We will examine how neuroscience research has elucidated how, in the course of development, children learn to regulate their arousal systems and to focus on what is most relevant. We then will examine how trauma, abuse and neglect derail these processes and affect brain development. Since traumatic imprints are stored in subcortical brain areas and are largely divorced from verbal recall, a central focus needs to be to the somatic experiencing of trauma-related sensations and affects. These deep imprints are the engines for continuing maladaptive behaviors. Fixation on the trauma and learned helplessness require interventions aimed at restoring active mastery and the capacity to attend to the here-andnow. With the aid of videotaped demonstrations and experiential demonstrations of affect regulation techniques, we will examine the role of body oriented therapies—neuro-eedback, yoga, theater, IFS and EMDR—in resolving the traumatic past, and discuss the integration of these approaches during different stages of treatment.
*Sessions may be edited for content and to preserve confidentiality*
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.