Presented by Penijean Gracefire: Sensory grounding techniques and neurofeedback each contain unique value as stand-alone therapeutic interventions (Marinova, 2018). This presentation will discuss the benefit of combining these approaches in a thoughtful and methodical manner, and present clinical data supporting the hypothesis that an integrated approach contains particular value to individuals dealing with complex trauma.
The intent of this session is to present a framework in which to conceptualize the role played by the feedback loop between sensory inputs and cortical activation patterns in regulating central nervous system arousal in individuals with early developmental trauma or chronic, repetitive traumatic experiences over an extended period of time (Bremner, 2006). Research indicates that adolescents and adults who experience early complex trauma can exhibit difficulty in areas such as memory, hyperarousal, intrusive thoughts, disassociation and executive function (De Bellis, 2014).
Emerging research in fMRI neurofeedback has indicated there is potential value in identifying cortical regions which share mutually modulating circuitry with subcortical structures, and selecting those cortical areas as targets for EEG-based feedback. For example, the circuit between the pre-frontal cortex and the amygdala has been documented as critical for self-soothing and anxiety management, and improving regulation in the pre-frontal cortex appears to positively affect the ability of the amygdala to regulate emotional responses more effectively (Nicholson, 2016).
Exploring the literature around the neurobiological impacts of early life and complex trauma indicates that the research into psychotherapeutic interventions is burdened with some limitations, and that randomised controlled studies which adhere to dominant psychotherapeutic models, and do not take current neuroscience into consideration, are â€œinadequate for evaluating treatments of conditions with complex presentations and frequently multiple comorbiditiesâ€ (Corrigan, 2018)
The utility of qEEG in complex trauma assessment and treatment planning will be evaluated, and the differences between surface and sLORETA z-score training will be discussed in context of their applicability to supporting the resolution of complex trauma, including models for ascertaining how to select or design training protocols by correlating cortical regions of interest with various grounding techniques (Bremner, 2008).