Trauma is at the root cause of many of the mental health problems we face today.
Research from The University of Liverpool has found that traumatic life events are the single biggest cause of anxiety and depression.
And with one in three adults in the UK reporting experiencing a traumatic event at least once in their lifetime, it’s a lot more widespread than we commonly think.
Until recently, our understanding of psychological trauma was limited.
We thought it was something we could ‘get over’, and eventually move on from.
But new developments in the fields of neuroscience, developmental psychopathology, and interpersonal neurobiology have revealed that trauma causes actual physiological changes in the brain and body. It alters the brain’s alarm system and increases stress hormone activity, causing physical and emotional problems long after the event has taken place.
The good news is – advances in our knowledge about the basic processes that underlie trauma, have led to the development of innovative treatments that can help us heal, and move on with our lives.
In this series of talks, we’ll explore three of these approaches, including:
You’ll learn how these unique insights can benefit your own life, but also your ability to help others too.
In this talk, we will cover the psychology and some mechanisms that underly the effectiveness of trauma-sensitive yoga as a therapy for complex trauma. In recent years that has been a shift towards incorporating body-based therapies for treatment of a range of mental health issues including complex trauma. With regards to complex trauma, this is important because of the limitations of cognitive-based therapies. Specifically, the drop-out rates for psychotherapies can range between 60-90%, and more than half of the participants that do complete treatment still reach the criteria for PTSD.
Trauma-sensitive yoga is a body-based treatment for complex trauma that offers an alternative. This therapy is designed to foster interoceptive awareness (i.e., felt body-sense). The methods include specific language and a trauma-informed approach whereby the facilitator is educated in how trauma can affect felt body sense and how this can interact with the therapeutic process. In this talk, we will introduce some of the methods of trauma-sensitive yoga and discuss some of the neurobiology and psychological theories that are thought to underpin the effectiveness of this treatment. We will discuss the importance of a present moment interoceptive experience and the role it plays in the therapeutic process.
Kathie Overeem Ph.D (psychology) is a trauma-sensitive yoga facilitator with a background in psychology and neuroscience. Kathie has over 13 years of academic research experience. During that time, she published research and lectured on topics including emotional memory, personality psychology, biological psychology, behavioural and systems neuroscience, cognition, and molecular biology. Teaching yoga since 2016, Kathie has over 700 hr of yoga teacher training and started working with clients using trauma-sensitive yoga in 2018. She is a certified Trauma Sensitive Yoga Facilitator, trained and supervised by the Center for Trauma and Embodiment at the Justice Research Institute (MA, USA). Currently, Kathie works with clients that have experienced stress, anxiety, complex trauma, c-PTSD, PTSD, and eating disorders. She also works with organisations and government programs that support adults and youth experiencing complex mental illness, complex trauma, and alcohol and other drug rehabilitation.
This talk will begin with a brief overview of schema therapy’s history, theory and key techniques. It will explain why painful schemas and well-meaning but unhelpful internal parts – called modes – develop, as well as the key role of temperament, core developmental needs and the difficulties people experience when those needs are not met by early caregivers. The talk will then unpack what we mean by complex trauma – and why it is helpful to think about trauma on a spectrum, rather than the narrow diagnostic definition that is commonly used.
Drawing on schema therapy’s 30-year history and deep evidence base, the talk will then explain why this model offers a warm, compassionate and highly effective approach to heal even the most severe and enduring trauma. It will also highlight the importance of creating a sense of safety for trauma survivors, the primacy of the therapeutic relationship in schema therapy and the phase-based approach to treatment, as well as the importance of regulating the nervous system before any trauma-focused work begins.
Dan Roberts is an Advanced Accredited Schema Therapist, Trainer & Supervisor specialising in helping clients with complex trauma. He also provides supervision and training for mental-health professionals. In addition to schema therapy, Dan draws from a wide range of models including cognitive behaviour therapy, compassion-focused therapy, internal family systems therapy and trauma-informed stabilization treatment, enriched by his long standing personal and professional interest in mindfulness and Buddhist psychology.
Dan writes extensively about schema therapy, psychology and all aspects of mental health and wellbeing. He is also a contributor to Creative Methods in Schema Therapy: Advances and Innovation in Clinical Practice. And he is Founder of Heal Your Trauma, a project he developed to help people struggling with the impact of childhood trauma. The project involves guided meditations, webinars, workshops and self-help books, as well as the Heal Your Trauma Blog, which you can read at danroberts.com.
For patients with trans-generational trauma histories that include oppression, war, slavery, genocide, and immigration to a new culture, it is important to develop treatment plans to address trans-generational wounding and adaptations.
How does the clinician know when to focus on trans-generational trauma?
This presentation will help clinicians locate transmissions by:
1) attending to the affective quality ad content of the patient’s narrative;
2) understanding symptoms of trans-generational trauma;
3) learning how to do generational genograms: and
4) investigating the presence and nature of their tribal narratives.
Once the clinician suspects that symptoms are related to trans-generational trauma, a series of interventions are presented to expand history taking, locate generational themes and resources, and process along the lines of the generational trauma/themes. The processing leads to a coherent, regulated generational/tribal narrative from which the patient can move forward and interrupt the transmission of trauma to the next generation.
Dr. Karen Alter-Reid is a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with adults struggling with post-traumatic stress injuries. She trains mental health clinicians in EMDR Therapy, a modality of treatment for PTSD. She is Faculty, Senior Consultant, and Trainer at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies’ Integrative Trauma Program in New York City.
She has published articles and book chapters on her work with first responders, therapists, and on clinical treatment of trans-generational trauma. Dr. Alter-Reid is also the Clinical Coordinator of the Fairfield County Trauma Response Team in Fairfield, Connecticut.
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