Calming the Fear-Driven Brain: On the integration of neurofeedback and psychotherapy in the treatment of developmental trauma
Sebern F. Fisher, M.A., author of Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma: Calming the Fear-Driven Brain. Norton 2014
The Coronavirus has left many of us feeling isolated, alone, and fearful. For those with histories of developmental trauma, the present global existential uncertainty can evoke states of terror, known to them first as young children. Trauma terror presents a threat to wholeness, integration, self-regulation, and to a sense of self even without the additional threat of the pandemic.
It is time to think differently about how we treat those who have suffered abuse and neglect as children. Treatment as usual is failing them. Over the last two decades in the United States, suicide rates have risen by almost 30% with similar disastrous trends globally. Developmental trauma survivors will be highly over-represented in these statistics. The first step in considering a new approach to treatment is to consider the impact of abuse and neglect on the developing brain. Emerging neuroscience research finds that neglect and abuse, physical, sexual, and/or emotional, impact every major structure and network of the developing brain.
Part One of this webinar will present this research and explore the implications it has for our understanding of affect regulation. Affect regulation is the primary goal of all therapies and close to impossible for those with these histories. Fear and reactivity are the core issues so we will look at how fear circuits fire and kindle in the traumatized brain. And we will focus on the impact on the Default Mode Network (DMN), the network in the human brain that makes a sense of Self and Other possible.
- The participant will be able to describe neuroscience research documenting the impact of neglect and trauma on the developing brain
- The participant will be able to discuss the impact of developmental trauma on the Default Mode Network
Fear and reactivity create havoc for the patient, their treatment, and their life. Neurofeedback can address this reactivity at its source. The absence of a reliable DMN means that there is no reliable sense of self and of others. Clearly this has major implications for psychotherapy. When fear and reactivity are quieted, the DMN begins to come online.
Part two of this webinar will demonstrate how neurofeedback works and introduce the arousal/regulation model of neurofeedback. Abandonment, neglect, and abuse often at the hands of primary caretakers hijack the arousal systems of these brains, leaving them at the mercy of overactivated fear circuitry. Neurofeedback can help these brains regain their inherent capacity for self-regulation and organization if it becomes a part of the therapeutic process. For a Self to form there must be an Other. Neurofeedback does not replace psychotherapy. It would be a mistake to think so. But for people with these histories, it can make meaningful psychotherapy and a self-regulated life possible.
- The participant will be able to discuss how neurofeedback can enhance affect regulation
- The participant will be able to describe how to affect regulation can give rise to a sense of Self and Other
Sebern F. Fisher, MA,
is a psychotherapist and neurofeedback practitioner in private practice who specializes in the aftermath of neglect and abuse in early childhood. She focuses on training the traumatized brain to learn its own regulation which can learn at any age. She trains professionals nationally and internationally on neurofeedback and on the need to integrate neurofeedback with psychotherapy. Her book, Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma: Calming the Fear-Driven Brain, has helped her readers understand how the traumatized brain can give rise to explosive feelings, irrational thinking, and destructive behavior. When the brain learns its own regulation, its owner can engage meaningfully in psychotherapy and in life. The book is now also available as an audiobook on Audible. Visit www.SebernFisher.com to learn more and join the conversation with Sebern at Facebook.com/SebernFisherAuthor — Sebern Fisher on LinkedIn, and @SebernF on Twitter.