Trauma tends to have a profound impact on one’s sense of self, leaving a lasting imprint on both cognitive and somatic domains of self-experience. Traumatized individuals often remain tortured by thoughts that reflect intensely negative core beliefs about themselves such as: “I don’t know myself anymore”, and “I have permanently changed for the worse”. It also is increasingly evident that ‘the body keeps the score’: traumatized individuals frequently report somatically-based alterations in self experience, including feelings of disembodiment and related identity disturbance. Pioneering neurobiological studies are beginning to shed light on self-disturbance in traumatized individuals both during resting state and under conditions of threat. The brain networks involved in self-experience are most intact while under threat, which may explain various forms of reckless behaviors. We will present findings from the laboratory and demonstrate how we can we work clinically to restore the self as an integrated brain, mind, and body.
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