The definition of trauma is an overwhelming stress response in the nervous system. When this happens to children and youth during especially formative critical periods of development, it can impair the natural progression of psychological growth and part(s) of us can effectively become stuck reliving and reexperiencing the traumatic event indefinitely in fight, flight, freeze, submit/dissociate, and/or attach mode(s). As such, newer neurobiologically informed models of trauma treatment, such as the Structural Dissociation and Internal Family Systems models, suggest that it is helpful to identify and support those distinct traumatized parts of ourselves in order to promote healing and integration. This approach is largely informed by Dr. Janina Fisher’s work and emphasizes addressing the continued effects of trauma in one’s present life in a gentle and scientific manner. It involves helping clients understand the psychobiological underpinnings of their trauma symptoms and the adaptive nature of their survival defences, which promotes a compassionate, non-judgmental perspective. This approach also integrates the latest research on attachment and fosters the development of earned secure attachment and healthier relationships.

While this is our evidence-based approach to treating developmental trauma, personality disorders (e.g. BPD, APD), and dissociative disorders (e.g. DID), it also has relevant applications to many other presenting concerns ranging from anxiety (e.g. OCD), depression, self-sabotaging behaviours, or eating disorders to ADHD and can be truly transformative. 

Not what you were looking for? Check out our approach to more generalized trauma and PTSD here.

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