It’s not All in the Mind. New insights into Post Traumatic Stress

Rita McInnes, psychologist and developer of i-brainmap responds to All in the Mind program on ABC Radio National 27th April 2014, titled Too Much Reality.

Post traumatic stress is not all in the mind, it’s in the body too. So says Professor Sandy McFarlane in an interview with Lynne Malcolm. Well worth checking out.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/5415206

Professor Sandy McFarlane, the director of Traumatic and Stress Studies at the University of Adelaide, a clear voice amid the confusing chaos of information on Post Traumatic Stress explains that traumatic events impact the body as well as the mind.

“Exposure to stressors has a profound capacity to reorganize people’s fundamental biology,” says Professor McFarlane. He states that, “People with post-traumatic stress disorder have a significantly greater risk of cardiovascular disease, increased cholesterol, hyperlipidaemia, autoimmune disease and metabolic syndrome.”

Professor McFarlane explains that it is only recently that researchers and clinicians have begun to understand that traumatic experiences can live beneath the surface for years and erupt decades later as multidimensional physical and psychological symptoms.

Often the connection to past events isn’t made and people reporting symptoms can feel misunderstood or dismissed by practitioners especially when the symptoms are vague and chronic such as chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.

On the other hand some practitioners who work in the field of trauma insist that the person must retell their story, the technical term for this is desensitization. Professor McFarlane explains that the research in desensitization as a technique for working with Post Traumatic Stress is not as effective as it initially appears according to a meta analysis from Benish.

In other words retelling the traumatic events isn’t the answer, as many people know who have tried all kinds of psychotherapeutic approaches only to find themselves back where they started or sometimes worse.

As Professor McFarlane explains Post Traumatic Stress is a unique and complex psychological and physical experience that impacts the brain, mind and body. It is wrong to suggest that existing techniques, for anxiety or phobia for instance, can be simply adapted as effective strategies for treating Post Traumatic Stress. They cannot.

Professor McFarlane suggests we need to develop treatments specifically for Post Traumatic Stress.

i-brainmap is just such an approach or model. i-brainmap was developed over ten years by psychologist Rita McInnes in a clinical setting working with hundreds of clients with symptoms consistent with Post Traumatic Stress.

Rita’s book i-brainmap, freeing your brain for happiness, explains the unique and yet common experiences reported by those who have experienced traumatic and overwhelming events. The book explains how these events can impact on the brain-body-mind and how a person can approach them in a way that encourages brain integration instead of constantly re-experiencing the symptoms and associated distress.

In her work Rita developed a sequence of mindfulness-based strategies to support the brain to move through lower brain activation or re-experiencing towards integration.

You can find out more about i-brainmap by visiting www.ibrainmap.com.au

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