Moderator: Annellen Simpkins, PhD
This workshop explores how trauma affects people’s rhythms within themselves and with their surroundings. Trauma changes the way the brain processes information and how the human organism engages with the world. Because of biological systems that are altered in a use-dependent manner traumatized people continue to react in myriad ways to current experience as a replay of the past. We will explore the neurobiology of self regulation and examine ways of befriending one’s body, both of which are essential for the integration of traumatic memories: sensations, action patterns and physical sensations derived from the past. Most experience is automatically processed on subcortical, i.e. unconscious levels in the brain; therefore, insight and understanding have only a limited influence on people’s control over these processes. We will explore our clinical experiences and research with EMDR, yoga, theater work, and neurofeedback, and present the efficacy these various techniques to help people overcome a traumatic past and regain the capacity to be fully alive in the present.
Bessel A. van der Kolk M.D. has been active as a clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of posttraumatic stress and related phenomena since the 1970s. His work integrates developmental, biological, psychodynamic and interpersonal aspects of the impact of trauma and its treatment. His book Psychological Trauma was the first integrative text on the subject, painting the far ranging impact of trauma on the entire person and the range of therapeutic issues which need to be addressed for recovery.
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