Starting with a review of recent studies on the neurobiology of trauma, Dr. van der Kolk will examine the utility of approaches from the fields of hypnosis, body oriented therapies and EMDR, both with research data and videotaped clinical interventions. The integration of these approaches during different stages of treatment will be discussed.
The majority of people who seek psychiatric care have histories of trauma, chaos or neglect. Advances in the neurosciences, attachment research and in information processing show how brain function is shaped by experience, and that life itself can continually transform perception and biology. Overwhelming experiences alter the capacity for selfregulation and memory processing due to changes in sub-cortical, i.e., “unconscious” levels of the brain.
Effective treatment of post-traumatic problems needs to include addressing the imprint of trauma on the physical experience of the self as helpless and in danger. Recovery needs to incorporate dealing with defensive efforts that helped ensure survival, incorporate physical experiences that contradict feelings and sensations associated with helplessness and disconnection, as well as an effective way of integrating fragmented memories of trauma. Experiencing physical mastery (as in yoga and specific body based techniques) often is necessary to initiate new ways of perceiving reality and promote new behavior patterns.