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…

Read More »


Trauma’s Impact on the Brain

When a traumatic event triggers our internal alarm system, the body goes into fight, flight, or freeze . . . . . . but what happens in the brain during trauma? According to Dan Siegel, MD, there are two key chemical reactions to trauma (and one can play a role in actually shrinking part of the brain). Check out the video clip (below) for more – it’s just 4 minutes. Click here to sign up Knowing how trauma affects the brain can enhance our interventions for helping patients heal from a traumatic experience. And this Wednesday, Dan will be getting…

Read More »


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….

Read More »


Neurofeedback Training for Trauma Treatment

Yesterday in the Rethinking Trauma webinar series, I had a conversation with Sebern Fisher, MA. Sebern is an expert in the use of neurofeedback and has seen tremendous success in implementing this revolutionary technology with patients. Some of the questions that have come up repeatedly are, “How do I get trained on using neurofeedback with patients? What equipment do I need?” Because I’m a bit of a techno-phobe myself, I asked Sebern about the training that’s involved and the kind of equipment she uses. And, since so many have asked, I wanted to share what she had to say –…

Read More »


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…

Read More »


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…

Read More »