Three Ways Trauma Changes 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 at the video below – it’s just 3 minutes.

Bessel is one of the world’s leading experts in trauma and PTSD. Because of his research, we have a deeper understanding of how trauma impacts both body and brain.

And this is crucial – it can help us target our interventions more effectively.

So now, we’d like to hear from you . . .

When it comes to the treatment of trauma, what do you want to know most? Please leave your comment below.


Please Leave A Comment



  1. Belinda says:

    I’m interested in transgenerational trauma and how this exhibits symptoms in people. What does it look like from a brain, cellular and behavioural level. I am a daughter of a Vietnam Vteran who was born in a concentration camp by my grandmother who was a POW. My mother is from the Stolen Generation in australia. Understanding how this effects me means I can avoid or reduce the impact on my daughter. Thanks for your insights.

  2. Christopher says:

    I never felt the same after finding my Dad dead in the chair from a heart attack over 40 years ago now,I had just been awakened from a deep sleep prior to this by my Narcissist Mother shouting hysterically ,a couple of weeks after, she ended up blaming me for his death through giving him stress through getting my girlfriend pregnant and dabbling with drugs and living a wild lifestyle, I married my girlfriend but it didn,t last and I left her but was riddled with guilt plus the guilt of perhaps killing my Father even though he suffered with several ailments i.e C.O.P.D, Angina, Fleabitis and high blood pressure, I returned to going out 5 nights a week drinking to try and make me feel better but P.T.S.D hit me a few months after and I suffered Panic attacks and a feeling of fear and insecurity and a lacking in mental strength and assertiveness which held me back in life as did the guilt,I should of gone to a Doctor again but he had previously given me something that had just made me feel dopey, when I look back I should have had Councilling but didn,t really know what was wrong with me and I just felt I would eventually get over things .

  3. David George says:

    Went to university four times and passed once- an entry level community based programme. Was always a volunteer- something i began at a young age. Some of the practitioners are also members of the client group- reassuring. I would have placed myself there too- if i had my head together.

    Conversations amongst all stakeholders will bring forward solutions. We must keep trying- what other hope do we have?

  4. Emma Chamberlain says:

    Currently To improve my mental wellbeing, to be able to concentrate, to be able to read a book. Grew up around DV was sexually abused by two members of the family. Mother alcoholic and unavailable, brought up my younger siblings the best I could, left on our own for days without any food in the house. When in adulthood, partners were abusive or dv. So now, my children keep me alive, and I finally got my dream of going to university that keeps me alive. I do not drink I do not take drugs I do not self medicate. I just want to get better. I am diagnosed with ADult ADD, post traumatic stress disorder panic attacks anxiety depression sorry manic depression or the term is now bi polar disorder. I say no I have just had a shit life. Trying my hardest to complete university but I’m failing miserably. No confidence or self esteem. My daily mantra is to help a person who is struggling I go out of my way to do this which boosts my self esteem. I struggle with trusting people and I feel worthless and round and around I go trying to be strong and plough through the fallout of the shit life only to want to make others feel better about theirselves. How insane is that???? But my children keep me strong from ending it all!!!! So this is a new treatment please change my brain and make me clever make me forget so I don’t have to live with this ongoing trauma that never goes away

  5. Melinda comeau says:

    Been trought a voliece domestic abuse rape and my husband trying to kill me for many years still trying to get a divorce have panic attacks can’t stand being alone feel my husband is trying to kill me running for many years restrianing orders just piece of paper he broke my foot and tried run me over gets away with everything I seen people being killed and been attack many times can’t just anyone not attorneys poliece or many therapist believe most our narristic or up to something evil.

  6. premi says:

    I want to know what are the steps I can take on a daily basis – like a daily program that will help my brain recover.

  7. I suffer from anxiety panic attacks please can you advise.

  8. Laura Clifton says:

    Please forgive spelling on previous reply states “deviously” instead of previously

  9. Laura Clifton says:

    Thank you for video and research.

    Can you tell me if there is anyone working in theUK with effective tools based on these findings?
    I am 48 & deviously been told I have two types of PTSD and mostly have been chipping away on my own without specific ptsd support. Thank you

  10. Jan says:

    This is so right on! I am aware but I have not been successful in resetting myself. It is heart breaking…..

  11. Dave says:

    Bessel is spot on in my case.

    I had a lousy childhood which I’ve struggled with for years. My Father was a bully, showed no love or affection and it transpires was in a relationship with another woman, who he eventually married. I had a remembering on the train home one night from work of him coming in drunk and telling me he had found a new mother for me. I was about five or six but has somehow put this to the back of my mind for all those years.

    I am a Chartered Electrical Engineer and have been having problems concentrating on my work. I have had to finish work because of the issue of concentration. It really is bad.

    I have had mental problems since approx. 1987 when I began having panic attacks and it spiralled into what I can only describe as some sort of breakdown. It was horribly surreal. I was 27.

    Through all of this, I have never received any love, affection. I am now 55 and I’m surprised I’ve made it this far.

  12. Sari Lloyd says:

    What is the best way to take a person down from this heightened state of fear and arousal?

    • David George says:

      First aid? Emotional First aid? Depends on the person. Just sitting beside the person and squeezing fingers, ah reckon. Ah heard Dr Bessel’s account of an accident he was in. That exactly is what pulled him through.

  13. Michelle says:

    This clip described exactlyhow i feel. How do i change this.
    Thank you

  14. Tania T says:

    How can one start to heal those effects of trauma. As a young girl I experienced sexual abuse. Although I have done a lot of work to overcome the impacts of trauma.

    Impacts such as my self perception, my ability to learn, my ability to understand that the situation was out of my control. The ability to forgive the perpetrator

    As well as I have forgiven the perpetrator and those around the long term situation. I am uncovering aspects of my life where I still experience physical, psychological and emotional impacts.

  15. Darcy says:

    Is EMDR a good treatment for trauma? If so, would you explain why? Also, if someone has had many multiple traumatic events, is it cumulative and how do you process this? Should it be individually dealt with? How?
    Thank you

    • Mazz says:

      Have a chat with your shrink about if there is a method that is less ‘Confronting” perhaps. EMDR may be OK for a handful of shocks to the psych. When you’re talking multiple trauma over decades though, then that EMDR routine is hitting you in every cell of your body at the same time. YMMV, I don’t find it particularly comfortable! I feel there’s got to be a mellower way of treating Severe (Complex/Multiple) PTSD.
      Yes, it is ( can be ?) cumulative, depending on personal resilliance…etc. Eventually you absorb the trauma physically into your cells ( Rather than radiate the horror show that’s going on in your head; having the poor person you’re with ending up in a sobbing mess on the floor) , you suck all the agitated energy back into you before it can escape the first couple of inches of your aura. It’s physically part of you, (well duh,Doc, I’d sorta assumed de-regulated brain chemistry was physical).
      Each instance of trauma is treated as a unit, You may find the Doc is trying to cram 2-3 units into a visit ( Bl%^$y slave driver Doc!). Initially 6-8 visits have given me back a whole lot of Focus, I’m even doing some of that Functioning stuff! Fairly regularly!
      Keep a sense of humour mate ( albeit dark ) and know that we’ll all end up fixed, or close as, eventually.

      Best luck.

  16. It is a very useful and helpful website. Thanks for such a good website.

  17. Lisa says:

    I am desperate to know where to begin. I have been experiencing very horrible PTSD/Anxiety and Depression and I cannot seem to break the cycle. Another issue is help is out of reach for many of us if you do not have the financials means to pay for it. How do we help ourselves if we cannot afford expensive psychotherapy?

    • Maybe those with chronic PTSD can start a Facebook Page to support each other around the world. What do you think about that?

      • Ruth Ronan says:

        Hi, there are several PTSD support groups currently on FB which provide amazing support and a community of people that understand lived experience of PTSD. It doesn’t substitute for quality trained therapy however it provides additional support and understanding.

        • Thank you so much for your response.

          Can someone please post the links to the Facebook PTSD groups?

          Not everyone has the financial resources to access ongoing support for PTSD, even though we may need/want it…finances may hold us back.

      • Yes! I would love that. I live in a remote place.

      • David George says:

        …oh yes… would be neat to have a facebook forum around the Nicklebum [NICABM] concepts!
        Breaking down the walls is half the battle- great idea…!

    • David George says:

      Bessel says that there is no cure for C-PTSD. But they have given a name to it- which is a start. I have ordered the book written by Dr Judith Herman- which is the pioneering work. I am part of a self help movement of survivors. We share our experience strength and hope with each other. We can be involved in follow ups for people who have received professional help. This only works if everyone pitches in. All of us represent together the primary stakeholders in this business. Of dealing with chronic anxiety. Around the NICABM family I feel that we are valued, and our points of view are valid and important.

      Insights now- and hope… I do believe that answers and even some form of cure will emerge, over time.

      I work with people, who, because of economics and geography, do not have access to professional help. One of our greatest assets is our survivor skills. I unashamedly draw on the knowhow of the NICABM practitioners. I believe that we are all in this together… thanks you for raising the topic, Lisa!

  18. Dr B is spot on.i am all of that. Despite a very good psychologist I am still the rabbit running from the fox; my fight/flight switch stuck on the “on” position.
    Part of my problem is, I think, that one of my traumas is never out of the headlines

  19. Jackie Skinner says:

    What is the most effective treatment for trauma?

  20. Harmeet says:

    Now we know what happens to brain after trauma, what could be the possible ways to overcome all that is happening in the brain so that mind and body relax ?

  21. Angela Hernandez says:

    I think knowledge is power. Knowing why I feel the way I do helps me control the triggers or use some of the tools I have to help with triggers. Some tools I have are yoga, meditation and the most prominent one is art therapy. I forgot I also exercise. Was good info.

  22. Gill says:

    Please tell me how to cope now I have gone no contact with my abusive mother. I am 60 now and can take no more but I have read about Trauma Bonding and wonder if I have this. I have a lot of torment mentally.

    • Trauma bonding does happen. To extricate oneself from an abusive person, you need to separate yourself from the person, rebuild some healthier boundaries, and not allow the person to tread on your new boundaries. Speaking out about the behaviour or attitudes to the person who is hurting you is key to healthy self-care.

  23. R. Smythe-Freed says:

    I’ve found Cognitive Processing Therapy to be a highly effective modality

  24. I was one out of four children in a Catholic upper middle class family. at the age of eight I was sent to a residential school . There 800 miles from home I lived until I was 16. This was a very harmful place. ( i had suffered sexual assault when I was 5 years old.)
    At the convent I was spiritually , mentally , and physcally abused. I was institutionalized. I was damaged.

    Abuse, abandonment, fear, and sadness has followed me all my life. But now at 66, it has all come back ten fold.

    Just the few jewel of thought you have given me , has started to shed some light on PDST and me.
    Looking forward to your next e-mail.

    Thank you,blessings Donna

    • Yes. It seems to come back as you get wisdom!

    • Donna S says:

      Donna – you are a very brave person. I am about your age and have had a little similar story to yours. Continue the journey. Never give up on healing.

      • Religions failed to educate humans about their “animal nature” or teach them how to protect themselves from sexual predators, which should be a parents role, but can be perpetrated by parents, so then should be taught in schools, churches & all public forums.

        After my near death experience at the hands of 2 armed robbers who beat me within an inch of my life, I no longer, nor will I ever again believe in organized religion, which in my opinion is “the instrument of choice that the elite uses to control & dumb down the masses”.

        My near death experience forced me to experience the interconnectedness of all life, which the limited constructs of organized religion cannot explain.

        Life on planet earth & throughout the cosmos is more complex than religion can explain. My NDE forced me to expand beyond my childhood conditioning where ignorance was truly bliss & a place I can not return to.

  25. After all the contributions I made via this site about the PTSD program I took with the specialists here, I’m still plagued with unbearable symptoms.

    I understand neurofeedback/biofeedback works, but it is not covered by BC’s Medical System. How can the ONLY truly effective treatment for PTSD NOT be provided to those suffering with this disabling affliction?

    That’s the same as denying treatment to people with CANCER or any other life threatening illness/disease.

    HOW can the medical system be SO backwards & out of touch!?

    • Victoria carter says:

      I am officially a healed survivor . Look up Rapid Transformational Therapy freeing people from ptsd ocd depression and anxiety . I am a qualified and insured practitioner and would be very happy to do a free Skype demo for all the people who are on this list all you have to do is come and join . Anyone Wanting to know more can contact me at

    • Donna S says:


      I was reimbursed through Blue Cross for Neurofeedback, but it was related to a claim for a closed head injury.
      My head was not hit in an auto accident, but I started having difficulty with memory, concentration, etc.
      Thinking back to that, it could have just been from trauma that I had those symptoms. The neurofeedback definitely helped. Hope you can get some help.

      • Thank you Donna. Today I saw my GP & told her PTSD is like having cancer – but PTSD is not recognized or honored to be a truly treatable health life threatening disorder. Hmmm.

        Can I help the neurospecialists that host NICABM to help push for true medical support for those suffering with unresolved PTSD through the only effective treatment – neuro or bio-feedback?

        Please let me know. I CAN & WILL fight for change IF I have the full support of the NICAMB staff.

  26. I am the founder/developer and teacher of a therapy I call Restore. It works on the on the physical, mental and emotional aspects of a person. I use light touch on the skin of someone fully clothed and stimulate the acupuncture points, nervous system, connective tissue, fascia, matrix and lymphatic system. I use the neurotransmitters, seratonen, oxytocin, dipermine, endorphins and substance P to created a domino effect, stimulating the brain and sending chemicals messages through the body to releases impingements and blocks in the fascia, muscles, lymphatic,and neurological system, to bring in more blood, oxygen, nutrients and to release the neurological sustem, lymphatic system, miridians, and cellular memory, for better body function. I work on severe trauma, depression, anxiety, head injury, stroke, autism, disabilities, special needs and illnesses all at the same time. The Physical, mental and emotional aspects of someone drastically change with extraordinary results. I learned about Dr Bessels Ban Der Kolk’s work and created a treatment I do in my office and teach in a two day workshops so everyone can help others, for a better quality of life. I specialize in famlies and children. I have seen and experienced what happens in the body because of trauma. Restore for Life

  27. Sharon says:

    how to customize treatment……

  28. Karen Landdry says:

    With the brief therapy we are supposed to be doing with clients these days how can we best help them to move forward?

  29. Susanne says:

    I would like to know how to help those experiencing trauma and suffering PTSD as a result and also how the brain is effected by Electric Shock Treatment and how to help those affected by the trauma of that experience

    • I’d like to read any responses to your question about electroshock treatment.

      Both my parents had this done to them. Their memories were badly effected.

      Their consciousness seemed somewhat “vacant” from before the treatment.

  30. Judith Anderson, LPC, ATR says:

    I work with adolescents and teens who have experienced trauma and (often) disorganized attachments. They seem to routinely mistake these three distorted lenses (and their resulting theories) as the the markers of who they are; as aspects of their identity. In essence, they take them on AS their identity. Any suggestions on how to work with them on this at this particular developmental level? Thanks.

  31. I’ve had whip lash from car accidents & it never goes away. You might want to research accidents in your Court Law Library with the help of a clerk who can find the right books for you. Also, many injuries can lead to arthritis that lasts forever, so research your injuries, see how much they are worth if you are covered by insurance, and find a good lawyer who knows how to fight for you.

    • Karen says:

      One important Key is Forgiving those who have caused us pain.

      One of my favorite quotes is Forgiveness takes away the power of the past
      to rob the present of Peace.

      I have heard of people who were healed of the pain of arthritis or the pain of a Trauma
      the moment they released forgiveness toward someone who hurt them.

  32. Beth says:

    For the last few years, I have had more than one car accident. But nothing serious. One crash has damaged my car. Another is a collision. But it hurts badly my back until now. I have chiropractic for hip and back pain and regular exercises that I keep logging daily. No meds. It seemly like this may cause PTS. There has been no assessment done , just few preventive measure. Anyhow, could any adds-on symptoms – in a long run – will show in the aftermath? Thank you for your feedbacks.

  33. Nancy W says:

    I live listening to how people cope and , David, yours sounds great and makes a lot of sense. Thank you.

  34. Nancy W says:

    I feel this might be too much to ask… But, how to free a person’s mind from nightmares as recurrent flashbacks?

    • David George says:

      Oh that ramble- was leading me to my point! I am sleeping much better these days. I do dream deeply and roundly. When I wake at night [very old habits] I can self-nurture by breathing and crossing my arms… the content of my dreams are much more benign.

    • David George says:

      I followed Bessel van der Kolk’s journey closely. His beginnings, and near starvation in Holland.

      I was interested in his poly-vagal theory and how he related this to his research and practise; but also to his own personal journey.

      I am in this forum because I took three or four short courses from NICABM- with a view to treating myself. I do not live in the USA and don’t have access to formal treatment.

