Childhood Trauma And Somatic Psychology

We know that significant and protracted trauma in childhood can adversely affect the body’s physiology leading to constant feelings of hypervigilance in adulthood due to a dysregulated autonomic nervous system and how therapy involving the body can help reverse such effects. Somatic psychology is a type of therapy that focuses on somatic (i.e. bodily) experiences […]

Complex PTSD, Muscle Armouring And Physical Pain.

One of the hallmarks of complex PTSD is a perpetual feeling of being under threat, stemming from constantly feeling afraid and vulnerable during childhood. This is true even though the threatening circumstances of our childhood have long since passed and, as adults, we are, objectively speaking, under no significant threat. These feelings of being under […]

Being Traumatized ‘Like Having Foot On Brake And Gas At Same Time.’

The traumatized state has been likened to the effects of the simultaneous depression of both a car’s gas pedal (accelerator) and brake. I explain why below : Our physiological state of arousal is determined by the interplay between our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and these two systems have the following functions : THE SYMPATHETIC […]

Symptoms Of Trauma And Their Link To ‘Energy Trapped In The Body.’

According to Dr Peter Levine, symptoms of trauma may be explained by ‘energy trapped in the body,’ and, as a direct result of his theory, he has developed a therapy known as SOMATIC EXPERIENCING THERAPY. WHAT IS MEANT BY ‘ENERGY TRAPPED IN THE BODY?’ If we have experienced chronic trauma and have felt frequently under […]

Reducing The Effects Of Trauma With Neurocardiology

Neurocardiology is a recently developed area of academic, scientific research initiated by the researcher J. Andrew Armour M.D., Ph.D. (1991) and is the study of how the nervous system and the cardiovascular system interact physiologically. According to Demorree (2013), those suffering from psychological distress may be helped as more becomes understood about how the brain, […]

‘Top-Down’ And ‘Bottom-Up’ Ways Of Treating Childhood Trauma.

  WHAT ARE ‘TOP-DOWN’ THERAPIES? A ‘top-down’ therapy is one that aims to create a positive change in the individual’s behavioural, emotional and somatic symptoms in a ‘top-down’ direction (i.e. by beneficially ALTERING THE INDIVIDUAL’S THOUGHT PROCESSES). Techniques for doing this include cognitive restructuring and increasing the traumatized individual’s insight into his or her condition, […]

Neurofeedback And Reducing Activity In Brain’s Fear Circuitry.

According to Mobbs, the brain consists of two areas involved in how we experience fear as shown below : It is becoming increasingly recognized that overactivity in the brain’s fear circuitry may be of fundamental relevance to not only complex-PTSD and PTSD, but to many other psychiatric disorders as well and it clearly follows, therefore, […]

How Childhood Trauma Can Cause Hypervigilance And Treatments

A person who is hypervigilant feels constantly ‘on edge’, ‘keyed up’ and fearful. S/he experiences a perpetual sense of dread and of being under threat despite the fact, objectively speaking, there is no present danger. Indeed, the person affected in this way is so intensely alert to, and focused upon, any conceivable imminent danger that […]

Trauma-Sensitive Yoga For Reducing Symptoms Of Complex PTSD

Image source: Adobe Stock: Licence 214324112   Studies into the effectiveness of yoga already suggest that it can help to ameliorate both physical and psychological problems including diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, depression and anxiety. There also now exists evidence (e.g. van der Kolk, 2014, see below)) that it can help to reduce symptoms of Complex posttraumatic […]

Somatic Experiencing Therapy : Healing The Dysfunctional Nervous System

Dr Peter Levine’s somatic experiencing therapy is predicated upon the idea that the disturbing symptoms of PTSD are substantially caused by the adverse effect our traumatic experiences have had on the way our body and nervous system works. In essence, Levine contends that if we are suffering from PTSD it means we have become ‘stuck’ in the […]

Childhood Trauma and ‘Body Memories’.

What Are Body Memories? When we experience severe trauma our bodies respond accordingly. For example, the body’s production of ADRENALIN significantly increases, as does its production of CORTISOL (both of these are STRESS HORMONES). In turn, this leads to bodily responses and sensations which include: – increased heart rate – increased sweating – hyperventilation (rapid […]

Childhood Trauma and Depression – Somatic Symptoms

We know that the experience of significant childhood trauma makes a person more vulnerable to suffering from clinical depression in later life. Whilst depression usually gives rise to both psychological and somatic (i.e. bodily) symptoms, in this article I intend to focus solely on somatic symptoms. One such symptom of depression is a constant feeling […]