Trauma's Impact on the Brain and Body

Robert Scaer, M.D. provides an in depth description the origins of trauma and its impact on the brain and body.  [Important points in this Presentation:  How the Brain Works in Trauma? 3:35 min; History of trauma 3:45 min; World War I -- Trauma, Dissociation, and PTSD 9:17 min; The Roots of Trauma 10:57 min; The "Freeze Response" to Trauma 11:30 min; Hypnosis similar to freeze response 13:41 min; The importance of "discharging" the freeze response 14:38 min; Humans and some other animals cannot discharge the freeze response 17:58 min; Trauma as faulty memory 18:45 min; Unprocessed Trauma leads to a conditioned response to EVERY cue (internal or external) associated with original danger even though the threat is no longer present 20:52 min; Brain systems that must be changed in order to heal trauma 23:25 min; The cingulate gyrus is associated with maternal/infant bonding, therefore bonding is critical in the therapeutic relationship and in the efficacy of healing trauma 26:56 min; The conditioned trauma responses become self-perpetuating unless fully processed and healed 27:38 min; Resiliency vs. Vulnerability to trauma occurs in childhood 20:13 min; Impaired attachment and developmental trauma lead to a LIFETIME of autonomic and emotional dysregulation 30:39 min.    [ ]

Janet Seahorn, Ph.D. discusses the origins and of trauma, its impact on the brain, and the development of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  [Important points in this presentation:  0:45 min; 3:48 min; 4:52 min; 6:17 min; 6:50 min; 8:06 min; 11:14 min; 12:06 min; TED TALKS - TEDxCSU]

Emma McAdam of "Therapy in a Nutshell" offers a great explanation of the body's response to trauma or trauma triggers from the perspective of the "Polyvagal Theory."  Three states of the nervous system according to Polyvagal Theory: 1) Safety [parasympathetic response]; 2) Activation - Flight, Fight, Freeze response [sympathetic response]; and, 3) Overwhelm/Shut Down response ["primitive" parasympathetic response]  = 0:31 min; A healthy nervous system is: 1) Adaptive & Accurate; 2)  Has a broad range of emotions; 3) If stressed - you can take action and then return to a calm state; and, your nervous system can be trained and modified. = 1:07 min;  So, how can you modify your nervous system? Via a "bottom up" approach to nervous system regulation -- calm your body to calm your mind = 2:37 min; Description of an anxious nervous system -- that is Sympathetically Dominant [Flight/Fight/Freeze response is "stuck on"]  = 3:15 min; This N.S. state can be the result of trauma, chronic stress,  simply a habit of worrying to much, or just not knowing how to self-regulate = 5:10 min; But, you can re-wire your brain by consciously choosing to practice various interventions that engage the parasympathetic response in your body = 5:40 min; Discussion of nervous system hypo-arousal -- when your body goes into a shut down and conserve mode.  Occurs if overwhelmed by a threat or experienced chronic stress.  If you become "stuck" in this mode it is a trauma response where you N.S. gets "stuck off" = 6:28 min; = 7:56.

Emma McAdam of "Therapy in a Nutshell" offers a very detailed discussion concerning the importance of helping clients learn how to regulate their nervous system and emotions prior to entering into the formal processing of their traumas.  This is critical because clients who can better "self-regulate" can more effectively process their traumatic experiences, while remaining in a "window of tolerance." 

David Grand, Ph.D., the developer of Brainspotting, explains the origins of trauma, and the importance of brain based treatments for effective trauma processing and resolution. [Important points in this presentation:  What is trauma? 1:25 min; Examples of trauma 2:20 min; Developmental trauma 3:14 min; Complex Trauma 3:46 min; How the Brain works 3:56 min; Impact of trauma on the brain 4:44 min; Where is trauma "held"? 6:24 min; Why talk therapy is not sufficient for treating trauma 6:44 min; Importance of the therapeutic relationship in all therapy 7:04 min; Brianspottinng - brain based therapy 7:46 min; Trauma is treatable by brain based and body based therapies and interventions 9:44 min[ ].