The study of trauma has probably been the single most fertile area in helping to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship among the emotional, cognitive, social and biological forces that shape human development. Starting with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults and expanding into early attachment and overwhelming attachment and social experiences in childhood (“Developmental Trauma”), this endeavor has elucidated how certain experiences can “set” psychological expectations, bodily experiences and biological selectivity.
When addressing the problems of traumatized people who, in a myriad of ways, continue to react to current experience as a replay of the past, there is a need for therapeutic methods that do not depend exclusively on drugs, talk or understanding. We have learned that most experience is automatically processed on a subcortical level of the brain; i.e., by “unconscious” interpretations that take place outside of conscious awareness. Insight and good intentions have only a limited influence on the operation of these subcortical processes, but synchrony, movement and reparative experiences do. This conference will present both basic research about the impact of trauma over the life cycle, and a range of effective interventions that are being practiced in communities, clinics, schools, prisons, and families around the world.