Frequently, when I listen to On Being, with Krista Tippett, I learn something new and feel more hopeful. Her program can be accessed on NPR on Sunday mornings or on NPR.org at any time. On July 14th, Krista spoke with Bessel van der Kolk, MD. Dr. van der Kolk is a pioneer in the treatment of traumatic stress. Here is link to the interview.
The Trauma Center’s website, of which he is the Medical Director, Dr. van der Kolk’s bio mentions that his current research is on how trauma affects memory processes and brain imaging studies of PTSD.
Trauma is a word that is used more frequently in recent years. A person who is traumatized, may be someone who has witnessed individuals jumping out of the Twin Towers or someone who has been assaulted. It could be a child who has been bullied by classmates. The act of the trauma is not always indicative of the way in which a person deals with the event.
The following is from the transcript of the July 14th show with Dr. van der Kolk; “I think trauma really does confront you with the best and the worst. You see the horrendous things that people do to each other, but you also see resiliency, the power of love, the power of caring, the power of commitment to oneself, to the knowledge that there are things that are larger than our individual survival. Some of the most spiritual people I know are exactly traumatized people, because they have seen the dark side. In some ways, I don’t think you can appreciate the glory of life unless you also know the dark side of life.”
Along with yoga, EMDR, sleep and good nutrition, neurofeedback is a powerfully gentle resource that can help to restore a sense of safety. Dr. van der Kolk’s Trauma Center, in describing neurofeedback for help in overcoming trauma explains,
“Communication between cells and cell groups in the brain generates thoughts, sensations, feelings and actions. The interactive pathways in the brain depend on electrical circuits with different frequencies and amplitudes. While psychiatry has concentrated on the chemicals of emotion, it has largely ignored the circuits of thought and perception. For over twenty years it has been known that one can change perception and attention by altering the electrical rhythms inside the brain. This can be done by providing it with feedback to increase certain frequencies and decrease others. As the brain is rewarded for making specific brainwaves, it can gradually learn to re-regulate its own functioning. The mechanism of action is similar to other forms of learning: the more the brain is rewarded while being trained in a desirable frequency, the more it will function in that frequency after training.”
To learn more about the neurofeedback system that I use and how it can help you deal with trauma, click on the highlighted link. For any questions about how neurofeedback can help, feel free to contact me.