      The pull-through for me was deeper and more relaxed breathing. I actually coughed up a whole heap of gunk over 6 to 8 weeks. Not everybodies’ journey, I am sure.

      As a kid I suffered from gross neglect- and could relate to Bessel’s story, growing up in occupied Holland. He did actually become my therapist by proxy!

      Even watching his body language on the clip above here- I see by his hand gestures that he is lifting his chest.

      I find that people like ourselves are incredibly resourceful. Life for a long long time does seem dark and gloomy [to say the least!]

      It is good to see the NICABM’s therapy and therapies disseminated… their philosophy and ideas are ground breaking- and healing…

  35. Geri says:

    How to change the perceptions of a person who has experienced trauma. What type of treatment approach would be efficacious? Y

  36. Lisa says:

    I’d like to understand more about the long term changes in the brain and how to treat symptoms old trauma long after a “recovery” from PTSD.

  37. The brain part of trauma is more complicated than the quick visit Dr. van der Kolk made in this very short video, of course, with issues like connectivity, the regulatory circuitry in the forebrain, default network compromise, anterior cingulate involvement, posterior alpha inhibition, etc., well-known sequelae of trauma. Neurofeedback training does address these issues directly and well. As Dr. vdK has reported. We can be grateful for neuroplasticity. Nevertheless, I suspect that the integration of NFB with other modalities will work best, and this is the territory I have questions about. Integration. Building an approach that is flexible enough to help the largest number of possible traumatic situations. Addressing the brain: NFB. The mind, the soul, identity, interpersonal functioning: a complex approach is needed.

    • Gary says:

      thank you.

  38. Taking “action” or “fighting back” instead of freezing helps move the “stuck trauma” & all those trapped energies/emotions in the body. People with PTSD need to become empowered again. They NEED to take BACK their power from whatever situation that took it away.

    • Julia says:

      Terry, I agree with your findings about helping people with PTSD become empowered again. Helping them to accept what occurred and forgive themselves and others I have found is very important. I worked with men in prison. Many of them had guilt and shame related to trauma (often witnessing or experiencing the death or near death of a loved one). The “woulda, coulda, shoulda” syndrome once discovered and openly discussed can often lead to healing.

      • Speaking of becoming empowered again, I was encouraged by a therapist I know one time to “exercise the will.” I had never thought about this before. As a Christian and believer in Jesus Christ I used to just resign myself to God’s will and not perceive or fully understand my need to ‘exercise my will’. As I began to practice willfully making decisions and taking action, my power increased. I now know that God does give us the freedom to exercise our will and to not just depend on Him and his actions.

      • Lucy Paterson says:

        My daughter is adopted and suffered developmental trauma, we and her therapist have found that writing and drawing helps tremendously. Talking can put her in an overwhelmed state far to quickly. The act of writing her feelings seems to keep her in the present. We have shifted her therapy to less face to face, obviously that has to be done first to build trust, to more email exchanges.

        • Karen says:

          I used Art Therapy to depict a traumatic scene from my childhood.
          It was the last time I saw my birth mother before I was placed for adoption.
          This was a deeply suppressed memory.
          When the memory first surfaced it was like seeing a movie with the sound off.
          When I drew the picture using stick figures, as I am no artist.
          As I looked at the scene, for the first time I wept over losing my mom.
          This simple picture put me in touch with my feelings like other else
          had done.
          Play therapy can also be used to depict scenes from childhood.
          This also helps bring up suppressed feelings.

        • As a therapist and individual that has complex trauma, I have observed the great benefit from journaling, drawing, and other artistic mediums. Drawing pictures, painting or just doodling gives children a non-threatening avenue to express themselves and release the emotions. I am not a registered art therapist, but as a play therapist, I found this was the way to go for children under the age of 10. Offering a non-judgmental, but affirming response increases a child’s self-esteem and improves feelings of confidence.

      • Karen says:

        I Julia,
        I agree with what you are saying about forgiving oneself.
        I recently saw an event from my past that I preceived as being used and taken advantage of
        as a child.
        I saw it in a different way yesterday .
        I realized that I had never spoken up and shared how I was feeling with that person. I realized I had feared to speak up… and I allowed myself to be treated in the way I was.
        When I realized that, I moved to forgiving the person that took advantage of me,
        and I also forgave myself, for not standing up for myself and for allowing myself to be treated in that way. Now there is a shift that has taken place in me where I am now free to quietly state my needs in current relationships in a new way without feeling threatened.
        I have also being saying to myself…I am not longer that child.
        I can make different choices now, and it is starting to happen.

  39. Carol says:

    I have been working with these concepts with clients for some time since my training shifted to a more neuroscience focus and I find clients love this stuff. What I would like is info on things that we can do, get clients to do, that integrate the various parts. I keep in mind Bruce Perry’s concept of working bottom up with Rhythm, Regulate, Relate however feel I lack info on a wide range of things that integrate bottom up, top down and also horizontally. Really enjoy the sessions – thank you

  40. Eileen Fratzke says:

    I love the videos you share and am fascinated by the impacts of trauma on the brain. I am wondering if there have been any studies regarding childhood onset schizophrenia and trauma.

  41. Pauline de Villiers says:

    I am a clinical social worker who experienced the effectiveness of Somatic Experiencing Therapy after a traumatic robbery. I used to startle every time a man approached my car, even a pedestrian crossing the road. The therapy completely neutralised this.

  42. Diane Green says:

    I would most like to know how to target interventions to address specifically those three areas.

  43. Sherry Belman, MA, LMHC says:

    Also check out something called Ask & Receive

  44. Karen says:

    Terry, i have been curious about E. Gentry work. His clinical training speaks to me well. Thank you.

  45. Karen says:

    I was diagnosed twenty something years ago with a history of PTSD and stress. I have lots of anger inside. Being in therapy has not help to let everything go. My anger is towards my caregivers who abandoned the “ship” too early. I think anger can keep a person in the past for a long time. It is just something I am living with.

    • Karen, I too carried a lot of anger for over 25 years, against 2 thugs who savagely beat me within an inch of my life, leaving me with PTSD. It took 25 years to lay down that anger. I HAD to find a way to forgive & let go, so I could “take back my own power” and stop giving it to the 2 thugs that shattered my life, marriage & family. The only way I found to overcome the anger is to “forgive” often & all those who hurt us in this life. Asking “why” any person did this or that, doesn’t help. The human condition is fraught with pain, loss & suffering. We can choose to let it make us stronger & more resilient, or let it take us down & disempower us forever. It’s each individuals choice & decision whether or not they want to rise above, or become dismantled. Still PTSD is a “beast” that must be recognized for what it is…an overstimulation of all senses & a place we must not “stay in” for long periods of time. PTSD left untreated can lead to major illnesses because the body/mind is not meant to be constantly on “high alert”.

      • I enjoyed reading your comment. Proud of you for forgiving your perpetrator. Forgiveness is not necessarily forgetting, but it does take the poison out of our lives and allows us to be free again.

  46. Jane says:

    I would like to know how to help those with PTSD and traumatised brains, train their brains to recognize that the trauma has passed.

  47. GAry F. says:

    Thank you for the educational material. I’d want to know if there is any hope that biofeedback will help with ptsd recovery in any way.

  48. Narguis Keshavjee says:

    Undergoing EMDR ,counselling,yoga,mindfulness,Ear acupuncture at present. Is this enough to fully recover from PTSD
    I would like to know if one of her fully recovers?

  49. c says:

    What can we do to rewire or change those three areas, so the individual can improve?

  50. Lucille Rossi says:

    How to get back to normal. My body is experiencing a lot of pain

  51. If I understand you correctly, what you are saying is that the Corpus-Collusum (mid-section of the brain) and the Amygdala and Cerebellum are impacted by trauma. Is this correct? I would like to know specifically how these parts are affected? Also, explaining how these three areas interact differently and impact each other after trauma would be interesting.

  52. Joe says:

    Is it possible to recover from trauma or PTSD completely?
    If so, can this be done without the use of medications?
    If recovery can be made without medications, how can this be done? What ways can one achieve recovery?
    That is or are the best way(s) to treat and cure oneself of trauma or PTSD?
    Thank you for your help.

  53. Anonymous says:

    I suffer from complex PTSD and severe migraines
    as well as from PNES seizures. Both conditions seem to intensify and even trigger the other. Sensory overload is another major factor. I absolutely hate going in stores that are brightly lit, play loud music, and are crowded so I don’t go out much for fear of triggering a seizure and/or migraine.

    Also, despite providing my family with information–articles excerpts from books such as Bessel’s, I have no support. My mother, a nurse, has even stated that she believes I can control when I have the seizures and constantly makes comments that are invalidating or shame me. Please help.

    • Gertrude says:

      Have you tried CBD oil for seizures. Lots of positive reactions on YT and the internet. I hope you are your own support, so quit saying you have no support or learn to be your own parent, when adult. I take a lot of supplements that regulate my stress, which work to keep me more or less stable but have not cured my CPTSD/DID. At this moment my pets are causing sensory overload, one of them a pup of 7 months. Don’t like myself much when i start screaming at them. I just sent this link to my daughter and daughter in law which both suffer from migraine.

      On FB are several groups supporting trauma. I used to be a frequent visitor and some of them helped, otherwise start your own group.

  54. Ginny Dobson says:

    Thank you, these short videos are so excellent in passing to clients. B V K explains in such a clear straightforward way. I am so grateful to have enlisted on your trauma course last year when in Kurdistan working with yezidi women who had been enslaved by Isis.

  55. Shoshana Mueller says:

    Why does my brain have constant anxiety. I was traumatized from before birth up until 2012.So far no matter what skills I do it seems like I must have meds that will take the anxiety away.
    Is there a treatment that can change this? I have tried many.
    I would like to know.
    Thanks so much. Can I go and get treated by Dr Vessel Van Set Kolk?

  56. Here’s a slightly different view of trauma & recovery …

  57. Carolyn Nesbitt says:

    I want to know how to simply explain the science behind the trauma work I do. Where do I send people to read up on the science?

  58. Pamela Rosalynde says:

    How can I now feel and release that terror from my body. I do believe releasing old blocked emotions is essential for our souls growth and God created us as feeling beings. The greatest fear seems to be getting through my fear of utter overwhelm but I know it is the overwhelm that allows freedom and faith is needed to allow this , always of course in a safe environment with prayer for Love and support in the process. Please advise. Thank you so much Pamela Rosalynde

    • As a believer in the power of prayer and our creator’s ability to heal, I have learned to “release” and “surrender” my trauma – all the need for control, tense muscles, clenched body parts, anxiety-provoking thoughts, and that feeling of panic and need to run. I relax and imagine myself resting, fully and completely, in the arms of Jesus – taking deep full breaths, focusing on the healing of my mind, body, and emotions. Those tendencies to hang-on to, struggle, and wrestle with the memories and sensations of trauma work against the healing process. God uses medical science, sometimes medication, support systems, and the healing power of touch, prayer, and knowing His words in restoring the years lost to traumatic experiences.

    • Gertrudeg says:

      Maybe first learn how to keep yourself stable and not focus so much on releasing terror or other deep blocked emotions from the body. I used to do so and it made my conditions and healthissues worse as well as harmed my parentingqualities towards my children, when they still needed me. I use a lot of supplements, including those that regulate stress to do so and it improved my quality of living with CPTSD/DID. Mindfulness helped me to allow the emotions to be and often in time they then just pass.

      • Karen says:

        Gertrude what kind of supplements did you find helpful?

  59. Jen says:

    In my work as a psychotherapist I have trained in somatic approaches. I have also studied the work of the great neuro-science pioneers and am deeply grateful for their dedication.
    In clinical work I would appreciate more support in the territory of extreme trauma.
    Thank you

  60. Bo says:

    I suffered a physical traumatic injury and experienced a shift in my brain. For me, it’s very noticeable -neurological and psychology shifts. What types of treatment are best?

  61. dr srishti nigam, edmonton ab canada says:

    Skills to Re-Balance and Re-Wire Mind Body and Brain

  62. How to move a client from a state of trauma to a calm state? Would you ever use EFT (tapping)?

  63. Sue Thody says:

    Where to find the help. My doctors and therapists don’t have this specialised information and now my health is frightening.

    • Anonymous says:

      Find a trauma therapist or someone who specializes in trauma. If you can’t find anyone in person, you could try online therapy like BetterHelp and TalkSpace. Or if your doctors and therapists don’t know but do want to learn more, you could direct them to resources like this video and website or books like The Body Keeps the Score.
      I hope you feel better. Sending good wishes your way! <3

      • Anonymous says:

        Or 7 Cups of Tea has online therapy too!

        • Beth says:

          Thank you, very helpful.

  64. Hilary says:

    A very helpful summary and I am so grateful for the developing scientific knowledge you are sharing with the world. Thank you all. Practitioners everywhere, working with people with traumatic experiences, need to learn and implement in their practise the new strategies out there that address this new understanding of the impact of trauma in the brain. I use EFT and I now understand why this works so well in many instances.
    Bless you.

  65. Martha Hyde says:

    Many therapists want to help a patient “unblunt” feelings, but that should probably be avoided early in treatment for patients who suffered early childhood trauma (something that should be determined as early on in the treatment as possible). Some use hypnotism to get at this, but I used mindfulness, muscle reflex/response testing and visualization to discover what happened because I had no idea that I suffered early childhood trauma before I learned these techniques. We know that emotional trauma causes brain damage. We also know that the brain can heal this damage. But emotional damage can be very tricky to heal because remembering the trauma can make everything worse, too.

    In fact, I discovered what happened to me when I started using these techniques to remove toxins, which I had discovered were causing my allergies. (There is a very tight connection between mind and body). I decided one day to use my protocol of questions to ask about how I got these toxins inside of me. Every time a toxin got released from the bones where they were sequestered, they would travel to my lungs. I would cough, feel variable resistance to breathing and taste an awful chemical flavor, among many symptoms.

    My brainstem was suggesting to me that I needed to expand my questions to understand the circumstances under which I got the toxin exposed to me. At first, no images would come to mind as I asked these questions (in this strict order: when, where, who, what, and how), probably because baby memories were inaccessible until I found out how to find them. Then I started to get images that I would have to piece together with those questions to figure out what had happened.

    It usually caused a great deal of distress in me. Oddly, I would break down and cry before all questions were asked, and before I figured out what happened. I discovered that emotion was triggered early in the question sequence, and probably because there were emotion centers all over the brain, and tied to every memory. But eventually, my brainstem seemed to figure out that doing this was very dangerous because using these emotion pathways seemed to cause more damage in the brain. Pretty soon it just stopped answering my questions. I then asked “do you know the answer?”
    “But you won’t tell me?”
    That one stopped me cold. Why? Because, it suddenly came to me, the questioning was causing more trauma and more physical damage. Bingo! I had trained the brain well enough to handle the damage tracking without making it enter my conscious awareness. I told my brainstem, out loud, to disconnect the synapses that linked emotion centers with the traumatic memory parts. From then on, it still used the emotion links to find the damage, triggering very brief episodes of grief, anger or rage, which was gone almost as soon as it was triggered, because it disconnected those synapses. I could talk about the trauma (into my voice recorder) later, without feeling any of the strong negative emotions that I knew were associated with the traumatic event. This achieved blunting the emotions without impairing recall, but did not cause me to turn off all feeling.

    I figured out that the emotion centers were part of the circuitry that we all are supposed to develop to be able to recognize when a situation is too dangerous to enter, but those of us without good attachment with our caregivers never develop this ability and are more likely to get into a situation that will cause severe emotional damage. I suspect that therapists have decided that this likelihood is the result of “blunting” feelings, but it is not that at all. They have it backwards. It is just the lack of a circuitry for recognizing the danger, because mom never taught us how to do it. That baseline circuit is “step one” in the chain of events that help us make a decision. Thus, a baseline circuit was never formed and we have to learn every dangerous situation separately. It takes us a lot longer to do many things that people with healthy attachments can do very quickly. Most such people are completely unaware of this “step one.” I say this because no one ever talks about it, making it even more difficult for the “no attachment” kids to learn how to do it.

    This is not to say that those of us with early childhood trauma do not “blunt” our feelings. The nervous system is out to protect us at all times. Blocking circuits that will trigger strong negative feelings, that will inevitably cause physical damage to neurons, is a tried and true way to prevent damage. We know that GABA is the neurotransmitter in neurons that block the action potential of other, connected neurons. Early childhood trauma victims will have a lot more of this blocking simply because every memory is associated with an earlier memory in some way in the brain.

