Neuroscience-Based Trauma Treatment:
How This Works…
If you feel like your life is spinning out of control, you aren’t alone! So many of us yearn for the ability to enjoy our lives and relationships, but feel stuck in a never-ending cycle of stress, upheaval, and crisis. It feels as though it’s always something – maybe you get involved with the wrong partner (again), or your job presents unreasonable demands, your family expects the world from you, there is never enough time in the day, you just can’t relax, and it seems like you’re never enough. And the harder you work at feeling happy, the more miserable you become. Typical, right?
It doesn’t have to be. For so many people, but especially for survivors of trauma, life has felt anxiety-provoking and overwhelming for so long that it feels normal. But, the results of traumatic experiences, or chronic life stress, are not something you just have to endure.
So what can we do? How does trauma treatment work? Maybe you’ve been to therapy before, but after a while you hit a wall. You’ve talked about time management, processed some of your feelings, and tried to change the unhelpful thoughts spinning in your head, but you’re still not where you want to be.
It’s not just you. Here’s why you’re not better:
Traditional therapies, alone, can fall short in treating trauma and psychological injury.
Traditional talk therapy and cognitive therapies (including some cognitive behavioral therapies) primarily teach what I call top-down methods. Top-down methods, which utilize the “thinking areas” of the brain (including the prefrontal cortex), use thoughts to change the brain. These techniques are fantastic, and for many people necessary. However, if you suffer from posttrauma symptoms, overwhelming stress, or other residual trauma symptoms, the top-down methods that traditional therapies use will often not be sufficient.
Effective treatment often requires MORE than what traditional therapies can offer.
In addition to top-down approaches, effective therapy for trauma needs to incorporate bottom-up and horizontal approaches. In bottom-up techniques, we work to change the brain through working with the body and the autonomic nervous system. This approach alone can substantially reduce trauma symptoms!
Additionally, exposure-based work can be life-altering for many clients. Exposure-based therapies, such as EMDR, can help you feel less impacted by traumatic memories. However, while incredibly effective for many people, classic exposure therapies include thinking about, talking about, or writing about your traumatic experiences. Most trauma survivors cringe (or worse!!) at the thought of revisiting these events in their mind, and the fear and dread associated with exposure-based work can be a major road block in treatment. Even licensed mental health professionals sometimes express fear about utilizing exposure techniques, as they may produce feelings of retraumatization when practiced incorrectly.
But there is good news. Exposure-based work doesn’t have to be overwhelming or retraumatizing. When combined with the horizontal techniques (such as bilateral movement) and other “desensitization acceleration tools” (DATs) taught in Neural Desensitization and Integration Training, EMDR, and Multichannel Eye Movement Integration, exposure therapy can feel manageable, therapeutic, and even empowering.
To summarize, comprehensive trauma treatment that facilitates brain change using bottom-up, top-down and horizontal techniques is often the safest, fastest way to recover from trauma and PTSD.
Start a new journey to recovery…
If you are ready to try a new, more comprehensive treatment approach, call Dr. Sweeton’s office at (913) 648-2512, ext. 1 or request an appointment HERE. Kristin, Dr. Sweeton’s assistant, will return your call or email, and is happy to answer any questions you might have. Prior to submitting your request, please review Dr. Sweeton’s psychotherapy fee schedule and insurance FAQs.
More About Dr. Sweeton’s Approach (using some jargon)
Dr. Sweeton specializes in neuroscience-informed psychotherapy for trauma and PTSD. She is the developer of Neural Desensitization and Integration Training (NDIT), an evidence-informed, brain-based psychotherapy for the treatment of trauma and psychological injury. NDIT was developed from decades of neuroimaging research exploring the neuroscience of trauma, mental health, and psychotherapy. Dr. Sweeton’s therapy approach integrates cutting edge techniques (from NDIT and other modalities) with traditional, evidence-based practice. Here are the main modalities Dr. Sweeton utilizes in her work:
Cutting edge, evidence-informed approaches to trauma treatment:
- Neural Desensitization and Integration Training (NDIT)
- Neuromodulation (neuroacoustic stimulation)
- Somatic Experiencing
Traditional, evidence-based approaches to trauma treatment:
- Prolonged Exposure
- Cognitive Processing Therapy
- Cognitive Therapy (including CBT and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)
- Psychodynamic psychotherapy
Psychotherapy sessions can be conducted either in-person, or via video teleconferencing. Clients opting for in-person services will meet me at Dr. Sweeton’s group practice, Kansas City Mental Health Associates, at 513 N. Mur-Len Road, Olathe, KS 66062.
Video teleconferencing sessions are conducted using a HIPAA-compliant telemedicine platform. This option is open to individuals living in some US states and many countries.
New clients can complete all forms/paperwork prior to the first session via Dr. Sweeton’s patient portal. The invitation to this portal will be sent as soon as the first appointment date/time is set.
Current clients who would like Dr. Sweeton to collaborate or speak with other professionals involved in their care may complete a Release of Information form, downloadable HERE.