumatic events like major natural disasters, sexual abuse, or the death of a loved one obviously incur psychological damage, so where does that saying come…

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