    When you experience trauma, every aspect of that trauma is linked with other earlier memories of similar aspects. As you grow older, you develop memories of memories of memories…., making the trauma accumulate. The need to block some circuits becomes necessary with every trauma you experience. I only recently discovered that there appears to be a center that forms in infants with good mother experiences that helps them to “forget” parts of the memory involving strong negative emotions so that this dangerous “memories of memories of memories…” circuitry can end early. Those of us without that mothering are doomed to continue to use that circuitry. Worse, every traumatic event develops a new circuit to function as the block. Because of this development of multiple circuits, it is so profuse that blocking it has to be individualized to the traumatic event, since there is no single baseline circuitry formed in us. There are millions of these circuits in our brains, but only one in the child with a good mother.

    So learning how to form that baseline blocking circuit is pretty imperative for the child with poor mother attachment.

    • Gertrude says:

      Possibly, when looking at the science of how fast babies develop in those first few months/years, when in a healthy attachment environment, this can never be duplicated and healed. Possibly parts of our brainwiring changed, leaving permanent damage, parts of our brain atrophied, to strengthen other parts of our brains to learn to survive in such harsh circumstances, making us different then the rest for the rest of our lives, with sometimes amazing survivalskills, special qualities others lack. Yet possibly learning to appreciate more those differences then always focusing on this imprinted need to heal what was broken, damaged, atrophied.

    • Marcia says:

      In some ways I can see your viewpoint, but I believe that when the healing starts the work can be trying. If one makes a committment to manage the work it will take to finally release the mind to stop the blocking, softening into those feelings in the parts of where the traumas lie can be helpful and enriching. I have found neurosculpting has been helpful, coupled with EMDR, Hypnosis, guided imagery and somatic experiencing that the mind opens up at a different level to bring back some of the good memories, in the senses, not just the memory. A sudden smell that triggers joy, or a sound or anything else in the mind shows the connections are changing. I guess I have waited all these years, to finally see and feel the healing. My clients state the same. They had not connected to any positives but now they get a whiff of it as the brain heals and opens up to the past healing properties. It is sad when the life was so downtrodden to the humans psyche but I have not met a client yet who does not start to catch a glimpse to someone in their past when they least expect it. I cue them to watch for it and this helps them and it has also helped me to see the positives. Wish there were more but as the psyche begins to open up, they come somewhat more often–so far for me, maybe one a month and lately that has increased.

  66. Michelle Simpson says:

    Thank you for the video. As someone in the throes of PTSD myself, and trying to help others suffering trauma, I am trying to learn all I can. I would like to know whether this really can heal? I would also like to know the chances of healing when the PTSD has gone on for over a year and a half as it has in my case? And I suppose the big question is…what can heal the effects of PTSD? This is surely going to be different in each individual case. How can we find what works for us and where should we begin?

    • Anonymous says:

      I think it really can heal. I’ve had PTSD for over 3 years and know of people who have had it for much longer, maybe 20+ years, and still been able to heal. From what I know (I wouldn’t say my PTSD is healed yet), things like EMDR and talking through your whole trauma with a trusted person while you feel the emotions but stay calm are ways to heal PTSD “once and for all.” In the meantime, things like breathing, grounding, journaling, thinking about my life before the trauma and how it was similar (how I’m still the same person), socializing, exercise, and drawing have helped me. And therapy! :)
      To find what works for you, you could try out some different things and notice how they affect you. Maybe write it down. You could begin by doing something you already know you find relaxing or calming or enjoyable. There are also self help books that can take you through things like this and give you a structured plan of how to heal.
      Good luck! I’m rooting for you!

  67. Pat says:

    How do I stop the fight or flight terror to a situation that may not call for it?

  68. Carmel D'Almeida says:

    I had a shock to my system about 10 years ago and I have sent a lot of money trying to let this shock go and now I don’t have any money and at age 67 I am looking to find a job that I would be good at I feel I want to be a public speaker and help others who have had similar shocks. Where do I start. I have started to clean up my life and yet I feel afraid to move on I seem to be stuck in my own fear. Can you help me?

  69. Marcia says:

    Lately, I have found that living in the moment, although difficult in this society, helps me catch the nuisances to my overreactions. EMDR studies has helped in numerous connections to lifetime of trauma but my mind has to be in a calmer, focused state. I used to feel slower, but now I realize I had functioned from a freeze state that allowed my PFC to function as I would think too much to bypass my feeling state. This was so well defined that when I was able to recover from a left sided paralysis. I learned to walk again, but got cocky and could only walk fast and in so doing broke the left leg. Even now I cannot walk slow which puts me in danger. But if I do walk slow or walk fast and come upon a challenge, I fall which has only lead to broken bones. How can I advance these motor planning connections to the midbrain using more neuroplasticity exercises to rebuild the breaks in those poorly established neuron connections. I am taking a neuroplasticity course and these seem to help but I would like more of these types of exercises to build the trauma’s brain connections. My own damage was in the middle of the brain close to the PFC. I know there is a way but not sure how the weakening began in my early childhood when my eye sight had curtains which later lead to the stroke causing the paralysis later in life, so the docs believe. The docs but had no explanation as to how. The reason this is important to me is I have noticed clients and hear their complaints when approaching the trauma feel it in their face but I literally see a weakness in a drooping left eye, which reminds me of the curtains I experienced when a toddler. I also have noticed that the left foot seems to move furiously when many are in a fear state but do remarkable work then they connect to the limb. I somehow do not believe it is due to handedness. In summary, I guess I am looking more at this time for the bilateral understanding that was not explained as adequately as I would have wanted in EMDR training. I seem to need to know why technically for my brain to comprehend. I feel I am missing some major link. I read that the reason the problem on the right part of the brain which caused the left sided paralysis had something to do with the carotid artery but no explanation as to the neurological problem. Discovering the Polyvagal Nerve has been great to enlighten trauma victims and has helped immensely. Now this other bilateral observations is a missing link both personally and professionally. I try to assure I break no more bones. I would love to get back to the ski slopes but the fear is too great. Recently I did some EMDR work on the fear of falling for myself. My Left foot started moving instantly connected to anxiety. I can no longer do Feldenkrais which I know has many answers to this but I had a r hip replaced. The surgeon reports I am not allowed to do the main exercise that would help this left sided weakness causing me immobility. The metal and pin prevent that movement. PTs for many years do not seem to get the fear piece when assigning exercises and put me at risk constantly, but do not seem to get the brain body connections. Lately when doing guided imagery, EMDR or Hypnotherapy, the teenagers and adults are nervously moving their left foot as if they are running. When questioned they laugh report this happens to them often when at school or at work. I have tried candidly to pursue a connection but have not gotten too far as they seem totally disconnected to the feeling as to where it originated. I was wondering if it is akin to when they learned to walk. For example, I know when I have taught children and adults to play legato versus staccato between the two hands they have trouble if they never learned to crawl. I know this is related but maybe I am too close to the forest to see the trees. Please offer some info for my own mind but to also be able to communicate it to the client. I was lucky when trying to do the piano technique the parent agreeably let the child crawl and low and behold the problem went away immediately, but I am lucky they never asked me why beyond the cross over patterning between the parts of the body, but I know it is more than that when it comes to trauma.

  70. Evie says:

    i agree.. how do you change it

  71. Jacqueline says:

    I have certain body feelings, specifically sexual in nature, but they are totally out of context to the situation at hand. Specifically when talking about my dad. My dad was clearly crossing boundaries but I have no ACTUAL memory of sexual abuse. I feel it. I act like it happened, but I can’t see the thing happening. I feel like most of it occurred under age 5 and definitely under age 2. I just want to remember and see it! Why won’t this happen and will it ever? I feel guilty because I can’t prove or clearly demonstrate that this happened.

    • Cindy says:

      You asked “I just want to remember and see it! Why won’t this happen and will it ever? I feel guilty because I can’t prove or clearly demonstrate that this happened”.

      Memory comes from many parts of our senses. Touch, smell, auditory, vision and taste.

      Sometimes there are circumstances in which it may have been dark, or your eyes were covered, or you shut your eyes.

      Don’t worry that you cannot see it. Chances are (since you were so young) you couldn’t see what was happening, and if that is the case you will never “SEE” it in your mind’s eye. But the other senses are just as important. Tune into the senses that are telling you this info. They will guide you.

      Deep down you know. Our minds were very smart – they compartmentalized the memories, so you can handle them a little at a time.

      • Jacqueline says:

        Thank you Cindy. Just as you said, many senses are involved..thinking, talking, feeling but now also READING the very thoughtful feedback in this forum is extremely helpful.

    • Kerrie says:

      Be very careful seeking to go too deep too quickly. It is usually completely overwhelming once you actually “see” (visual flashbacks) and the emotional rollercoaster can be disconnected from the visual and VERY unpleasant (I was suicidal). I would recommend a therapist who uses EMDR as a processing tool and who has techniques to slow down your processing of everything that arises.

      However, trust your feelings here-you are most likely correct in what you suspect and please do not feel guilty because you can’t “prove it”! You instinctively know the truth already.

      • Jacqueline says:

        Thank you Kerrie.
        I have be working on this for many, many years and it is incredibly frustrating. I think to myself “let’s see this thing and get it over with!” Not that simple. Yes, we have been doing EMDR and other body work. I have recently become aware that I spend most of my waking hours in a dissociative state. Incredible considering I have 2 degrees, raised 3 children and have been teaching for 28 years! Yet after all the work I’ve done with talk therapy I still feel like a shell or a ghost. It is sad to realize the pain so many people have endured as innocent children.
        I want “to see” what happened and I think I will continue to feel guilty until I can prove who the perpetrator actually is because I always think it’s my Dad but until I “see” it I won’t know. Incidentally, someone was referring to the use of “MUSE”. I tried this but the funny thing is that it encouraged dissociation in me because whenever I dissociated “the birds” chirped and chirped like crazy! lol. I guess it’s not effective for everyone.

  72. I have taken workshops and listened to Bessel for years. As a clinician, I respect his work so much. He has the most extensive understanding of trauma! So, as usual, he can pinpoint three things that happen to our brain under its influence. The good news is that Bessel doesn’t stop with describing the impact of it-he actually has research and evidence based treatment for it. as I said, I have attended his workshops over the years and have taken his advice on meditation, yoga and other inner calming practices to my clients because these things work in retraining the brain and calming the nervous system. As you can tell, I highly respect the work of this man and all the understanding he has brought to the treatment of all the aspects of trauma!

  73. Deborah Elizabeth Lotus says:

    Does trauma impact short term memory? My thesis is if you are anxious and your mind is in a fear state, one is distracted from remembering ‘mundane’ information, such as your own phone number, etc.
    So PTSD could ‘create’ or ‘look like’ ADHD? Or even Bi-Polar disorders? Are there ways to separate out and treat these related ‘conditions’?

  74. Natalie Haupt says:

    Can one actually heal from trauma? What I mean is, when having learnt to deal with trauma responses so one is managing better, do these physiological symptoms lessen?

  75. Pamela A Aldrich says:

    I find that clients adolescents and adults will acknowledge that trauma has occurred but to move them to committing to work through the trauma seems impossible. Consequently, continued sessions dance around the core. What are your thoughts on how to help a client process and work through the trauma.

    • Kerrie says:

      In a word-trust.

      Think of it as visiting an emergency Dr. You know you need a deep cut stitched (bleeding/pain) but having it done without anaesthetic is frightening (and facing trauma head-on is MUCH worse than that- I have experienced both)………the Dr needs to convince the patient he will use every tool available to make it as painless as possible and the patient’s welfare is his prime concern-not just hurrying them out the door in the least time possible.

      • Anonymous says:

        I really like this analogy of visiting a doctor in the emergency room and trying to heal wounds without anesthesia! Thank you!

  76. Marian says:

    I would like to learn more about the treatment of CPTSD, especially when there are multiple triggering factors, some of which began in early childhood and continued for many years.

  77. Cindy says:

    I want to understand why someone with severe trauma backgrounds only remembers certain childhood traumatic events at certain times of year — and when sharing the trauma with the therapist, & struggling with the symptoms of fear and/or suicidal ideation – believes year after year she is remembering OR telling someone about the horrifying events for the very first time?

    She can be doing well, then suddenly a feeling gets triggered, dissociative symptoms arise, and eventually she loses touch with reality and will fear the ‘bad guys” are trying to get her or will hurt her.

    Then withing a month or two – the memory is forgotten until the following year. If it is brought up she appears completely disconnected or may deny it being possible. “It couldn’t have happened. There is no such thing as that ever happening to anyone.”

  78. Kaaren Jordan says:

    I want to know how to heal fromPTSD so I can sleep, eat,ejoy life and feel hope nstead of fear.

  79. Darlene M. Pearson says:


  80. Patrishe Maxwell says:

    When you have the symptoms, but no memory of the traumatic event that is triggering them, what can be done to source the most traumatic event behind the dysfunction.
    In the case where many different traumas have occurred since childhood. and the adult has been deeply impacted by them.

    Thank you


  81. Michelle says:

    Functioning as a professional with PTSD is difficult due to current employment environments. Clients are not the problem as they have taught me more regarding my own experiences. My self body response has been most responsive or regulated through proper use of EMDR. I have found difficulty accessing professionals that have long term experience administering EMDR. I have difficulty with the job interviewing process and obtaining security without long term employme. I remain underemployed and financially struggle for self sufficiency despite a history of success working with other professionals and individuals so have served.

  82. Linda Noland Kerlin says:

    I desperately need help! I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2013 due to back to back marriages with men suffering from narcissistic behavior disorder. The first one wasn’t diagnosed but was physically, emotionally and sexually abusive….broke my nose twice and during our third year of marriage choked me into unconsciousness the last night I spent with him. (He was a graduate student at UCONN studying in the Julian Rotter department.) He had married me for my family’s money. Moving forward, I did it again! Second time even more horrific. What saved me was my group of friends, colleagues at work and my family. I had an amazing career in broadcast/communications/marketing with amazing Fortune 100 organizations. I am now in counseling with my former clinician who I began seeing in 2000 in an attempt to try to work with my husband to get help. In 2002, she was able to get him an appt. with former OHSU head of psychiatry: on the third visit he was diagnosed with narcissistic behavior disorder who the doctor described as the most highly developed sense of superiority he had ever seen in his 40 years of counseling with murderers, millionaires who stole millions more. I have tried to start over and I cannot find anybody: I try but continue to fail. I received nothing from my divorce because nobody believed except for the people who had worked for my husband, banks and his business partner. My attorney did nothing include not interviewing/speaking with anyone nor hiring a forensic accountant..I worked the entire time of our marriage. My support was dropped when x claimed that both he and his company had gone bankrupt. The court hearing was the day my father passed away. (X knew this and didn’t care.) Thirty two days later my mother died. I spent the entire week instead of being with my dad trying to find an attorney to help me. Reading this/listening to your comments brings me to tears…..He did even worse things to our son…stealing his inheritance from my parents; taking out loans using his social security number. It has been a nightmare: homeless twice. In 2014, a forensic accountant was hired who discovered that my ex never filed for bankruptcy nor did his companies: one was sold to GoDaddy; one became an offshore bank…he has used four different social security numbers over the years and recently changed his ss number as well as his appearance according to a former sister-in-law. Like my first husband, he married me for my parents money (he asked me to marry him after his home in Florida went into foreclosure…..I found out afterwards and had him with the funds).
    I came from an amazing family. My dad paid for college tuitions for friends; we ‘adopted’ families from Oregon’s department of human services over the holidays providing them trees, food, presents, etc. I loaned money to friends who needed help….I feel as if I wasted my life. Were it not for my son, I would no longer be here…Is there anyone in this region who can help? Writing this…I think I will contact the Department of Psychiatry at OHSU again to see if someone is available….Thank you for listening: just send an invoice….:-)

    • Sherry Belman, MA, LMHC says:

      Linda, look up the work of Melanie Tonya Evans on narcissistic abuse; she has much free info, webinars, & training in a therapy she found healed her own; & good luck! I also can recommend Michael Allenbright & his iZone healing…try!

    • Dear Linda,
      There is a lot I could share with you, but this is not the place. If you haven’t yet come across the work of Lundy Bancroft I strongly recommend that you look it up. He is not a trauma expert, he is an expert on working with narcissistic, dysfunctional and abusive men and supporting partners and ex-partners of such men to heal and reclaim their sanity for themselves.
      Bancroft truly understands the debilitating effect on the partner of becoming isolated and traumatised exactly because she is not believed by the people around her, either in her private life or any professionals she gets into contact with in seeking support. A key element of these kinds of relationships is exactly the male partner often being a highly respected and highly functioning individual in his professional and public life, only the partner and any children ever experiencing the Jykyll and Hyde reality.
      If you have even one person in your life who believes you, it is a life-saving blessing. If you research Lundy Bancroft’s work you will feel seen and understood, you sanity confirmed, and you will find resources for continuing your healing. I’m sorry you have had to suffer like this; you are not damage goods, you are a strong survivor, your wounds will become scars of wisdom you can bear with pride.

