Trauma and Brain Changes
This quote comes directly from Francine Shapiro’s EMDR therapy book.
I often hear questions about why trauma gets stuck in the brain the way that it does, why it is not processed like every other memory.
According to EMDR therapy and the Adaptive Information Processing model, we believe that the brain has a natural drive towards health. When a trauma occurs, it leads to changes in the brain’s natural state of being, its neural homeostasis.
That is why we believe that the brain does not process a trauma in the usual way, because the system is disrupted by these changes in hormones, neurotransmitters, etc.
And this is why psychological trauma is so individual, because it is the personal meaning, we make of what is happening that can start this flood of cortisol and adrenaline. What one person finds threatening interpersonally may be no big deal to another person. But for the one who sees it as threatening there is this cascade of chemical changes in the brain, and if it pushes the person too far outside of their natural state, then the trauma will not be processed as normal. And it is this dysfunctional way it is stored that leads to the symptoms we see in PTSD and CPTSD.