Special Edition! Treating Trauma and PTSD

Treating Eating Disorders with Co-Occurring Complex Trauma or PTSD

In this video interview, Executive Director Diane Ryan and Trauma Therapist Ann Twilley describe how and why Mirasol developed its specialization in the treatment of eating disorders with co-occurring complex trauma and PTSD.

"Years ago most eating disorder treatment centers — Mirasol included — did not include trauma as part of their treatment programs. In fact, people were turned away if they reported significant trauma before we admitted them," says Ryan.

"So it became evident that that was not going to work, we were not going to be able to take care of people if we weren't willing to address the traumatic issues in their lives because it was too closely tied in with the eating disorder."

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Trauma Resiliency Model: A Portal to Healing

by Katie Klein, Primary Therapist

So often as clinicians we attend trainings which are solely focused on learning ways to help our clients. We leave armed with a plethora of new skills, but what about us, the helpers?

I have just returned from three days of training in The Trauma Resiliency Model (TRM), developed and adapted by Elaine Miller-Karas, LCSW. TRM is a useful set of skills not only for clients, but also for those who help them. TRM teaches skills to help adults and children cope with traumatic stress reactions.

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Neurofeedback in the Diagnosis and Treatment of PTSD

by Andréa Copeland, EEG Technician

QEEG guided neurofeedback gives us the ability to diagnose and treat serious disorders such as PTSD through concrete evidence of neural activity.

Neurofeedback can be used to display a continuous stream of information from the client's brain. This information is shared with the clients, so they can train themselves to achieve a more desirable state of being. Knowing they can learn to relax at will provides a tremendous sense of empowerment.

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The Physiology of Trauma

by Dr. Dawn Bantel, Medical Director

Our brains store both unconscious and conscious memories. The conscious ones are the ones that we can access at will. Our unconscious memories — the ones that we aren't aware of — have a strong link to the emotional center of our brains. If a traumatic memory is stored here and the memory is triggered, the brain can process the experience as if the person was still in the traumatic situation.

A flight-or-fight state is an inherent form of self-preservation in a threatening situation. For those suffering from PTSD, this sympathetic nervous system response goes into overdrive and can result in long-lasting physiological symptoms. Trauma in childhood can result in brain damage and affect gene expression.

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The Role of Wilderness in Trauma Treatment

by Diane Ryan, Executive Director

Wilderness therapy is proving to be a powerful intervention in the treatment of complex trauma. Several of the unique features of adventure therapy address the dis-regulation that occurs in the individual's neurological process from varying degrees of attachment rupture. Wilderness can directly impact resiliency by providing clients with the opportunity to access a sense of safety in a novel way.

Adventure therapy often inspires a high degree of perceived risk or threat, similar to the heightened awareness that accompanies complex trauma. Moving through the experience with peers, solving problems, receiving feedback and practicing neural self-regulation allow participants to develop confidence and a set of skills that translate directly into real-world recovery.

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