Trauma and neuromodulation

The impact of relationship trauma on development is enormous. The structure of the brain develops during the first years of life, and any traumatic event affects all areas of its formation.

On another side, there is no greater trauma in childhood than the experience of abandonment. The social brain of newborn, baby and child will look for known signs that can bring calm to feel secure, to provide basic security that allows them to stay relaxed to take care of the world without perception. of constant threat. If this does not happen, the nervous system experiences chronic levels of overactivation or hypoactivation that persist even after having an adequate system of care and affection.

    Neuromodulation in trauma cases

    Fr the prologue to the book on neurofeedback in the treatment of developmental trauma: Calming the fear-driven brain by Sebern F. Fisher, Bessel A. Van der Kolk tells how he met S. Fisher in 2007 at a conference on affection and how he faced in this meeting a new paradigm, a new way of understanding mind, brain and body. He tells us how he interviewed patients treated with Neurofeedback at the S. Fisher Center and how surprised he was with his statements. One of them collects and summarizes the developments that have described these patients:

    “Yeah, I slowly became a hold on person. When you’re not scared or confused, you can meet people in a different way.

    Vitalitza professionals have been working with neurofeedback since 1999 and we have the enthusiasm of Bessel A. Van der Kolk, one of the foremost trauma specialists, when it comes to assessing neurofeedbck. This leads us to agree with his words: “Probably the biggest mental health challenge is how we can help patients with severe emotional regulation problems, like those I interviewed in Sebern’s office.

    This is often the result of severe childhood abuse and neglect – also known as developmental trauma – in which a lack of synchronicity in early relationships with the caregiver leads to abnormal rhythms of the brain, mind and body. “” In neurofeedback, we seem to encourage the brain to establish new oscillatory patterns that enhance its natural complexity and its inherent and necessary bias towards self-regulation. “

    In Vitalize Health Psychology, neurofeedback is part of our therapeutic intervention, to help and facilitate the regulation of the central nervous system.

    Early abandonment trauma therapy

    Two years ago, we opened a survey of children who suffered premature abandonment; we had been working with adopted children and their families for years, and we set about investigating what we had observed clinically so far.

    One in four children adopted internationally between 8 and 12 years old in Spain has difficulty adapting to school, while more than a quarter of parents report externalized and internalized problems, as well as low capacities adaptation, which require specialized care. By the time they reach adolescence, foreign adopted minors are more often referred to mental health services than non-adopted ones.

    In our psychology practice Vitalize, we frequently meet families with children adopted abroad who seek psychological support, Especially in the pre-teen ages. The assessment and treatment of these cases requires an approach that takes into account both difficulties in school adjustment and deficits in cognitive functions, as well as behavioral problems and the skills and capacities of children and their families to deal.

    The empirical evidence available on the effectiveness of trauma-focused treatments in children and youth is limited and tends to focus on the treatment of traumatic symptoms, while tending to overshadow other psychological symptoms that are very frequently derived from exposure to trauma and cause more disability.

    Therefore, in Vitalize, we wanted to empirically prove that neurofeedback training can serve as an emotional stabilizer, In combination with other therapies such as Eye Movement Reprocessing Therapy or EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), improving emotional regulation and providing experiences of success and emotional connection.

    Conference on trauma and neuromodulation

    The experienced Neurofeedback professional Sebern Fisher, with whom we will have the opportunity to learn how to Conference on trauma and neuromodulation, In his book Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma, expresses that through brain training we can mitigate the consequences of early childhood abandonment.

    This study will be presented at the first conference on trauma and neuromodulation, which will take place in Madrid from April 16 to 19 organized by the Spanish Society of Biofeedbck and Neurofeedback, SEBINE. In these days, we will present our research, which aimed to assess the emotional, cognitive and behavioral changes associated with combined neurofeedback and EMDR treatment in internationally adopted children aged 8 to 11.

    These lectures are an opportunity to learn how Neurofeedback works and what it can contribute to developmental trauma. The Conference will have, as we have said, the presence of the famous trauma specialist S. Fisher. In this space, we will have the opportunity to share the results obtained after the application of the combined treatment of neurofeedback and EMDR.

    These results support the hypotheses raised, Find statistically significant results reported by children and families, in all areas assessed. Relevantly, it should be noted that the area in which the most evidence of improvement from various sources of information is concentrated is that of cognitive functioning. Parents observed statistically significant reductions in attention problems, somatic complaints, hyperactivity-impulsivity, anger, and isolation. Children reported improved family relationships and self-esteem, both of which were statistically significant.

    This shows a greater adaptation to different contexts, in which parents and children see important signs of improvement that seem to be confirmed. All of this leads us to confirm that the combined intervention of neurofeedback and EMDR training improves emotional regulation in children with abandonment trauma, in addition to other cognitive domains. Quoting again the prestigious therapist Sebern Fisher “Just as emotional regulation is the first task of good parenting, it is also the first task of effective therapy.”

    Authors: Anabel de la Cruz, neuropsychologist. Cristina Cortés psychologist specializing in traumatology.

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