  83. Brenda says:

    I have ptsd from being burned as a 6 year old child. The effects have been exacerbated by being raised by a neglectful and abusive mother who kicked me out after I was 13 because her husband tried to have sex with me then told my siblings I made it up driving them away from me too. She thought I was a problem child. My father committed suicide at that time as well. I married an abusive man naturally and have two wonderful children by him. Having children gave me the a reason to stay away from my family and heal and that’s exactly what I did. I’ve spent my entire life, I’m 55 now, and still trying to heal. As much as I’ve tried therapy, meditation, exercise, healthy foods, keeping away from those stimulaters that trigger anxiety, fear and anger, I still suffer from social anxieties. I even have a loving God that has helped me forgive them and myself but… I still go into detachment/unable to focus/concentrate/be in the moment mode whenever I’m in groups of people. I have lingering feelings of abonment and isolation from my family, have nightmares of people trying to kill me, have trust issues, feel like no one likes me when clearly I have loving and supportive friends, husband and children. I’ve been hiding from these feeling shameful all the while of all these inside me. As I mentioned, I’m 55 now and this stuff that I’ve worked on for so many years wanes and comes back. It’s back after working for an emotionally abusive boss for 10 years and my little sister attempting to commit suicide. In trying to be a loving a supportive person to people around me, I’ve learned I don’t know how to care for me. I should have quit my job years previously. I’m ineffective at helping others because my own emotional threshold is numb. When does it stop? I am open for suggestions. Please and thank you.

    • Hello, you have been through a lot.

      Nassism is tricky business to heal from.

      Have you tried – the Access Bars.

      This helps you get into your body quickly.

      I also facilitate emotional recovery online.

      Learning emotional regulation is key.

      Healing self worth and shame.

  84. Ann Bluett says:

    I want to know why in England there are so few professionals with real knowledge about working with trauma available for access through the NHS.
    My husband has dissociative amnesia and a diagnosis of DID and he has been in the mental health system for 4 years with no real therapy, they say they are unable to work with him because of the high level of amnesia.

    • K says:

      Hi Ann if you can afford neurofeedback, it may help. There is a device called ‘muse” that does the same thing and is much cheaper. I experience severe disassociation and personally it seems to be much more of brain dysfunction rather a personality disorder. Rewiring brain can definitely help, also finding different methods to rewire the brain just it takes a lot of research

  85. susan banta says:

    i am wondering if this holds true for older adults whose trauma was experienced during childhood.

  86. Joan van der Heide says:

    I read Body Keeps the Score and learned about some strategies for working with the body. How can it be determined which ones are likely to help?

    • Barbara says:

      When I read that book for myself I made a list of 16 of them that were likely accessible to me in my community. I proceeded to do whichever one felt right (safe was always my litmus test…still is), and was available at the time. For me, it was extremely key to have a safe other (therapist in the case in the form of anxiety group therapy) and to be with others so I was not isolated. She used somatic methods with me in particular. Then I attempted meditation (nope – too soon as it was terrifying), I engaged another individual therapist as well (who was completely non shaming). Then after that I found an amazing trauma sensitive yoga practitioner and that bottom up approach turns out to be the most healing for me. I then did yoga teacher training to force myself to immerse myself in yoga….now I could finally meditate. So the bottom line is that healing trauma requires all of it, within reason. I used medication too for awhile as well. So pharmaceutical, social engagement (vagus nerve work), body centred therapies and activities. Full meal deal. I have on my list, theatre, dance and model mugging or a martial art that teaches how to suspend fear enough to defend or avoid harm. It is a long process and some work is always needed. I am far better than I was…very few panic attacks…starting to find delight from time to time. All in all I would recommend the Trauma Sensitive Yoga first. Gets you back to the body as a resource and less of something experienced as a betrayer. My best to you…it gets better :)

  87. Candace says:

    I would like more training on BPD as most of my clients fall into this category.

    • My understanding is that BPD is an outdated diagnosis, and the current school of thought is that it is really complex trauma. The former left clinicians with not a lot to work with; the latter provides them with many more options (yoga, mindfulness, EMDR, to name a few).

  88. CHARLY says:

    I have my!share of trauma. !n 1984, I was in a horrific car accident.. where i received multiple trauma TBI and in a!deep coma for a very long time MY mom, father, and brother passed away.. within 2 yrs of each other, my 24 yr old son was murdered in 2006. His body was incinerated by the killer.. family and friends were never there for support. During and after his murder.. 2013- cancer, which i dealt with by myself. From the cancer treatment, i lost my smell and taste senses. And the icing on the cake was on my way to the hospital for my mammogram, in 2015. Christmas Eve day, husband of 32 yrs , told me he was divorcing me. A lot to take in and have to deal with.. How do you even know even to begin!!!

    • Martha Hyde says:

      I lost my senses of smell and some taste in a car accident, too in 1974 (concussion). I regained some of it over the next 6 years. It happened logarithmically over that time (every 2 weeks a new smell, then every month, every few of months, then every year. The last smell I regained was broccoli after a long “dry” spell of 3 years). Then no more improvement. I could not taste cinnamon. It wasn’t until I found a naturopathic doctor in 2005, who taught me EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), which included how to tap, that I was able to regain all smell and taste senses completely. My neurologist told me that it is possible to regrow bulbar neurons which grow into the olfactory epithelium in 1974, but no one ever mentioned that just tapping on acupressure points would cause complete healing.

    • Barbara says:

      Hi Charly,
      My heart goes out to you! See my response to Joan above. First I would find a trusted trauma therapist for you. You know when it doesn’t feel safe. Your body knows. And then somatic methods….trauma sensitive yoga, dance, singing…be gentle with yourself. Time others helped you with love and grace. Big hug to you. You are strong and there are so many people out there that will be there for you.

  89. Judy Shutes says:

    I’m most interested in shame – what it can cause and how to work with it. Thank you for the videos! They’re very helpful.

  90. Barbara Caspy says:

    Thank you Ruth and Bessel! I’m still needing more actual skills in which to work with trauma survivors in terms of resolution through body work that can be done in the office. I do recommend integrating experiences like yoga to my clients.

  91. Judy Lewis says:

    Besel Van Der Kolk’s presentations were THE most helpful of all the fascinating and useful contributions of your speakers – so valuable that I can hardly wait for his book to be delivered.
    My question is: how does one motivate a client to endure the discomfort of therapy in order to reap the hoped-for relief of a successful outcome? Any helpful hints?

  92. Martha Hyde says:

    The DSM 5 won’t say that early childhood trauma causes PTSD. That is because it won’t recognize PTSD caused by something the person cannot consciously recall. And there is also the high probability that the victim has attachment problems, which can cloud the picture. But attachment styles may help us make the connection between PTSD and early childhood traumas.

    Attachment styles pretty much depend upon what happens during the first 3 years of life, although later traumas can influence what develops later. For the most part, you have the attachment style your primary caregiver gave you. In the US, that is highly likely to be your mother. As a victim of neglect and rejection by my mother, at birth, I thought my attachment style was what everyone had. After all most of my brothers and sisters treated me similarly because my mother had taught them to treat me as she did. I thought that my attachment to members of my family was the way all of us felt toward siblings and parents. I thought that attachment meant that we never went very long without thinking about them, that we knew them so well that we thought about them constantly. We did not need to keep in touch very often because we thought of them so much of the time. We thought of them when we felt bad, and when we felt good. There was no difference. I thought of them as soon as I saw something that one or more of them would like, too.

    I was amazed at how little they thought of me, so my attachment was certainly not mutual. But that was the way the world worked. Every time I was able to go visit them, it was almost like they had to relearn about me. I realized only recently that what I thought attachment meant was in reality a type of “hypervigilence.” I had to get to know my predators better than they knew me so that I could avoid their attacks or bolster up my inner defence (blunted feelings). I also figured out how rarely people with good attachment styles normally thought about their families but had developed a drive to “keep in touch” precisely because they did not think about their families ALL the time. In other words, exactly the opposite of what I would think attachment meant.

    Another indication of PTSD may be tooth-chattering. I would always start to do this when I felt cold. I just thought that was a problem of temperature, but no one else seemed to do this. Again, I learned that feeling cold all over was a wave of failure in heat receptors, causing an enhancement in cold receptors. That could happen when one feels extreme fear. It wasn’t until then that I realized that tooth chattering was not just a normal response to cold, but was an indicator of fear. Once I realized this, it stopped. I have never had tooth chattering since, even when I felt cold.

    I did not discover the fear connection until long after I learned how the smell of a much feared person I knew at work was sent though the air system in my building when he entered it. I had learned how to detect his presence using muscle reflex/response testing and mindfulness of the triggers.

    Learning to use the unconscious brain connections to the sense of smell is a HUGE benefit since I could find my escaped rodent very fast, I could smell bad milk long before there was enough odor to smell it consciously, and the direction where I would find what I was looking for (e.g. keys, glasses). But unconscious smell is probably influencing everyone’s behavior toward people without telling them why. There was a paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B several years ago showing how smell seems to affect people’s awareness of “fitness level” unconsciously. And, of course pheromones would be sensed only unconsciously.

    • Joan van der Heide says:

      Martha, Your response really spoke to me. I too, find myself preoccupied with figuring out others’ intentions and motives because I assume they will hurt me in some way. I have a history of C-PTSD and certainly that is the root of it. A therapist commented that it seems I make it all about me sometimes, esp when I assume others are thinking about me as much as I am thinking about them. I’ve wondered why I am being so “selfish” assuming it’s all about me. But it feels different than that. You have opened my eyes to the reality of how hypervigilence stays with us. I have been in fight or flight most of my life and see how I still am!!! Your quote about your view of attachment as, “in reality a type of “hypervigilence” feels spot on! You said, “I had to get to know my predators better than they knew me so that I could avoid their attacks or bolster up my inner defence.” Yes, me too! Great insight and thanks for sharing!

      • Martha Hyde says:

        Thanks very much. I only figured that out because I have spent the last 10 years in self-reflection as I have trained my brain to use mindfulness and muscle reflex testing, along with visualization to figure out a lot of things. I rarely spent time going over and over the same thing. With this new kind of treatment I do not get bogged down constantly rethinking the same things. The answers to my questions get better and better over time, with that training. In fact, it got so that the brainstem supplies the words to me, one by one and they add up to a picture that is very profound, and as you put it, “spot on.”

  93. If the trauma was recurring over along period of time how difficult does the healing become?

  94. Jose Quintero says:

    Yes my experience of trauma from my childhood is I have within me my inner abused child who is constantly replaying my early before 5 years old experiences of sexual and extremevphysical abuse. It is a reliving a holographic image within me…30 years ago primal brought it forth hallucinogens might have amplified it, recently as an older man 69 emdr has helped integrate it,,,but the only way I have been able to even begin to release it is through a workshop called Grief to Grace. Wa spiritual approach to sexual and violent abuse where I use biblical stories, prayer, healing of that inner child who is now feeling the love Of Christ a power larger than myself to help my little boy transform the holographic memory in to a manageable memory to begin to forgive and let go.

    • KRISTINE BACON says:

      YES! They leave out the power of God in the healing process, in so many articles/reviews. I am not sure if they are being ‘politically correct’ or what, but I know when I went through healing and bringing God into the pictures, as to what would God say? He hurts too. People can poo poo it all they like, but I am so with you in the spiritual side and how God and the love of Jesus can help in the recovery of abuse. Thank you for sharing.

  95. Susanne Marcus says:

    Hi and thank you.
    I work with adolescents/young adults who’ve experienced trauma recently and in their younger years. It’s clear that it impacts the ability to focus on academic or any literacy related-tasks. Many cannot self-regulate their own behaviors of attention.
    Are there any activities these individuals can engage in to help them incorporate the idea that they are now safe? How can they be supported so their nervous systems can calm down and they can focus on developing the basic literacy skills they need?

    • Stephanie Laverty says:

      Meditation can be helpful. Different tyles of meditation affect different parts of the brain. You can google which type affects the amydala (fear center) to help with calming. Also, focusing on slow, rhythmic breathing (longer outbreath to regulate the vagus nerve) is also helpful.

  96. Charlotte says:

    Thank you,
    I would like to attend another Trauma conference in Boston, or Maine (Portland?) Not, NYC

  97. cathy brooks says:

    how to work with this as a partner of an injured soldier who now has PTSD attacks through the night..

    • KRISTINE says:

      For soldier: 1- Do NOT watch any news programs. 2-Regulate any visual shows (Black Hawk Down, American Sniper, etc) that might trigger attacks. 3-We used EMDR and it worked great. Also, there are many non-profits out there that might help send the soldier to a program such as the one in California that works with magnets. Also, getting a vagus nerve block – it is in the neck. This has success. Everyone is different, but for us, moving AWAY from everything, the unit, the town, the state, and starting fresh helped. As a partner, “how can I help you?”
      For the partner: You can go to the local VA or American Legion and see if they have support groups. Read Once a Soldier Always a Solider by Charles Hoge. Having a person to vent to is SO important. I broke and finally called anyone in my phone and talked for 2 hours and felt 1000 better. I needed to just vent and not be alone.

      Good luck, wife of 26 yrs of service soldier w/ PTSD.

      • John says:

        Vagus nerve block? No! People with PTSD have low Vegas tone already, you don’t want to block the body from healing even further – mild stimulation of the vagus nerve helps alleviate symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The vagus nerve controls the parasympathetic nervous system, which oversees a vast array of crucial bodily functions including digestion and slowing the heart rate, so blocking the vagus nerve is ludicrous! Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is already used as a treatment for disorders including epilepsy and depression, and it has been shown to enhance memory retention. Breathing with a longer exhale stimulates the vegas nerve and calms down the autonomic nervous system.

  98. Martha Hyde says:

    As a victim of early childhood trauma, it might be important NOT to help a patient “unblunt” feelings, until the early childhood trauma gets sorted out, even if the person does not consciously remember it because it happened before the age of 3. That doesn’t mean it is not connected to traumas or reactions to traumas that happen later, since it is all connected in the brain. As we go through any uncomfortable moment the brain relies on finding all associated events that happened previously in life. This is especially important for the unconscious memory circuits since it helps the brain to quickly react to protect us from danger. Thus, ALL parts of the brain, even the most “primitive” parts are connected in memory, regardless of whether the patient remembers the event. This is important to realize in order to help the patient unblunt the feelings at the correct time.

    I learned how to disconnect emotions from the memories in order to be able to recall them using mindfulness, visualization and muscle reflex/response testing. The brain has no “internal eye” that can find all damage, and it has been shown that traumas cause brain damage. In order to repair enough to the point that you can help the patient lay down new pathways that never developed because of the early childhood trauma, you have to find the damage first. Recall of the events is necessary to achieving this because it is the only way the brain can be actively helped to find the damage.

    But conscious recall can cause more damage, as most therapists have seen. Thus, it is important to tell the brain to disconnect the synapses between emotion centers (scattered all over the ENTIRE brain and the bad memories. I found that in the course of my own treatment, I did not need the emotions to heal, but I did need them for the first few seconds of tracking down the damage.

    When I started out to treat myself using these techniques, I learned to ask a protocol of questions in a specific order (when, where, who, what, how) about the trauma, assuming that a particular memory was associated with a specific symptom that was triggered (at any time of day or night). However, I would start to cry and feel enormous emotion before I was able to put together a “picture” of what happened, before any words came to mind to describe the event.

    At some point within the first 6 months of doing this, my brain figured out that this emotion caused more damage and refused to answer my questions. Because I had followed a specific order in my questions and had learned that some answer led to other questions, it had learned how to track down most damage “on its own,” e.g. in the background, restricted to the unconscious brain parts. When I realized what it was doing, I just told it to disconnect the synapses between emotion centers and the centers which stored the parts of the traumatic event it had found associated with it.

    Thereafter, when it found something, it started to track down all associated centers. It had to find the associated emotion centers first, so some emotion was triggered, but it stopped within seconds or minutes later. Mindfulness allowed me to get fleeting images, or words describing the associations it found. So I always knew when it was repairing damage. I just did not know until later what the event was until the repairs were made. Disconnecting the emotions helped me reach the point where I could describe what happened without feeling the intense emotion that stopped my speech. I still felt sadness on recall, just not the intense, damaging emotions.

  99. Psych intervention isn’t enough though deep transpersonal hypnotx or other r brain interventions can undo the trauma, energy blocks may persist. NES Health (Bioenergetics ) supplies info and methods to resolve those blocks.

  100. Deborah says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to provide my comments and questions. Is it more beneficial to revisit the trauma? In other words, to re-experience that which has resulted in a psychological “damage”, is to familiarize ones self with that which is now a part of you. Instead of distancing, why not embrace? I have a personal investment in this topic-I have been touched by trauma, the most recent has manifested itself with unwelcome symptoms. And my final question; is trauma a living entity, feeding itself off it’s chosen host?

