Lorraine Gray

Mind Body Focus

History of Trauma

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that develops when a person feels a threat to their life. The danger may be physical, emotional, cognitive, or a terrifying event experienced by the person or witnessing it (American Psychiatric Association, 2024).

Early Childhood Trauma

Early childhood traumas can continue to affect adolescence and adulthood. Any trauma alters the brain's interconnections and how the information is stored. Antecedents (previous events) or a present stimulus activates intrusive thoughts. Fear-based trauma may cause physical sensations, emotions, depression, severe anxiety, and feelings that result in perceptual distortions. Consequently, the person is in constant alert and activated by perceived threats. The symptomatology continues to endure through the life span of an individual until modulated by psychological treatment to heal the trauma-related conditions.

PTSD Symptoms

PTSD symptoms include sleep problems, physical pain, intrusive thoughts, insomnia, flashbacks, nightmares, and anger. Anger is an arousal response to an individual's need to protect or ward off danger. Individuals who experience trauma may feel threatened quickly and have no sense of safety. Loud or unexpected sounds may lead to powerlessness, activating the sympathetic system to want to run, fight, or go into a shutdown mode

Treatment - Getting Help

There are various treatments available, such as Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Eye-Movement-Desensitizing Reprocessing (EMDR) and Deep-Brain-Reprocessing (DBR). These modalities are evidence-based practices, proven scientifically to be efficacious in modulating emotional arousal and decreasing activation of neurological and physiological internal alarms. The focus of treatment is evidenced-based trauma therapy designed to help the brain restore and find new neural pathways for traumatic memories..

CBT - History

Clinicians such as Skinner, Pavlov, and Watson developed behavioral treatments in the early 1900s. The focus of therapy is on thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. CBT emphasizes helping the individual build awareness of their automatic thoughts that affect their core beliefs (such as attitudes, engrained beliefs, and self-perceptions) that result in negative thinking and disruptive behavior.

EMDR – History

Francine Shapiro developed EMDR in 1980. She was walking in the park and noticed she was having some disturbing thoughts. The more Dr. Shapiro paid attention to the unsettling thoughts, the more her eyes moved in an upward diagonal sweep. The more she processed her thoughts, the quicker they went away. Dr. Shapiro decided to try it on her colleagues to test her hypothesis. Each participant held a disturbing image and negative thoughts in their mind as they followed Dr. Shapiro's fingers with their eyes. When she asked them to return to traumatic memory, the emotional charge was gone. It sounds like a very simplistic treatment, but EMDR is an effective and efficacious treatment that works with a wide range of populations, from war trauma, terrorist victims, refugees, persons with phobias, panic disorder, anxiety disorder, crime victims, police officers, people who experienced grief, violent assaults, sexual assaults, accidents, surgeries, chemical dependency, depression, and many more symptoms and traumas (Shapiro, F., 2018)

DBR - History

Frank Corrigan developed the first study in DBR in 2021. The results of this study were published August 15th, 2023. The finding of this study called A randomized controlled trial of Deep Brain Reorienting: A neuro-scientifically guided treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10431732/ ). According to Dr. Corrigan, it focuses on accessing the origin of the initial trauma stored in the brainstem. It is a crucial part of the brain related to attachment disruption caused in early infancy as an attachment wound. It functions like a control tower, bringing the tension and initiating movement of the superior colliculus responsible for directing eye movements and turning the head. It prepares the head to hold the tension from the muscles of the face and neck. In this place, the orienting tension is located and maintained throughout the treatment. The orienting tension is a result of placing one's attention on the traumatic memory as the body processes information experienced as shocks, slight movements, or turning of the head, allowing the body to slow down the process as it sequences through various somatic experiences and events in a deep, slow and grounding process (https://deepbrainreorienting.com/).

DBR is an incredible, complex, compelling, and efficacious therapy. The process is fantastic and gentle. It allows the person to return to an event without an emotional disturbance as it processes quickly and gently through the body.