The impact of relational trauma on development is enormous . The structure of the brain is developing during the first years of life, and any traumatic event affects all areas of its formation.
On the other hand, there is no greater trauma in childhood than experiencing abandonment . The social brain of the newborn, the baby and the child will look for known signals that can provide calm to feel safe, to ensure a basic security that allows them to stay relaxed to be able to attend the world without the perception of a constant threat. If this does not happen, the nervous system experiences chronic levels of overactivation or hypoactivation that are maintained even after having an adequate system of care and attachment.
- Related article: ” Neurofeedback: what it is and how this therapeutic tool is used“
Neuromodulation in cases of trauma
In the preface to the book Neurofeedback in the treatment of developmental trauma: Calming the brain driven by fear of Sebern F. Fisher, Bessel A. Van der Kolk tells us how he met S. Fisher in 2007 at a conference on attachment and how in that encounter he faced a new paradigm, a new way of understanding the mind, the brain and the body. He tells us how he interviewed patients treated with Neurofeedback in the center of S. Fisher, and to what extent his statements surprised him. One of them collects and summarizes the evolutions described by these patients:
“Yes, I gradually became an attached person. When you are not afraid or confused, you can meet people in a different way. ”
Vitaliza professionals have been intervening with neurofeedback since 1999 and we have the enthusiasm of Bessel A. Van der Kolk, one of the greatest trauma specialists, when assessing neurofeedbck. This leads us to subscribe his words: “Probably the biggest challenge in mental health is how we can help patients with serious problems of affective regulation, such as those I interviewed in Sebern’s office.
This is usually the result of severe abuse and neglect during childhood – also known as developmental trauma – in which the lack of synchronicity in the first 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 improve its natural complexity and its inherent and necessary bias towards self-regulation.”
In Vitaliza Health Psychology , neurofeedback is part of our therapeutic intervention, to help and facilitate the regulation of the central nervous system.
Trauma therapy for early abandonment
Two years ago we began an investigation with children who have suffered early abandonment ; We had been intervening with the adopted child population and their families for years, and we set out to investigate what we have seen so far at the clinical level.
One in four children adopted internationally between the ages of 8 and 12 in Spain presents problems of school adaptation, while more than a quarter of fathers and mothers report externalized and internalized problems, in addition to scarce adaptive skills, which require attention specialized. When they reach adolescence, internationally adopted children are referred to mental health services more frequently than those not adopted.
In our Vitaliza psychology cabinet, we frequently find families with internationally adopted children who come in search of psychological support , especially in ages before adolescence. The evaluation and treatment of these cases requires an approach that takes into account both the difficulties of school adaptation and deficits in cognitive functions, such as behavioral problems and the abilities and abilities of children and their families to cope with them.
The empirical evidence available on the efficacy of trauma-focused treatments in children and adolescents is reduced and usually focuses on treating traumatic symptoms, while other psychological symptoms tend to be relegated to the background that very frequently derive from trauma exposure. and cause more disability.
Therefore, in Vitaliza we wanted to demonstrate empirically that training in neurofeedback can serve as an emotional stabilizer , combined with other therapies such as reprocessing therapy by eye movements or EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), improving emotional regulation and providing experiences of achievement and emotional connection.
Conference on Trauma and Neuromodulation
The experienced professional in Neurofeedback Sebern Fisher, with whom we will have the opportunity to learn in Trauma and Neuromodulation Days , expresses in her book Neurofeedback in the treatment of developmental trauma , that thanks to brain training, we can alleviate the consequences of abandonment in early childhood
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 Biofeedbck and Neurofeedback Society, SEBINE. In these days we will present our research, which aimed to evaluate the emotional, cognitive and behavioral changes associated with the combined treatment of neurofeedback and EMDR in children aged 8 to 11 internationally adopted .
These Days are an opportunity to know how the Neurofeedback works and what it can contribute in the trauma of Development. The Conference will count, as we have already said, with the presence of the renowned trauma expert S. Fisher. In that space we will have the opportunity to share the results obtained after applying the combined treatment of neurofeedback and EMDR.
These results support the hypotheses raised , finding statistically significant results reported by both children and families, in all areas evaluated. As relevant data, it should be noted that the area in which more 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. The children reported an improvement in family relationships and self-esteem, both statistically significant.
This shows a greater adaptation to the different contexts, in which both parents and children see important signs of improvement that seem to confirm each other . All this leads us to confirm that the combined intervention of training in neurofeedback and EMDR improves emotional regulation in children with abandonment trauma, as well as other cognitive areas. 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.”