    • Ada says:

      It is beneficial if it does not retraumatize you. Search for “lifespan integration”.

  101. Suzanne Levin says:

    I would like to know specific interventions for rewiring those parts of the brain that have been altered by trauma.

  102. Ana says:

    As trauma differs.. and is very individual (what can cause trauma to one person may be less traumatic. )
    It – meaning these types of study are rather new. It is all very exciting….

  103. Linda says:

    Terry Anderson I don’t appreciate your using this platform to sell your own ad space.

    • When we leave comments, we are asked to include our website. So there it is. That is the work I do to help others with the traumas they have, which is part of the reason I took these courses.

    • Thank you for your comment Linda.

  104. Julie says:

    How does one overcome what they do not remember because of the age incest started–babyhood and toddlerhood? I was one who went underground on all memories until I was triggered in my early 40s. I remembered it started at age 8 and did everything–one day at a time for decades to unravel and understand plus heal. I remember to pronounce, “That was then and this is now”. It was not until a second miscarriage that I remembered deep within my being of the earlier abuse–just that it happened and was my truth. What I could not remember, my body, mind, and spirit did. Thankfully, through God’s ways, events, timing, so forth I’ve come a long, long way. So much more is recognized now instead of when I began this journey two decades ago. I am sort of living my life backward. So the question is how do I deal with cell memory? I have autoimmune diseases and Fibromyalgia and profound Osteoarthritis that keep me on my knees especially in the winter months. My health tanked after a mere whiplash exactly six months later. Of course, up to then, I was living under a cloud of lies, major stresses, so forth. But truth does set a person Free. But I was wondering if PTSD could be further helped in my case. I try to avoid triggers. I recently had Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) which my insurance covered all but 5%. It was a success. I’m not healed but in remission hopefully for years! Thank you for caring and reading this. Hope is powerful!

    • Ada says:

      Look into lifespan integration.

    • Michelle says:

      ‘How does one overcome what they do not remember because of the age incest started–babyhood and toddlerhood? ‘

      You can’t treat the memories because you can’t access them, but there will be signs, habits, traits that have resulted because of those experiences. With an experienced and caring therapist, you address these instead.

      These earlier experiences are often imprinted on the brain preverbally, so talk therapy is of little help. What I have found personally helpful is expressive/creative therapies that use art, movement, playtherapy, etc to help bypass the verbal memory and tap into the earlier ones. I know by my physical reactions when I have ‘tapped-in’. Often it brings up the emotions of when the experience happened, fear, anger, etc but I was unable to process then. Now they have been brought up in therapy, they can be accessed and processed.

  105. Beverly Botelho says:

    How to manage the panic that occurs prior or during trigger situations.

    • Long slow deep breaths, until you can feel your heart beating, several times.

      Several sessions of biofeedback or neurofeedback sessions to help you retrain your body/mind/spirit – if you can afford it.

      • Peter Berton says:

        It seems to me that biofeedback results depend on the administrator. I had many sessions and could feel some changes taking place, but nothing helpful. Who has the resources to try therapists until stumbling upon someone who knows what they’re doing?

        • David George says:

          Hmmm I live outside of the USA, with little access to this technology… …everybody’s journey is a little different- but then again there are a lot of similarities. I had symptoms of sleep apnea- went through our public health system which took time. I got sick of this and tried conscious breathing. For 6 or 8 week I coughed up heaps of gunk. But now my breathing is improving and the apnea is in remission.

          I studied all the NICABM materials and found them helpful and formative. My life has been a living nightmare until now.

        • It took me 3 months of practise every day with a Therapist to learn “how” to connect my body/mind to the device. It’s the most powerful tool I’ve ever used. Years later, however, I feel the need for more, so I enrolled in Quantum University’s Biofeedback/Neurofeedback courses to obtain training (& equipment), so I can do this for myself, if/when I get triggered by PTSD, which happened 3 months ago.

          I’ll be able to help heal myself with these courses & use what I learn to help others through the Readings I do as a Medical Intuitive as many people come to me with PTSD & other trauma related life experiences: for details

  106. Barbara Hill says:

    After an abusive childhood which lasted until I left home at the age of 21, a childhood filled with beatings, shaming, functioning as a maid for my family with 5 children, a mother with OCD who was psychologically manipulative (I was the “it” of the family), and an equally psychologically manipulative father who read books on psychology and had meetings with the 4 younger children to teach them “psychology”, then used the material to excuse his abusive behavior by telling us later that “we remembered it all wrong”!. His meetings were not about psychology but were rather about brain washing! I have, at the age of almost 75 overcome most of the flash backs which occurred on a regular basis until I was well into my 50s. However, I still find myself feeling as if “I am back there” especially as it concerns my relationships with other people. I tend to put up with situations and not speak up for myself until there is a tower of abuse and then and only then do I express myself… I try to make others feel comfortable about themselves even though they are treating me badly. When I finally do stand up with complaint I come off as being unreasonable, as I have not expressed myself earlier in a situation… I am divorcing my husband of 52 years due to years of narcissistic behavior. He was a child of alcoholic parents, his mother particularly who died of the effects of alcohol abuse. He uses women but does not like them. I do not know how I finally had the presence of mind to end the sick relationship. Thankfully I have a great job with wonderful employers. Out of the five of us children there was not one who was not affected by our childhood. My younger sister likes to compare it to living in a concentration camp. It is very hard when growing up in an atmosphere as we did, to overcome the belief that you are a nothing to the rest of the world! Where does one begin?

    • Ada says:

      wow, thank you for sharing this and for the continuous hope! Look into lifespan integration, which is supposed to be an integrative method without retraumatizing the person. Or medical hypnosis could help if you are suggestible. But the latter needs to be done with a professional who does not look for reviving memories I which may not even relate to real events (false memories).

  107. Fiona says:

    I would like to know how best to help my 9.year old adopted daughter. Adopted at 17 months. She has attachment issues. She is unable to believe she is loved, uses chocolate to self soothe, terrified of new experiences, terrified of any change in routine, verbally and physically abusive towards sister and parents, but behaves like an angel to anybody outside immediate family. She had a truly traumatic birth, born premature, lucky to have survived pregnancy, then placed in loving foster care and then placed with us. No amount of love is enough. No amount of chocolate is enough. No amount of attention is enough. It’s like living with a black hole of unmet needs.

    • JW says:

      I have found that self- affirmation , in a good way, read to self as often as possible can tremendously helps increasing a sense of self live, self respect, a new perception of what a person can think about herself. And, lots of patience not only with your child but apply this to yourself as well. Good luck to you and to your daughter.

    • Jay says:

      She has had several relinquishments all in the most important attachment period. You’ve mentioned three; separation from her birth mother, from the Intensive care unit, then from her foster family. They might have been loving, but all that means to her at the deepest level is that she’ll lose anyone she attaches to no matter the quality of the attachment.
      I think you need specialists with experience in adoption and a specialist diagnosis or assessment. I’m speaking here as an adopted person. This is not ‘bad behaviour’ to her, it’s an attempt to self soothe coming from a profound attachment trauma. ‘Just’ loving her is not going to be enough, I’m sorry to say. It’s wonderful that (if) you do and it’s certainly necessary, but it’s not enough here. Probably you know that as you’re here! There are now a lot of internet resources – perhaps sharing stories there will provide some links suitable for you/near you? There is at least a lot of online information now. Some experts are Nancy Verrier, Paul Sunderland, Heather Forbes. Thanks for your post and making this visible. It’s a profound developmental trauma and I look forward to the day it’s recognised as such. With all my heart I wish you all the best.

    • Annie Welch says:

      Do you think she has missed out on those natural nurturing physical stages that a child goes through before birth and during birth if she was premature?
      Weighted blankets can help children (any age really) to help them feel secure.
      Having a loving Foster family would have been a time of going through major milestones of growth and nurturing. Do you spend time talking about when she was a baby. To leave her foster parents at 17 months would be a huge wrench to her leaving definite trauma effects. It’s a slow road working with such early pain. I believe in always taking time after the dust settles from outbursts to talk through what happened in a loving and supportive way to help set up a positive template that will carry on through life.
      I have found that the setting up of coping templates in daily routines can help give supportive structure to a child’s feeling of security. To learn to recognise the triggers and always take time to discuss what happened when they are in a good space.
      I wish I had known years ago about how the brain reacts to trauma as Bessel explains. It makes total sense as to why one cannot reach the other parts of the brain to make informed decisions. I wish I had known years ago about his work!
      It’s so good to know the reality then one can work in a real way towards finding healthy coping strategies.
      Take Care and keep don’t despair.

      • Ada says:

        Wow, weighted blankets make sense! I am nervous at my dentist’s, especially after an episode of almost faint (vagal shock), but last time I was there they left on my body the lead apron for protection against X-rays and my anxiety subsided! Came back when they removed it as I felt exposed! :) and you are right, attachment is huge and it forms in the pre-verbal phase. She must have been so traumatized by the removal from her foster care family. I read about the types of attachment and the longitudinal studies done in the States over decades on how attachment style is formed in babyhood and how it impacts the adults for life; this is the book:, Attachment in Psychotherapy (Wallin). This child seems to have the avoidant attachment. She also seems to be seeing her new loving family as a problem; her unconscious cannot accept that she was taken from her foster care family. I think this method, lifespan integration, can help without retraumatizing. The practitioners claim that one year of this suffices to sooth the raw emotions and the attachment is secure within two-three years. It could take even less than these times.

        • Marcia says:

          Agreed, just reading about weighted blankets makes a lot of sense and I remember these at the dentist and how they were more helpful than scary. As a triage superviser we often used a tool when we would get a client call to recommend if they were suffering trauma feelings, to put a blanket in a warm dryer and then wrap up in it until the feeling calmed and it worked every time. Also used a cup of warm tea or warm milk, the latter having milk properties for calming. in these crisis calls we had many trials. Many found singing an old favorite childhood song helpful.

    • 1. Stop giving her chocolate as a reward to try to stop her bad behavior.
      2. Train her to talk slow deep breaths in through her nose & out through her mouth every time she has an episode.
      3. Everyone in the household do it with her at the same time.
      4. Get everyone to think positive thoughts at the same time.
      5. Find positive activities to replace negative ones, immediately when the old disruptive patterns surface.

      • Ada says:

        The child uses chocolate to self-soothe. They cannot remove the chocolate without providing an alternate way and she does not have one now. I guess they can try diaphragmatic breathing with her. But it may have to go deeper than that. This is the best book I have read on developmental trauma, Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image and the Capacity for Relationship. The theory is dead-on but the method they propose…. -I do not see its value. But, yes, they explain how and when issues form in childhood, why mainstream therapies do not work (CBT, dynamic/Freudian, mindfulness/meditation etc.) and they mention that removing self-soothing aids, even if deleterious, is counterproductive.

  108. Joy says:

    part One: What personal interventions can empower a person “on the fly” in a long term relationship?

    We fall into our old habitual patterns which don’t necessarily serve us well. This is in the primitive brain as I now understand it. Giving the gift of space in the moment, be it physical, mental, and emotional are ever in the forefront if we just take the gift.

    Part two of the same question: Is stepping outside of what we hold to be true to be practiced in the moment as an observer of our inner world that generates our outer world in thoughts feelings and emotions without responding or identifying with it ?

    It sounds good in written and verbal form but the trick seems to be in application of taking the Gift when experiencing the trigger.

  109. Ruth and Bessel
    I have PTSD for 65 years. I knew for a long time it had to be also a brain problem. It was only in the 80s did i understan more of what i had. For me it has been unending pain. I am a victium of long term crime..abuse, torture, and on going lack of understanding. Never worked, no formal education other than elementary school. I started changing my life after was given a german shepherd. No longer did anyone hurt me. The dog was at my side. No one dared to hurt me. I learned dog training, then went into the prison systens and started a program where inmates train dogs to help the handicapped…and started them all over the world. It is working with criminals and helping them become ‘other’ centered and my ability to forgive that has helped me learn how to become more healed even thoug it hasnt stopped the brain from keeping mr in non stop pain

    • Ada says:

      That is amazing, thank you for sharing! I have found this method called lifespan integration that promises to deal with trauma and PTSD. I like it very much but I was not fortunate enough to find a good therapist. This is a video that presents it via a patient interviewing her therapist, .

    • Deborah says:

      That is an incredible story. Thanks for sharing this. Animals know, they are intuitive protective, have insight on a cellular level (if that makes sense) and never judge. Their love is pure, and your dog saw your purity through it all. Those who have suffered abuse emit a scent, I am convinced of this. Animals come to me, trust me and protect me. I feel that connection. Your work is amazing, vital and was necessary to your self preservation. I have PTSD from childhood abuse. Allergies keep me from having a pet.

  110. Nancy says:

    I would like to know more about the effects of trauma to body/brain and emotions during childhood abuse. Also how this is survived, but resurfaces later in life when dealing with new trauma.

  111. alison bngham says:

    My sn is high functioning autism and has ptsd from being bullied this has become an anxiety that has stopped him from leaving the house his trauma started at 13 and he is now 19 and can not tolerate normal day to day living his sensory issues also cause extreme issues we are looking at rapid eye movement therapy to dislodge the memories causing his ptsd from the short term memory to the long term memories have you heard of any success with this therapy or do you suggest another therapy his brain due to his autism is on a constant high alert even before he received trauma

    • My granddaughter has PTSD from being choked by someone, so I put her in Taikwando & you should see her blossom, become empowered, with increasing self-esteem, self-worth & learning how to protect herself. She even broke her 1st board with her foot, that she didn’t think she could do. She’s coming out of her shell.

  112. John Jacobson says:

    These three stages can sometimes be received out of the order and in exaggerated or diminished intensity spoken of by Bessel van der Kolk. The awakened brain may be able to transfer the confused trauma of the sleeping brain at very awkward moments of an individual under sudden unexpected distress. Some of such socially compromised people might be gradually coached to defer such panicked instincts into a rehearsed mental catch basin of examination. The brain switching intensity that Bessel van der Kolk indicates does disorient the PTSD recipient far more than most people. People react suddenly to a pie thrust into their face… and the resolution of their next reactions is typical fight or flight resolution. It is vital that PTSD sufferers have some coping mechanisms they can develop for themselves that mimic such a cartooned situation. We can all laugh at the suggestion that we should awaken every PTSD person with a pie in their face… but we can show them a video of such a person waking up and getting just that… to see the two responses that follow- one comedic resolution and the other in perfectly destructive rage. Poetry is built up on such unexpected meaningful changes…and require to some degree of a gradual brain flip accommodation to engage in the imagery development and intended resolution. No PTSD is like any other’s PTSD. The sprung reaction isn’t like any other sprung reaction… except that it is devastating and can present itself as a harbinger of worst yet to come. I met one soldier on medical discharge whose group could regularly experience live fire ambushes up to three times a day in Afghanistan. No soldier can be trained to cope with this just as any woman or girl can be prepared to be raped or sexually assaulted. And any fireperson or policeperson cannot be prepared to view the grim reality of the horrible situations that they may have to overcome in their duties. We can start by asking them what their favorite poem and pie is… Here’s something more practical for every PTSD person to consider applying themselves too:

  113. Tanya says:

    So exhausted from trying everything I have cptsd
    Trauma started at birth and continued

    Need to know what he or you havefounds that works.Me the most effective form of treatment has been hands on body like somatic or any type of emotional energy really sort through the body, Western medicine has been awful, and I’ll never try the psych drugs again
    Thank you for all your efforts with this help is so needed
    Problem is, and Vero Beach for Florida, have yet to find the type of care that’s on the West Coast so I’ve really been not doing well

    Also, was using cannabis to treat this disorder, and feel like now long-term use of that is creating or excessive use is creating maybe some heart issues and Extreme hypersensitivity and other things, has anyone had feedback from this since it’s now widely being used on the West Coast and is medically legal in Florida for PTSDany comments

    • Try neurofeedback. You’d need many sessions.

      Good luck.

    • David George says:

      I have friends who use street cannabis- and it does get them by. I call the NICABM people “Nicklebum”. I hope they don’t mind. I am 66 years old now. I had a horrific experience with a huge amount of prescription drugs given to me when I was 17. I sought better solutions. It used to anger me- rage… grrr…! That society and the world could not come up with better solutions. Went through the 70’s where my friends were using dope, Heroin LSD and speed. But my experience with prescription drugs had innoculated me against this. I have always sought a solution to the trauma- finding peers and good company along the way has helped me heaps. I had chronic migraine. I am not pain free today, but I manage my pain and discomfort well. I am free drug free today- and this is around prescription medication.

