This chapter describes maneuvers to access the internal system of the patient as well as means to accelerate or decelerate the work in that process of accessing the self-system. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), ego state therapy, and somatic therapy fit together like hand and glove. An extended preparation phase is often necessary before trauma processing in complex traumatic stress presentations and attachment-related syndromes, particularly when dealing with the sequelae of chronic early trauma. Clinical practice suggests that the adjunctive use of body therapy and ego state interventions can be useful, during stabilization and later on in increasing the treatment response to EMDR. Traditional treatment of complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and dissociative disorders has usually included hypnoanalytic interventions, during which abreaction is considered an important part of treatment.
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This chapter focuses on the modulatory role of the neuropetides in attachment as well as autonomic regulation, discussing sympathetic and parasympathetic arousal, particularly dorsal vagal and ventral vagal regulation as suggested by polyvagal theory. The probable role of the endogenous opioid system in the modulation of oxytocin and vasopressin release is discussed with a view toward the elicitation of both relational and active defensive responses are reviewed. Porges’ Polyvagal Theory delineates two parasympathetic medullary systems, the ventral and dorsal vagal. Brain circuits involved in the maintenance of affiliative behavior are precisely those most richly endowed with opioid receptors. Avoidant attachment is commonly associated with parental figures that have been rejecting or unavailable and refers to a pattern of attachment where the child avoids contact with the parent. The similarity of severe posttraumatic presentations to autism suggests that the research with regard to social affiliation in autism spectrum.
This chapter focuses on identifying and working with dissociative symptoms and dissociative disorders in a therapeutic context, providing a road map to assist with the pacing and planning of clinical interventions. Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep can be conceptualized as a household strength processor that can accommodate the usual processing requirements of daily life. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been historically defined as requiring a trauma that is outside the range of normal human experience. Hypoarousal and parasympathetic activation that are an intrinsic part of dissociative symptoms are much more difficult to assess. The original painful memories live on in flashbacks and nightmares as well as in reenactments of the unconscious dynamics captured from the family of origin’s enactments of perpetration, victimization, rescuing, and neglect. Excessive sympathetic nervous system activation is easily construed to be an indicator of psychopathology.
This chapter reviews the disturbances in self-referential processing and social cognition in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to early-life trauma. It talks about the neural underpinnings of self-referential processing and examines how they may relate the integrity of the default mode network (DMN). The chapter describes the deficits in social cognition, with a particular focus on theory of mind in PTSD and the neural circuitry underlying direct versus avert eye contact. It then addresses the implications for assessment and treatment. Johnson demonstrated that self-referential processing is associated with the activation of cortical midline structures and therefore overlaps with key areas of the DMN in healthy individuals. Healthy individuals exhibited faster responses to the self-relevance of personal characteristics than to the accuracy of general facts. Less activation of the medial prefrontal cortex (PFC) was observed for the contrast of self-relevance of personal characteristics relative to general facts as compared to controls.
This book was conceived out of the authors' shared vision to synthesize key neurobiological developments with effective developments in clinical practice to offer both understanding and practical guidance for the many practitioners working to heal people burdened with traumatic sequelae. It is unique in bringing in all levels of the brain from the brainstem, through the thalamus and basal ganglia, to the limbic structures, including the older forms of cortex, to the neocortex. The book looks at the neurochemistry of peritraumatic dissociation (PD) and explores the effects on neuroplasticity and the eventual structural dissociation. Individual chapters focus on the definition of PD and tonic immobility (TI) and their associations with posttraumatic psychopathology, and review disturbances in self-referential processing and social cognition in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to early-life trauma. Separate chapters focus on the modulatory role of the neuropetides in attachment as well as autonomic regulation, and highlight mesolimbic dopamine (ML-DA) system as central to the experiences of affiliation, attachment urge when under threat, attachment urge during experience of safety, and to the distress of isolation and/or submission. The book while increasing awareness of different parts of the self and ultimately creating a more stable sense of self, also incorporates psychoanalytic, cognitive behavioral, and hypnotic methods, as well as specific ego state, somatic/sensorimotor therapies, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and variations of EMDR suitable for working with trauma in the attachment period. The latter methods are explicitly information-processing methods that address affective and somatic modes of processing.
