Neurofeedback for PTSD and Trauma
Train your brain to change your perceptions and automatic reactions
In the context of brain function, trauma can be defined as any event or experience that changes your perception of yourself and your place in the world. It may occur as the result of one single event, or it could build up gradually due to a threatening or neglectful environment.
The imprint of trauma exists in our society in epidemic proportions; from war and its victims, to victims of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. As everyone with trauma knows, when brain activity is altered by traumatic events it can be a heavy burden to carry. What may have served us as a necessary self-preservation response in the past seldom serves us in the present.
Trauma is broadly classed in two categories. Trauma can often manifest as a combination of the two, as the nervous system shifts between one and the other:
- The most commonly recognized is hyper-vigilance or readiness to fight or flee;
- The less widely known is freeze and dissociation.
Hyper-Vigilance and Trauma
A heightened state of awareness is part of the fight / flight response, resulting in a state of chronic hyper vigilance. This state is akin to being locked into permanent ‘battle stations’; brain resources are on constant alert, causing inappropriate or even aggressive reactions in everyday situations.
Freeze & Dissociation
When a threat is utterly overwhelming and too much for the fight / flight system to cope with, the brain goes into a ‘Freeze’ state; a numbing or collapse response. This sort of trauma is experienced as a general shutdown, lack of vitality, emotional separation and detachment.
Neurofeedback and Trauma
Neurofeedback for trauma works at a deep subconscious level, breaking the cycle of trauma and post-traumatic symptoms. By identifying and training the areas of concern, we precision tailor your sessions to help you shift out of these patterns and back into a natural, calm state. Neurofeedback training gives the brain the tools to shift your perception and automatic reactions, and move past traumatic events – without having to talk about them, explore them, or relive them.
Neurofeedback for PTSD
Recent models of the mechanism of PTSD implicated a hyper responsive limbic system. Neurofeedback helps to regulate this limbic system function and is a preferred method to address PTSD symptoms because it does not require the client to be again exposed to emotionally difficult traumatic material. Neurofeedback for PTSD goes straight to the brain circuits and modifies them, bringing the resolution of the unwanted symptom and behaviors. Research has shown that Neurofeedback can significantly reduce PTSD occurrences and provides a reduction in affect dysregulation.
(Our thanks to Brainworks Neurotherapy in London for some of the copy presented on this page.)