      • Marcia says:

        This seems to defeat the purpose, if one used cannabus as it can cause some havoc in the brain that might make one dissociate which is what is seems a trauma victim is trying to decrease instead of increase. My son had open heart surgeries He knew at a young age that it was great for his pain in te open heart recovery but really played havoc in his brain maturity. He knew early on that this was not the answer to the surgical trauma except for pain. He avoids any type of drugs, even antidepressants. Guess he realizes his heart needed to heal but no excuse to damage his brain along the way.

  114. Karen Paul says:

    Seniors who were traumatized as children were never exposed to this kind of research and treatment. Is there hope when the brain is reset like this? What would treatment for this population look like?

  115. Couldn’t make out the first thing the ? perception system?

  116. leigh cunningham says:

    With PTSD, I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that it may be easier to contract disease. That happened to me after being diagnosed by Mayo Clinic/2007. I have Lyme’s disease, yes a tick born illness, but I believe it has manifested itself in a more profound,serious way within my body as a result of PTSD. Is there a weakened immune system due to PTSD? Leigh

    • Deborah says:

      I feel this is a given. Allergy sufferers, asthmatics, immune disorders, mysterious rashes..couple that with bipolar disorder (triggered by trauma). It took over a year but I detoxed my immune system. Took a lot of amino acids, magnesium, GABA (mood stabilizer), 5HTP….and i started to feel better. Stressful scenarios on top of pre-existing conditions can make bad appear worse. Surrounded by those who live with the same trauma issues, my family is rampant, means spending less time with them. Recognize that family isn’t always your core support group. Divorcing yourself emotionally and sometimes physically is key to healthy and autonomous coping. Reading, educating yourself, a far amount of solitude and reflection helps me. I started to develop allergies and breathing issues after a traumatic event in my childhood. (that I recall) 50 per cent of asthmatics (a study I read recently) have childhood trauma issues.

  117. Ann says:

    Thank you – this really helps me when trying to explain to colleagues, what’s happening for the children I support who have experienced trauma. I’ve also taken on-board your advice on yoga; breathing, etc. I have begun doing this first thing at school before lessons start with some of the children. They love it.

  118. Anke says:

    Thank you! This is so good to hear! I write, collage, do yoga ( which helped a lot), go to nature. But sometimes when too much comes together and my mental strength is not there anymore I slide into a full cycle of trauma living again. It takes months for me to get out. I am right now searching for a therapist. I am also Highly Sensitive which does not make it easier and still is a gift to find ways with my intuition.

    • Tough to find therapists who believe in intuition & other higher human faculties.

      I approached a professor of psychology once about my own abilities & he said “no one will believe you Terry”…EGADS he is teaching lots of students with a limited closed mind.

      Have you looked in Quantum University, neurofeedback/biofeedback?

      Here’s what I did with my abilities when they surfaced from a sudden kundalini awakening:

  119. Kristi Kennen says:

    What are interventions that are helpful when a client has suffered long term developmental trauma, and
    Lost a mother to death at four months old, and has no self soothing ability, and is also Bipolar II, and very
    Identified with her diagnosis, and is on SSD at age thirty five,and has been in therapy since she was nineteen?
    She is very angry that therapy has not worked.

    • I’ve run full circle around all these therapies you mention to overcome my own chronic complex PTSD.

      The ONLY thing that worked successfully for me is bio-feedback, neuro-feedback, so I enrolled in Quantum University Neuro-feedback courses so I don’t have to rely on outside costly time consuming professional services.

      Dr. Joe Dispenza & team of Neuro-scientists teach these courses, on how to overcome PTSD for good.

  120. Narguis Keshavjee says:

    I’m 62 years old and now finally engaging with yoga , mindfulness, medical herbs , acupuncture, walking ,getting good sleep, clinical kinesiology, cranio sacral therapy for my nutritional needs and eat an organic plant based diet with lean protein. I have had to resign from a full time job in mental health as I now have PTSD which became apparent when faced with challenging behaviour and anger. This has lifted the lid on childhood sexual abuse and violence. I don’t feel depressed but constantly feel trauma which is easily triggered.
    My question is and thank you for your patience, I have not been referred to a psychiatrist or mental health team.
    I start CBT and hopefully EMDR this week.
    Is there anything else I can do to retrain my brain to feel safe ?
    I live in the U.K. and have undertaken a DNRS course in Zurich with Annie Hopper to help with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities to all petrochemicals and chronic fatigue disorder.
    This helped but did not completely resolve my condition.
    I am planning to restart my mindfulness in the community and begin positive steps once I have worked with my counsellor by next spring.
    I have implemented so many life style changes and really want to know what helps with deep seated trauma.
    Heartfelt thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    • Plaid says:

      Highly recommend energy psychology (EFT/TFT and others) look up practioner and more info on the Association for Comprehensive Energy psychology (ACEP)

  121. How does a person heal from traumatic events?
    I was raped at a young age by my brother in law while his wife, my older sister, watched.
    I lost my father at 23, he was 63 and passed quickly from pancreatic cancer. We were very close all my life. I have been in three abuusive marriages. One at only 18, another at 25, the third at 28.
    My youngest child attempted suicide by intentional overdose of prescription medications at only 15. Four
    additional intentional overdoses followed. Today he is 22, remains an addict after extensive counseling and numerous drug rehabilitation stays.
    My oldest daughter was blinded and suffered severe brain damage when I was only 17. Raising her has also been very stressful.
    Any suggestions would be a blessing.
    Thank you,

    • Take action now & file a law suit against the perpetrator/s. There are laws to protect innocent from sexual crimes against young.

      My experience with healing trauma, is through understanding & forgiveness.

      Quantum University has neurofeedback courses to help overcome trauma.

  122. Gillian says:

    I have an adopted 13 tear old. I would like to know how to help her increase her window of tolerance. I see her suffering in school with relationships ,perceptions of failure, reluctance to study etc.

  123. Sherry says:

    Expressive writing – simple, free – might work to re-wire the pain pathways in the brain. I’m reading “Back in Control” by Dr David Hanscom, a spine surgeon. While the focus is alleviating physical pain, this stress management technique, just a few minutes a day, twice a day can interrupt the neural pathways caused by mental/emotional trauma also. The act of writing your thoughts down literally activates a different part of the brain and begins to desensitize the nervous system…and the science supports this. Fascinating stuff and a really great read.

  124. Morea bout how the brain reacts to trauma, and how to support clients in recovery from this.

  125. froth says:

    Hi, thanks for these very helpful vignettes. So interesting, and well researched. Could you tell us more about the last point, where someone with PTSD blunts their own personality/ body and their access to understanding others? & is it different for CPTSD? What is the best way to deal with it?

  126. Pat Canaday says:

    I did not know my last name was going to be used. What I shared, was me, and it was for all positive reasons. However, it has made me very uncomfortable and sad that you would think it necessary.

  127. David George says:

    I undertook some short courses offered by NICABM- to improve my understanding of my own trauma journey. I am interested in starting a group called C.O.T. Children Of Trauma to provide support for people like myself.

    Last week i came upon this clip and this practitioner. I do not know her, though she lives 50 minutes away from here in NZ. I pn this up because Emma’s journey parallels my own.

    THIS is not a promo for Emma… it underlines my own journey. Two years ago I had sleep apnea. Two times I fell asleep at the wheel of my car.
    My wife and daughter shouldered me into seeking help. I went up and down to Dunedin a few times and was tested on some spaceman gear.
    I had to take the shuttle because i was afraid I would hit someone if I drove.
    I got a bit sick of this, because it was taking time- and a lot of professional time at the other end. And I seemed to be getting nowhere.
    I was aware that I was chest breathing. I got tired easy and did not sleep well.
    So being a kiwi bloke I had a crack at it myself. Deep breathing.
    For 6 or 8 weeks I coughed up heaps and heaps of gunk. Several times a day. But every day things got a little better.
    I wrote a letter to the specialist in Dunedin- went down there and he discharged me.
    I have had this stress response since I was a kid- not being able to play sport properly, and not even being able to run for any distance.
    Getting help from a physio, and getting the breathing response checked would be essential.
    You don’t have to be a DIY guy. :D

  128. David George says:

    War is not the only cause of dysfunction and trauma. It could be said that life itself does this! I never knew my grandfather. He died in 1946. Some say of a broken heart, my mother suggested suicide. He was a war hero, but a quiet and unmoving man. My grandmother left him for a doctor, who was an alcoholic and was struck off towards the end of his career. My dad was caught up in this conflict. My grandfather lost his mum at a young age, and his two oldest brothers, all to Tb. This would not happen today.

    Learning that we are not responsible for our family culture is a great relief. In our lives we are told we have choices, but it is oh so hard to exercise these choices! Shifting this family culture takes time, patience, and sometimes, professional help. But everyone is in this together. Discoveries about how the body and brain operate can offer hope.

  129. Louise Cullen says:

    I was recently diagnosed with PTSD (Jan 2017)
    I have battled to receive therapy and now am only receiving online CBT . As a clinician myself I find This to be extraordinarily unhelpful as i know it to be the “Talking cure “‘not the ‘typing cure’
    I am struggling immeasurably at the moment as cannot afford private treatment. Happy to give a timeline an details if needed . I live in the U.K and mental health services are inept. I work in health care so am aware of this professionally.

    • Louise, I had biofeedback for 3 months after being diagnosed with PTSD & a brain injury as a result of being brutally attacked by 2 armed robbers who nearly murdered me. Biofeedback helped me more than any other modality, medicine or talking therapy. So much so, that I’m not enrolled in Quantum University’s biofeedback & neurofeedback programs toward a PhD in Natural Medicine. I cannot say enough about how much these technologies helped & empowered me.

      • Louise Cullen says:

        Hi Terry
        Thanks for replying.
        I have not read much about biofeedback but will look into it

  130. Ramona Baker says:

    What lasting impact on the brain does severe trauma that starts at birth and continues until 33 yrs old

  131. Frances Burnham says:

    My son is stuck in his hyper vigilance, due to trauma, yet has abandoned the emotional
    support he needs because this has been an established pattern since childhood now locked
    by PTSD. His explosive anger seems to be an expression of loss that he hasn’t got words for
    because that vocabulary hasn’t been able to set a pattern of recognition in the brain. He has
    finally been able to articulate some of the deep anguish he has about loss of relationship
    yet cannot release the backlog of grief because of the interruption to processing that the trauma
    hyper vigilance has caused. This frustration manifests itself with him punching walls for relief and an
    avoidance to seek help through anti-anxiety medication. There seems to be a ‘knowing’ that that
    is not the way to go even though we and his doctor advocate it, which causes him considerable
    distress. Have you any suggestions?

    • John says:

      Your son needs support, empower him, listen without speaking if he opens up and know “trauma has no words” ~ Bessel van der Kolk. Make that okay for him. Find someone who was trained by Peter Levine or Pat Ogden, there is something underneath the anger that needs to be processed and this can be done without words. Sorry to hear he is on anxiety medication, as often the side effect is more anxiety. “What people usually don’t know when they start taking meds for anxiety symptoms, is that by relying solely
      on pills they will not learn how to control or eliminate symptoms without medication.
      ~ Dr. Margaret Wehrenberg
      He must learn how to self regulate, calm his own nervous system – he has the power to learn the skills to do this, but if he is being told he “has” PTSD, this takes away his responsibility to cultivate change. ThE hyper vigilance is not locked by PTSD, it is locked because it is a well rehearsed pattern as you said since childhood, so he has to unlearn the pattern, and this can be done, with patience and understanding.

      • JW says:

        It is great to see how much support you got it from here. But I must say that hyper vigilance could originate from his personality trait or …developmental… age ? ADH ?may be ;(

    • sandy strong says:

      You might check out Irene & Seth Lyon and their HEALTHY NERVOUS SYSTEM REVOLUTION! I believe this information and education on regulating the nervous system is the missing link in healing trauma! Also Dr. Gabor Mate’.

    • Get him to study Dr. Joe Dispenza’s work on YouTube

  132. David George says:

    Hi Ruth and Y’all,

    I have done some of your courses and followed the accumulated research. I am a part of a movement of sufferers who sometimes work with professionals, and other 12 step groups. I AM NOT looking for referrals. On the contrary we tend to work with the most motivated of sufferers who come on board under their own steam. This is the only “approach” that appears to work.

    However, over time I would like to see some rapprochement between ‘the consumer group’ and the clinicians. Having studied some of the work of the NICABM I would like to think us volunteers can also make discoveries and breakthroughs at group level. For ourselves. And possibly for the world.

    Personally I operate to high ethical standards, although the setting is quite different. Reaching out and making connections is what it is all about- at a personal level- and here, in organisational mode.

    Thanks all for your work- groundbreaking!

    • Quantum University Dr. Joe Dispenza neurofeedback program treats PTSD successfully.

    • Frances Burnham says:

      Hi David,
      I wonder if a closed Facebook page would work between practioners/volunteers/
      carers/survivors of trauma where an Intel discifering of questions and practical
      applications raised couldn’t help with statistical information and insight?
      I’m out the other side of my trauma yet have yet to see a significant breakthrough
      for my son.

      • David George says:

        Yes… Frances that would be a good option. I am 66 years old and have spent most of my life trying to exit my trauma. Working alongside people like myself has been a great help. I think that working in tandem with the clinicians is the way to go.

        The big thing is learning to trust. Just a conversation right there is an advantage. Just having three or four people to start a group- priceless.

        What I like a lot too is talking about hobbies, pet, music…and learning to have a relaxed social life- without pressures… creating an atmosphere of friendship is really nice, and helpful.

        Our daughter has anxiety. Not as bad as mine at that age… perhaps. But when we are in that state it is terrible, horrible no matter what the circumstance. It does take one to know one.


        But I do believe that there is hope- there has to be!

        • Frances Burnham says:

          Dear David,
          I know for me that I finally came to understand the ramifications of war on the generations
          and how that holds memory and gets past on through the generations
          and it’s outworking in all sorts of schisms and collective units of thought
          and therefore action that rob us of the simplicity of God’s peace.
          I have come to acknowledge the Goodness of God to give me His heavenly
          counterpart for every negative thing, every negative thought and compilation
          of negative memory stored in my body that has expressed itself in anxiety.
          It is wonderful to know that He has a fail safe plan to dislodge this from the
          collective consciousness as well which is where the trauma took me. So I pray
          that the Goodness of God be restored to the hearts and minds of all those here
          on these pages in the blessed name if my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

          • David George says:

            Yes, my dad served in WW2 and both grandfathers in WW1. 11 relations served in both wars- four died and one wounded. But the most wounded in spirit was an uncle who saw battle stations at sea at the age of 16. He ended up killing himself. it was interesting for me recently to here Bessel Van Der Kolk talk about his own father, and his reprieve from the death camps.

            Bless you Frances, for speaking out…, and for your covering blessing over those of us all, sharing here.

            My Welsh granddad was saved from death because he carried his hymnbook in his tunic pocket. The bullet glanced off the spine of the book and missed his heart.

  133. Nada says:

    This is all very interesting. Thank you, it is an area with big implications as it brings into the open what is realised subconsciously in many people.
    My son, who is now 42 years old, was diagnosed with Leaukaemia at 20 months old. He had six and one half years of chemotherapy and radiation (relapsed in the middle of treatment) This was a very traumatic time for the family, and there were weeks away from home at a major hospital in our state. (Australia)
    At present, he has many health isssues including mild intellectual disability as a result of the treatment, but we still have him. He couldn’t understand what was happening to him at the time and has very little recall even now of that time.
    Trauma was not talked about
    but I can see now that it impacted him (and all of us) greatly.
    I am not sure what articles, or books, address this area of trauma in childhood, and would appreciate any suggestions from you.
    Bless you for making all this information accessible to people.

  134. Pat Canaday says:

    I was diagnosed at 25 (a Mom of 3) with PTSD. I felt shameful. It’s never been addressed. I am now a 76 year old recent widow. I am still stuck in that horrible role. However, after just reading many of these comments I have fallen in love with all the people who are like me! I hope I don’t sound ‘nuts’ but it’s true. I have 4 kids & 20 grandchildren, but so often I know ‘they don’t get/understand my behavior.(Frankly, I don’t either) I isolate myself so easily and I mistrust people. I just thought I was abused, I never told anyone what my step-father did to me when I was 6. The beatings, going hungry, never being hugged or talked nice to from the people in charge, Called filthy names since a child on & on. Marrying men who were either sexually addicted or alcoholic. I know I followed a very dark path. For whatever time I have left I will hope and pray for all of you and myself to change the ‘things I can’! And. Stay ‘greatful’ for all the good Good I have in my life.

  135. colette webb says:

    My question is you say trauma. But can that be say from the feeling of from hildhood un loved over certain ways you where treated or physical has in injury to has being hit over the head a number of timestudents. Or in July by a accidenth to the body

    • Have neuro specialists done MRI, PET or other active Scans of the brains of people who have experienced trauma related experiences, and measured those brain scans against people who have never experienced trauma?