This chapter focuses on educational purposes for the promotion of research. It helps the practitioners to study the available evidence and use professional discretion in their prescribing decisions, being fully aware of known potential risks as well as benefits. The literature describes the use of opioid antagonists in a number of different disorders, some of them traumatic stress and attachment-related disorders, as well as dissociative disorders. Self-injurious behavior is common in the more severe traumatic stress syndromes. It also happens to be one of the diagnostic criteria of borderline personality disorder (BPD), a diagnosis that has been associated with childhood abuse and attachment conflicts. Pathological gambling is thought to provide rewards through endogenous opioid effects on the mesolimbic dopamine system. Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that is thought to result from the type of autonomic system dysfunction to which traumatic stress disposes.
This chapter highlights mesolimbic dopamine (ML-DA) system as central to the experiences of affiliation, attachment urge when under threat, attachment urge during experience of safety, and to the distress of isolation and/or submission. As the midbrain defense centers hold the capacity for stress-induced analgesia (SIA), the tendency to dissociation, which is established with disorganized attachment in very early life, is considered to be secondary to modifications of their sensitivity. Trauma survivors have a default setting that keeps them in threat mode, whether triggered easily by memories of physical danger or separation distress. In a secure attachment relationship, the child can learn the rewards of interaction without threat. The frozen indecision is replaced by a disconnection from the experience of the moment, which relieves the distress. Environmental stress alters the nursing behavior of the mother rat so that she ceases to do so much licking/grooming.
Trauma-Informed Approaches to Eating Disorders is clearly a much needed and long overdue book about treatment, written by a diverse group of clinicians and carefully edited to focus on the needs and strengths of clinicians. The complexities and challenges that undergird, surround, and even haunt the nature, diagnosis, treatment, management, and understanding of eating disorders (EDs)-in-relation-to-trauma are so great, even for veteran clinicians, that they can leave practitioners at any level of experience feeling helpless and exhausted. This book, in a way that would be appreciated by practitioners of acceptance and commitment therapy, accepts the reality of those feelings and is committed to improving treatment, understanding, and compassion. The book is designed to foster respect for complexity and link it to humility in the presence of tragedy, tribulations, and suffering, framed all too often by our own shortcomings as healers. EDs are dangerous, ubiquitous, usually chronic in nature, and difficult to treat. Anorexia nervosa (AN) has the highest fatality rate (4%) of any mental illness. Bulimia nervosa reveals a fatality rate of 3.9%. EDs offer an enormous challenge to therapists because of their complexity, which includes severe medical risk, co-occurring anxiety, depression and personality disorders, an addiction component, and body image distortion—all of this within a mediadriven culture of thinness in which starving and purging can for some become lifestyle choices. This complexity is further exacerbated by the presence of painful life experiences or trauma. The book elucidates the connection between trauma and EDs by offering a trauma-informed phase model, as well as chapters describing the ways in which various therapeutic models address each of those phases. It offers an in-depth exposition of a fourphase model of trauma treatment.
- Go to chapter: Boats and Sharks: A Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Approach to the Treatment of Eating Disorders and Trauma
Boats and Sharks: A Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Approach to the Treatment of Eating Disorders and Trauma
This chapter presents a case study of a sensorimotor psychotherapy (SP) approach to eating disorder (ED) treatment. In contrast to traditional psychotherapeutic approaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), that lean heavily on the impact of thoughts on emotional experiences and somatic patterns, also known as top-down processing, SP also uses bottom-up processing, the effect that one’s somatic organization has on affect and affect regulation, cognitive functioning and specific beliefs about self and other. The very core of SP is four foundational principles that cultivate therapeutic presence and guide both content and quality of interventions: organicity, nonviolence, unity, body/mind/spirit holism. SP understands human experience through the lens of five core organizers: thoughts, emotions, and three somatic organizers. SP explores actions as a cycle with four stages: clarity, effectiveness, satisfaction, and relaxation.
This chapter conceptualizes the preparation phase in three parts for teaching and learning purposes. The preparation phase of the four-phase model is not a one-and-done event. It is visited and revisited often during the therapeutic journey. The first part of preparation is stabilization, sometimes referred to as case management. It is the sine qua non for the remaining parts. The goal here is to make sure that the client is externally safe, as well as internally stable. A second part of the preparation phase is developing skills and resources. Among these are skills that involve changing internal states (self-soothing) and containment of disturbing affect. The third aspect of the preparation phase focuses on short-term successes in which the client gains mastery and confidence in dealing with changeable life circumstances, something of a personal trainer approach.