      Neuro-bio-feedback & bio-feedback empowers people to re-connect their mind/body after trauma by teaching them how to change their own frequencies (emotional, physical & musculature), when hooked up to these technologies & learn how to bring all frequencies into balance again WITHOUT DRUGS OR SIDE EFFECTS.

      Bio-feedback technology is the most powerful tool any person can use, to overcome anything that affects the body/mind & should be covered under medical programs. When the body/mind has come out of balance, and can be significantly helped with feedback technologies.

      BUT drug companies WANT to sell drugs that typically only MASK symptoms & don’t cure.

  136. Walker says:

    How do I stop the horrendous, recurring nightmares that I’ve been having for the last 10 years. They began after a bullying at work saga but they key into all sorts of childhood abuse and neglect. I had 2 years of EMDR which helped a little but I still suffer these nightmares and attendant insomnia and exhaustion.

  137. Robyn Holmes-Cannon says:

    Thank you. It’s interesting because I think many interventions address the behavioural and emotional impacts of trauma without knowing exactly how the brain has been changed. We are intuitive with each other. When I am working with a client and they are panicking I can see and feel the activation of their fight-flight response and respond by working with the client, sometimes a child and sometimes adults, to do what I call ‘bringing them back to now” to work with them to find their body in space, to see the room they are in and attach meaning to it and to activate their sense perceptions, ‘what do you see? Feel? Hear right now?” and do movements or breathing, sometimes I do this with the client so it is also a shared experience of being in Now. I have noticed many many times that the person, when they have not tried to ignore their physiological response, but rather get their body and head working together and focusing on the aspect of time (now) it seems to help the person separate past and present and to be ale to tolerate the discomfort of the physiological response to fear by having some feeling of control over it and knowing it will pass. It is tempory – they are not stuck in the past. They are hear now.

  138. Julie says:

    Im interested to know how to respond to the trigger that “touches off” inappropriate responses to outside actions which trigger my response. Fight or flight. If I could respond more appropriately I could be more assertive.

  139. Rene kitagawa says:

    I want the shorter answer not watch…again.

  140. HOW can people “heal” the “deep wound” of PTSD when it rears it becomes triggered & takes over – or is this a permanent injury?

  141. How can you MOVE deep traumas HELD & STORED in the body?

    I was recently triggered into a FULL PTSD reaction, and realized the very deep injury inside, that is not like any other injury.

    I went to my GP & asked to be referred to a Psychiatrist, but GP said it wouldn’t be wise to be opened up again to revisit traumas.

    • Frances Burnham says:

      Dear Terry,
      Movement really helped me. I dug in the earth and cleaned all the junk out of my back garden, I danced in the rain, went in long bush walks, swam in the sea feeling the water support me. I ate well; sat in the sunshine; took up art classes…anything
      that brought some sort of natural release and connection with beauty to restore my senses to their original intent. I did five EMDR sessions which were a pretty powerful movement of release. But if the root fear hasn’t been dealt with it may be difficult to trust the process.
      I was also careful not to watch or listen to the news too often or watch any violent movies.
      However I also persisted in soaking worship and praise(YouTube videos) to release my connection to the negative in the collective consciousness(which is where I believe the primal cortex opens to in trauma) and enabling me to release ‘the compression of my mind’ (my best way of discribing the internal feeling within my mind). This form has been a sweet and gentle release and has enabled me to regain more of who I am than any other method.

    • Robyn Holmes-Cannon says:

      Terry Anderson: Your GP is wrong. Follow your gut about what you need. If you sit with the knowledge that you have a deep injury and you are becoming more aware of it, you will begin to feel helpless to resolve it if you do nothing.

  142. Lynne Euinton says:

    My question has already been asked below: What targeted interventions are helpful for people in trauma experiencing these changes in the traumatised brain?

  143. Lisa Kennedy says:

    would like to know more about target intervention and the other question i pose is what happens when a stressor happens and the person has a relapse. How do they bounce from those relapses? Are there tools / strategies to give to clients / people in those situations.

  144. Sandra Cohen says:

    Things like exercise programmes that people enjoy and look forward to can help. What happens though, when they are under other stressors or relapse due to other reasons that we can’t see?
    I am also all in favour for writing down 5 positive affirmations, developed with the client, to remind them what is good about themselves. If they can’t come up with any, I ask them what their family or friends would say.We put these in a visible place for them to look at every day.
    We can look at ways to “retrain the brain”.I am wondering if it is necessary to work on the trauma directly..Some people do not want to “go back there”. They do not want to talk about that stuff. Do we need to spend time talking about the effect on them and acknowledge that they were not at fault; they were the victim but they do not remain a victim and they can become strong. I am especially thinking about cases of abuse.

    • I think people need to share traumatic experiences with someone who will listen compassionately, to acknowledge the injuries.

      I don’t think it’s wise to keep going over it time & time again as that just re-opens wounds that may not be healed.

      Providing information on how trauma affects people is one step toward “empowering” people trapped in cyclical PTSD, by helping them come out of fear/freezing into taking action to MOVE the PTSD along/out of the body mind.

  145. Patricia Goldsmith, Ph.D. says:

    What are targeted interventions?

  146. Chris says:

    Would like to see research and ecfective strategy in addressing trauma among persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Working with autism and trauma appears to be an area of oversight in most of the clients I serve

  147. Henriette Berkhout says:

    (“If” I suffer from PTSD, I still don’t know, )can I learn to control it? Since 6 months I practice Yoga and mindfulness. I go for a swim in the early morning in open water( Het IJ in Amsterdam) my blood pressure is very high and it’s very difficult to get it lower. I live a healthy life, but there is that constant fear in me. I’ve lost my brother suddenly ( in 2008)when I spoke on the phone with him( massive heart attack) we were talking about death and his last words were ” I’m curious ….” he seemed until that moment completely healthy and happy. Since then everything is related with death in me according to the people I love and to myself. That makes me alert for everything that can happen. So I feel myself constant in a state preparing for the worst….so can I…..and how can I transform my mind and body ( blood pressure) into more peacefull again? thank you. I am talking and working with a psycholoog/ psychotherapeut.

  148. Julian Pickles says:

    I am sure I know many of the ways to relieve trauma. This is something I have had long experience of from a very early age. Each individual has had different experiences and is a different person. Therefore only an individual case history can reveal what the causes of the trauma may have been and then what solutions there may be to ease the suffering and allow new growth to spring from historical pain.

  149. Alita Herman says:

    What about complex ptsd that has been untreated for years and drug and alcohol abuse on top of that? I’m now clean and sober for going on 8 months and feel I need therapy. Who do I see? Childhood trauma, incest counselor, drug and alchohol council? Grew up in violent surroundings, was permiscuis at an early age, abandonment issues. Then my husband was in an accident when I was 4 months pregnant with 3rd child in a coma for 5 years, then my youngest was hit by a car and in a coma for 2 weeks and had to learn how to walk and talk all over again when he was 7. He also suffers from ptsd from that and from being in Afghanistan. I am trying to just let go of past and move on however it has been very difficult moving forward because of the shame and guilt of my less than perfect methods of coping using drugs and alcohol and the guilt and shame of not being a better parent, spouse, friend, relative etc. isolating and zoning out are not working for me anymore. Need help in Troutdale Oregon any suggestions for therapist?

    • Alita, I’ve had years of counselling with a variety of specialists for many of the traumas you mentioned above. What I learned is I had to forgive those who hurt me to start getting well. No good comes from holding unforgiveness in our bodies/psyches. It’s like poison that damages survivors from the inside out.

      Put the crimes back at the feet of the people it belongs to.

      I grew up in similar circumstances. I forgave my Father for what he did to all of us, when he was mentally ill, born with FAS, he could never cope with stress, after being molested & bullied himself. He’s 93 & we have a kind understanding supportive relationship, much to the shock of everyone. Forgiving him was the best thing I could ever do for myself.

      I eventually forgave the 2 armed robbers who brutally beat & nearly murdered me, but it took 25 years EGADS. I HAD to leg go of the anger & move on, even though I have permanent injuries from that assault, drank very heavily to try to numb out from the pain.

      My experience with chronic complex PTSD is as a very deep injury that ignites when triggered, and there’s NOTHING I can do to stop the adrenaline & trauma cycle from running it’s course. I become suicidal, hopeless, in excruciating pain, that feels like it won’t ever stop ~ but eventually it subsides ~ but nearly gets me in the process. I isolate to protect others from me, until I feel better. PTSD is the most difficult injury to live with. I understand why people take their lives when they suffer with it.

      I had a brain injury from the armed robbery assault & had to relearn everything all over again at the age of 30, however PTSD feels worse because it seems there is no healing & it affects your entire being.

      We live in an odd world, filled with complexities & trauma for some, for others much worse. Things can always be worse.

      God be with you & your precious family on your healing journeys.

  150. Cindy says:

    How do I find a trauma therapist in my area? Dr Bessel makes it so easy to understand how your body has reacted to trauma but how do you change your reaction to your environment? Thanks Dr Bessel for your clear insight on trauma .

  151. Zoe says:

    How can I get this help? I live on Long Island in NY?

  152. Bruno Bizier says:

    Hem… I most want to know WHO did it to me! I was sexually abused, at age 7, maybe more than once, I don’t remember ANYTHING clearly. I would want to retrieve my full memory and be able to work on clearing that event(s) and learn to live my life better. Its kinda late, as I am now 66!… BUT it’s benn bugging my mind and emotions all those years, almost 60 now!

    I had come, thru an Nth therapy, to pinpoint that it REALLY is at seven that I was abused, and that it was REALLY through sexual abuse. That was done through hypnosys, at the end of a year-long weekly therapy, by the best psycholopgist I had met so far. BUT: he was at the end of his carreer, took his retirement and it took me a while to digest this solid realisation. Three years, that took me, then I was ready to dig more again. But he had moved away and was not available anyore, even if he, for maybe a year or two he had pursued with a couple of his cliets for maybe a year and a half after his official retirement.

    I feel that I have taken numerous poor decisions in my life AND refrained from deciding anything and just be like a leaf in the wind, mostly due to the extremelly nagging ignorance of who did that to me. I had a number of ”suspects” for the crime, but most are now dead.

    Anyway, I am alive and not always sure it’s a good thing.

    VERY VERY TIRING! I am subject to narcolepsy, maybe a light degree of it, but still distr=urbing, eventually dangerous, like when I am driving. I dont take chances anymore. At the first sign of it, I stop the car and take a rest.

    Plus feeling like a stranger in my own family (siblings).

    Thank God, He sent me my second wife!

  153. Lucienne says:

    To learn to make connection with people and learn to trust again people and myself

  154. Jane says:

    Can I just point out something really obvious please? The brain IS part of the body. However, it is not the mind, and you cannot conclusively say that the mind is only in the brain – especially given interoception, plus the roles of the heart and stomach which both have neurons in them.

    Please stop pretending that the brain isn’t part of the body – it’s a biological structure like all the other organs.

  155. Erica Kuyten says:

    This sounds all so true. I know that.
    I have been in a japanese concentration camp and working as a hypnotherapist I did a lot of regressions aso for myself.
    I know my Chi is not working as it should and I do biofontherapy since I have Lyme now.
    This also has to do with big trauma and energy flow.
    I wish I had a good therapist in the Netherlands now since I am my own therapist now.
    I am also reading Levine on bodywork.
    What a beautiful science altogether. I still hope to get better everyday.


  156. Jay Zblewska says:

    I was assaulted by my partners teenage daughter who had been living with us for three months!
    She has a personally disorder which I was trying to get her treatment for, she now has a youth caution and hopefully will take the help that’s on offer for her now as the system let her down.
    My Partner of four years walked out on me and left me covered in blood in the garden after his Daugther assaulted me so I’ve had a double whammy of the grief process etc

  157. Marie-Christina Virago PhD says:

    One of the things that I balk at is statements such as X “changes the brain”: life is fluid and our brains no less so: EVERYTHING changes the brain structure in some way or another…and it isn’t only the brain that is changed/changes, constantly; the whole organism is in constant flux. Our current fixation on “The Brain” seems to ignore this. I’d be very interested to hear more about cerebellar function too.
    Thanks again Ruth!

  158. Kathy says:

    What is the next step?
    Using NLP and Hypnosis we have created a program called Reconciliation of Traumatic Memories RTM protocol and in a few sessions we simply target the most extreme PTSD issues and find great relief in our clients.
    All this and no medications, which totally flies in the face of our pharmaceutical mindset, however, the results are significant enough that even the US Government is applying this to returning Vets to help them recover and adjust to life state-side.

    We know the brain can change itself to accommodate traumatic memories, so it can and does change itself all the time.

    With Kelly’s comments below, what’s the next step? There is a next step – and it’s beyond tablets and medication
    The residual anxiety, tension, sleep loss, depression, are all secondary defence mechanisms as the brain is trying to protect you from feeling those trauma based experiences again.

    I’m so glad that research on a medical level is identifying that there is actual BRAIN CHANGES in PTSD, and now we can move to helping.

    Just Like the Fast Phobia Cure, in NLP – it was at one time believed that “One Trial Learning” events were permanent and nothing could be done to change it. Now we know in just about 20 minutes, we can resolve these conflicts.

    It is doable, and I work with clients in this area daily. Have faith, as science uncovers the acceptance that these changes are indeed happening, we’re already working in the field on the other side – recovery.

    • Zoe says:

      What is NLP? Do you know anyone who is practicing Reconciliation of Traumatic Memories protocol near NYC or even Long Island, NY, where I live?

  159. I’d like to help a person get to the point where they can feel again; where they are beginning to and able to feel the pleasure, excitement, etc; also, in working with DID, how does hypnosis work best?

    • Kathy says:

      Using Hypnosis have the client follow the feeling back to it’s origins. Often the origins of the feeling is not in the memory recall, but instead stored in the brain as a reference point. EG: When using hypnosis clients uncover their phobic fear of flying is not the most recent turbulent flight, but something that happened when they were six or seven years old. And when we unpack that moment, and resolve the conflict, allowing the deep unconscious to do all the work for them, they don’t have that same intense reference point. it’s changed in the brain as a reference, and even when referencing the recent uncomfortable flight, the client doesn’t feel the same intensity. (charge, panic, reaction)

      Can it resolve that easily? yes, Does it come back? No. if you have resolved the initial creation of the problem then the subsequent accumulative experiences do not fall on the same trauma. They begin to dissipate and they do so rapidly. Clients say “I just don’t feel the same way about it”,

      Knowing many people are traveling by air and it’s actually the safest way, doesn’t change a thing for the flight phobic. However, the brain can change it for them. And really only their brain can do that – talking about it, reviewing the reasonable levels of why it shouldn’t bother them, just reinforces the charge.

      If the brain can change to create a state, it can change to resolve it.

  160. Kelly says:

    Id like no ive been diagnosed wit ptsd, serve panic disorder an social anixtey an serve panic attacks an house bound agreofobi how do u start treat these ive just been given tablets all time which doesnt work its destroying my life id really appreciate sum information as i went private till more still suffering.

  161. Diana says:

    I want to know so how do you change or nix those 3 abnormal ways of functioning? Its great to hear about it so clearly but whats the next step after knowledge?

    I am a life long survivor of multiple traumas, diagnosed at Brookline years ago with Complexx PTSD as well as Disociative Disorder and I feel my symptoms stronger as years go on instead of less.

    Can you recommend any successful therapists or groupas since BTC wil not take Medicare and I need help?
    Many thanks

  162. “We are soul” Usually we say we have a soul, but this seems to be wrong.
    The soul is wounded after a trauma, also after a attack of the brain, the soul is affected/wounded.
    It takes a long time to recover from souldamage.

    I have heard from several friends about the remarkable change of loved one’s after an attack of the brains. I remember from one of my brothers (a psychiatrist) who suffered from such an attack an operation was necessary. No change of character happened however. This points out the difference of soul-quality for recovery. In cosmic sense the soul = mind in his case is not wounded in spiritual sense.

    Kids seem to be wounded in soul, may cause brain-damage. The patient seem to close their mind for any influence.

    In cosmic sense the soul is related with the Sun. We (astrologers) take a look how the patient’s Sun is connected with planets in the birthchart. 180° 90° 135° are most difficult

  163. Daniela says:

    I’m a massage therapist interested in working with clients suffering from PTSD. My primary question is if a client’s symptoms worsen or change after receiving bodywork, should I stop treatment? Or is it common for symptoms to flare up but then reduce over time?

    I know another massage therapist already doing this kind of work and one of her clients started experiencing headaches, spaciness, tiredness, forgetfulness, etc. between trauma sessions. Is this normal? Is there a good way to explain it to the client? Or is this not good long term, and should treatment be stopped or modified?

    I’m having a hard time finding information about possible side effects of various treatments and best practices for responding. Thank you in advance for any resources and assistance!

    • Kathy says:

      It would seem whenever you begin to work with the residual tension held in the body from a resulting trauma, its understandable it might feel worse to start. To me that’s the initial shift in the body. The body’s holding patterns for the trauma have been adjusted.

      What might result in addition to the body releasing energy, is the client may have dreams, revisit some of the traumatic experiences too. This is the psyche releasing some of the trauma. I often forget to share with clients, following our sessions, that any dreams around the subject is the indication the unconscious is “house cleaning” the details and just let it go. Later they mention it, and I confirm, “all good”

      When quitting smoking – lots of dreams of smoking again.
      When adjusting addictions and addiction patterns – lots of reusing in the dreams sequences.

      All good, the unconscious is clearing the residual patterns of behaviour. Would it be the same for doing the physical body work as well?

  164. Catherine A Churchill says:

    Thank you:)
    Awesome info. Helps to understand.
    My daughter and I have just affirmed a diagnosis of PTSD, and severe depressive disorder, recurrent (I inc for myself: TBI…This through brain scans at Amen clinics.
    I’m certain my adult son has this as well.
    This was due to domestic violence, and other trauma and loss (2 childrens death, husbands death)

    Thank you, again

  165. Christine says:

    How simple. How simply insightful. As a 66-year-old person with Complex-PTSD, this helps me enormously in studying my responses to life as it continues. My repeated and largest PTSD moments happened in my youth from ages 4 through 37. By the time I was 18, I’d been raped 5 different times, then was kidnapped and taken to Las Vegas for you know what. I got away untouched by the cleverness of my inner God and intelligence. Whew. My question is, is there any way that I. a layman, can help someone recently traumatized before actually getting them to a place or person of education and technical skill? Thank you very much for this series!

  166. Anna says:

    How to recover from depression after trauma and becoming suicidak instead of enjoying life. Emdr did not help.

  167. Shelley says:

    I was finally diagnosed with PTSD (after numerous triggers leading up to my wedding resulted in a massive meltdown a day later.) – nearly 2 years ago. It had been a long time since I had had a meltdown and this was a biggy. I lashed out at my mother-in-law, who I love dearly, and was completely irrational. I was aware of my behaviour but at the time I feel powerless to stop it. Over the years I have behaved this way toward other friends and family but it had been a long time and I thought I had it under control. Apart from looking for triggers and being more aware of myself in a situation, I feel quite hopeless that I’ll ever really be healed of PTSD. I am an otherwise loving and caring person and want to have close relationships with people but I keep my distance, I go to church infrequently and struggle to commit even though I want to, I am just so scared that I am a ticking time bomb and I don’t want to hurt people. I love my family and I am a very loyal person. I have a wonderful, loving husband who makes me feel the safest I have ever been. There are only two people in my life that I feel truly safe with. Just so want to be free of this!

  168. Billie Fisher-Fowler says:

    Have you looked at Dr. Amen’s methods of which specific areas of the brain are the dominant operant areas?

  169. Tanya D Oldenburg says:

    I would like to understand more about delayed physical responses to trauma.

  170. Adrianne Noah says:

    Where are the responses from the doctor? Did I miss something? I’m very curious for answers and help.

  171. Dianne Homan says:

    My head trauma happened many years ago, due to a motor vehicle accident, when I was a child of 10 years old, and although I was unconscious for 2 weeks following the accident, I received no treatment except a hospital bed. My mother died in the accident. After regaining consciousness I was sent back to school and was expected to live as normal. I have lived a very difficult life, always expecting bad things to happen and although I have had counselling, I find I have no stamina, no resilience and cannot deal with stress. I have also had quite a bit of depression. Although it is too late to resolve this now as I am 69 years old, Is this the reason I have found life to be so difficult? I have been told I need to toughen up.

    • Billie Fisher-Fowler says:

      Look at other practitioners. Dr. Steve Amen has a method that can work in tandem with Dr. Van der kolk. Dr. Amen runs tests online based on many years of research. I hope that he and Dr. Van Der Kolk’s teams collaborate to bring the most cutting edge and innovative approaches to promotiing brain health and neuroplasticity!

  172. David oz says:

    Perhaps a shut down body leads to dead areas in the body and cancer. Maybe Capitalism is perpetuating the traumatized walking wounded that is leading to the rise in cancer, that and eating foods that may taste nice but are harmful to our bodies and the fact we are desensitized means that we dont know that.

  173. Jenny says:

    Hi I’m really interested to know about if you can tell from the brain when someone has healed from PTSD. Does this look different from a person before PTSD? I believe I had a milder form of PTSD about 4 years ago, due to a trigger event of hearing my next door neighbour’s last moments of life before falling from a 2nd floor window (me and my housemate had called the police as we believed a domestic was going on next door however the police arrived 30 seconds to late, even though they couldn’t have been more than 11 minutes to respond and they later stated there was too little evidence to charge anyone with the fatality). For me this occurred the day after I was made redundant from a job I loved and recently after I’d developed asthma (which I’d never suffered from). Almost a year to the event and several other v. strange coincidences / events and a short spell in hospital due to an accident where I nicked myself and several weeks later got a life threatening infection & had to have an emergency operation, I started experiencing severe anxiety which at first I thought was the asthma. Eventually I was struggling so much I talked to my GP and had 1 initial session with a therapist however at the end it turned out it was just an assessment session and counselling wouldn’t start for another 8 weeks. To which I responded that I was aware of the constraints of the NHS however I couldn’t be in this state for 8 more weeks – could they recommend a book (which they wouldn’t). So I went to the nearest book shop and I started reading and reading and reading. The first book I found was thankfully Scott M. Peck The road less travelled. I read another one ‘from emotional chaos to clarity’ and then also one on ‘Post Traumatic Growth’. I also started meditation. Since then I’ve moved countries and I definitely know that I have healed and understand that this experience happened, was exceptionally hard at the time as I thought I was going crazy, I would rather that my neighbour had lived, yet it happened and I can’t change that. However despite the awfulness the amount of growth I have had as a person and the depth of understanding that I have about myself and trauma has given me insights and perspectives which I think have become invaluable and long term I’ve removed a lot of previously harmful internal thought habits and replaced them with more positive ones. So this is why I ask the question as I have no doubt that my brain changed on the day of my neighbours death, and there was a period where I was in the state mentioned in the clip – however I know that I am out of that space and feel that again I’m in a different but better place than before, so I’m wondering if brain scans can tell this too?

  174. Rach Wood says:

    Hi, Worked as an RN for 20years….had a father in war II who had a bomb blow up by his head. I have had PTSD for years and years with not much in the way of relief. I just need help….Thanks,

  175. U.T. Reimers says:

    What can I do to erase or cope with traumas from all my life? Any practical things?

  176. Ann Bowler says:

    I would most like to know how to heal my mind from trauma, how to stop my mind from constantly reliving it and how to deal with any future situations which could cause the same reaction.
    Also, very importantly for me, how to forgive someone who caused me so much trauma.

  177. Ailine Ostby says:

    Thanks so much for bringing us Dr. Van der Kolk’s wisdom. I am always looking for effective interventions to teach clients who have complex PTSD how to regulate their body mind.

  178. I want to know:

    – how trauma interfaces with 1) our physiology? and 2) our thoughts and beliefs? 3) fight & flight 4) sex & intimacy in the relationship after shock and trauma of infidelity?

    – How can our thoughts and feelings be completely T-boned and hijacked by events? . Ie: when a happily married woman finds out her husband cheated? When everything gets side’swiped and changes in a flash.

    – What happens in forgiveness? Is it accepting a person or event and then a Cascade of brainwaves chance the biology? What is the role wisdom plays and how does it interface with my brain to reframe the event? And How does forgiveness translate into happiness?

  179. Margaret says:

    How do you cope when the therapist you trust breaks that trust & has sex with you? How do you cope when the next therapist you see has more problems than you do? How do you cope when a psychiatrist tells you there is no such thing as ‘blocked memories’? Screw it…..I took care if myself.

    • That psychiatrist should be REMOVED from professional practice, prosecuted, and sued in civil court as well. He violated his ethics, ignored the oath he was required to take, and has MAJOR problems! Tell someone, tell everyone, who did this to you. I know, it happened to me as well. I suffered in silence for years and didn’t begin to really heal until I wrote about it in my book, and by then, he was dead.
      Abuse of that nature by a mental health professionals is absolutely INTOLERABLE and INEXCUSABLE.

    • Billie Fisher-Fowler says:

      You report that therapist to the licensing board, as they have violated their ethics and YOUR boundary! Get another therapist, take time and use meditation and mindfulness!

  180. I’d be interested to know of effects /risks/ counter indications and potential overlaps between someone receiving hypnotherapy, cranial chiropractic and EMDR alongside talking therapy (CBT /relational / attachment based therapy). I have an accident victim/survivor with a background of serious relational neglect, abuse and therefore previously undisclosed trauma who is engaging in the latter with me (since a year) plus some aspects of emdr but she couldn’t handle it and she has lately sought help also by hypnotherapy with focus on present and cranial chiropractic. Thank you! Lynne ps these videos and reports are so excellent!

  181. Tina says:

    As a result of continuous traumas in my adult years, I have developed onset PTSD. It started as a child with sexual abuse and a dysfunctional family, and as the years wore on, poor and failed relationships were the norm. A destructive life pattern became evident. Eventually my coping mechanisms failed, and today, I continue to suffer from anxiety, emotional distress and PTSD. There are days I am tormented, and just can’t turn off my brain from reliving trauma. I remain single and live a simple stress free life, with clean living. It has been key to my recovery.

  182. What constitutes Trauma?

  183. Lisa S says:

    I’m 50 and have had many abusive relationships. I am married for the fourth time and when we argue I get extremely defensive, yet I feel I manipulate the situation so that the thing we are arguing about is his fault. I find it hard to say sorry. Yet, I am. I feel like I deserve to be loved AND respected but yet I don’t like the person I see in the mirror.
    I have just finished my Master’s of Social Work. I want to have my own private practice but how can I help myself when there is so many things wrong with me? Will I ever “get over” the past trauma I have lived? I’m also a recovering addict/alcoholic and have chronic pain from the injuries I have suffered in the past. I don’t feel strong enough to get out of bed some days but I push myself like I am trying to prove something to someone or my self. I never do good enough in my eyes. Help! I see a LMSW clinition but EMDR has made no difference! What are my options to get this behind me?

  184. Susaan fraser says:

    Best approaches for working with pre school children who have been exposed to trauma.. how can kindergarten teacher best help these children?

  185. dr david wolgroch says:

    As a clinician who works with PTSD I found your theories about brain dysfunction reasonable. However, how do you explained delayed PTSD such as Holocaust Survivors or some war veterans?

    • Sandra Cohen says:

      Many Holocaust Survivors did not have time to think about what happened. In the camps/ living as a German/leaving Poland or Germany they had to keep working, moving, surviving. They had to build a new life after the war. There was no time to stop and process and deal with what was going on. Same with war veterans. It was necessary to act to survive at all costs. Many people relive their traumatic experiences when they retire, or when someone in the family becomes sick and goes to hospital. There is often fear of abandonment and second generations may be heavily involved in the hospital care (causing hospital staff to lable them as “difficult’ Instead of protective or caring). I have had extensive experience working with Holocaust Survivors.
      Interestingly, often the thrid generation is able to help when doing a “Roots Project” at school. They ask the grandparent about the past and in this context it is a positive way to share while seeing the fruits of their struggle and hard work in their grandchildren. So it is a kind of reframing through interaction with their grandchilodren.

  186. Kris Scialampo says:

    Thank You! My problems lay at the foot of the cross, but at very odd times, things come an old man’s hands make me nauseous ( sexual abuse by my grandfather),or when someone raises their voice, my fight or flight comes up, even if they’re not speaking to me, or when I am trapped for a moment, beads of sweat former on my body and I feel like I’m going to pass out (locked in closet for long periods of time as a child)

  187. Ingrid says:

    How soon after a traumatic event would you start to treat trauma? There was a national disaster in my home town a month ago – a devastating fire wiped out many homes and holiday areas. Every single person in the town of 70000people was affected in some way. How does one help? (I am a Psychologist).

  188. Bitek says:

    Thank you for this insightful knowledge about the brain and trauma and its treatment. I worked in a society where there had been repeated traumatic events years back. This left many hopeless and worthless. They never went through any psychological rehabilitation and have lost their ways into reality. Many grew up with these PTSD and are living unproductive lives.
    What can still be done to help them? These events have left a scar in their brain. Is it still possible to help them through trauma treatment?

  189. V. Renting says:

    Can C-PTSD cure, or is it a long life adventure?

    • I was told that you’re never really cured, but you develop tools and skills to minimize and/or avoid triggers and form healthy ways to function.

  190. Maria Lourdes L. Ramos says:

    It is a clear informative and easy to understand lecturette that I hope to share in classes and the clinic. The speakers were very good communicators in the important insights being shared. God bless you more in your valuable work.

  191. Hello! How do I help my brother who is 60 years old ? He has been suffering since he was in his early 20’s after both my parents died. We thought they’d live until old age, of course but they died early. My brother didn’t treat them very well. He was in drugs then, not heavy but enough. He has regretted everything he did to them & missed them so much. He never had the time to apologize to them. I love him very much & it’s been breaking my heart ever since. 7 children & he was 5th oldest. What can I do to help him?

  192. How to get someone to realize he’s been traumatized?

  193. Sally says:

    Does person centred counselling help ptsd

  194. Anita Tjabbes says:

    Read Gupta

  195. Anita Tjabbes says:

    Read Gupta!

  196. Kevin says:

    How do we help in trauma recovery? Knowing what’s wrong is one thing, being able to help someone stuck in trauma is quite different. My adopted daughter struggles everyday with being misunderstood and everyday we see teachers, “friends”, coaches etc keep her stuck in the way they respond to her sometimes unexplainable behaviour. How does a 12 year old get help? Most therapists don’t even get this!

  197. Sabine C says:

    How to control anxiety …leaving the house ..facing new situations …social anxiety …travelling and unknown tasks and situations …that it manifests in feelings of life force depletion and panic …life as overload …
    Also the effect of GABA in the brain ..does that influence anxiety attacks it just a simple chemical reaction !?
    I am trying to find a solution how not to have such strong impact on the body …

  198. MARGARET says:

    I found this video extremely interesting, particularly since I have experienced severe trauma throughout my life because of three misdiagnoses of schizophrenia, clinical depression and chronic anxiety. It was very difficult to cope, especially since I didn’t realise I had been misdiagnosed and felt the only way not to be further institutionalised was not to get help from professionals for fear of having to return to hospital. The most recent traumatic experience was that the antipsychotic medication that I shouldn’t even have been on in the first place, but was kept on for 56 years suddenly went off the market and I had to come off it cold turkey, and both my mind and body rebelled. I should be so grateful for any suggestions as to what treatment might help. I have always had a great zest for life, despite the problems, but this caused me to strive to survive. I am now writing a book to try to help others through my own experiences, and all the research I have done in recent years. It will be called HOPE RESTORED: A GUIDE TO EMBRACING THE STORMS OF DEVELOPMENTAL PTSD. I am so grateful to you all for clarifying many things for me. I’ve found that if a diagnosis doesn’t align with how you think, feel and act, it leads to further confusion. I knew that anxiety and depression were consequences of something much deeper, but in the end I had to do the research, self-diagnose and I gave my doctor Bessel von Kolk’s book, The body keeps the score, and he totally agrees that this explains so much which was before unexplainable. Thank you so much for bringing some clarity to my life.

    • jodi says:

      I’m so sorry that you had to endure the pain you have. 4 little words have helped me greatly in dealing with the past. These four words are : “Is it happening now?” If it is the past, it is not happening now, and if you’re projecting into the future, it is not happening now. So 90% of what we think about or fret and lament about is NOT happening NOW so we can let the thought diminish completely and rest. The other tool I’ve used is listening to Brene Brown TedX talks and books on being who you were meant to be. Powerful, whole, and more than enough. When we take our focus off the issue, it deflates the power of that issue. The last piece is to connect with others who are moving forward, NOT groups or people looking back, where the pain is the focus.
      If we are to thrive despite pain, we are to live with intention that the present and future is in our power to create. I also have a realistic and personal view of God and Him as my loving, protective father who thinks the world of me and has only good plans for me. It’s a wonderful way to live. blessings to you for permanent healing.

  199. Carolyn Johnson says:

    I have a 12 yo daughter from China that has had trauma and resulting PTSD. I’d like to have access to training to help her and my clients I work with. I’m a hypnotherapist practicing in Apple Valley MN.
    Thank you very much!

  200. Suzy says:

    Does the cycle of trauma ever end? Or must we continually manage our symptoms throughout life?

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