This presentation will focus on a comprehensive treatment approach of neurofeedback and body psychotherapy (NFB) with individuals who experienced primarily transgenerational trauma of 3rd and 4th generation of Holocaust survivors by review case-studies and explore the framework of NFB.
What is Body-Psychotherapy (BP)?
BP is a field in psychology and psychotherapy that evolved over the last 100 years. Progress in neuroscience, medicine, psychology and trauma work created waves of insight which are now further underpinning the empirical understanding of BP, as an integrated approach that brings mind, emotion, body and spirit into deeper connection and re-awakening individual wellbeing. Biodynamic BP (BBP), a modality of BP is a humanistic approach that supports the processes of natural movement toward health (salutogenesis) by using body awareness, emotional expression, verbal understanding and attuned touch. It involves a dynamic assessment process that can provide a framework to integrate Neurofeedback (NF) into the psychotherapeutic process.
Transgenerational trauma in descendants of Holocaust survivors:
The Holocaust and its aftermath still have a fundamental impact on the mind, body and soul of many descendants of Holocaust survivors. More than half a century ago the most unthinkable and unimaginable horror has happened, and the descendants generations of Holocaust survivors are left to deal with one of the most devastating, brutal and dehumanizing experiences in human history. We are confronted by a complex traumatic phenomenon that has multiple facets, including national, political, sociological and relational, as well as psychological and biological effects which became part of descendants’ lives and of the embodied psyche. The shadow of the Holocaust impacts the development of self-identities, the deep sense of selves and the capacity to express affective states. Normal sensations like pain and pleasure as well as emotions such as anger, playfulness, grief and love were suppressed and led to the creation of a relational crypt that contains traumatic experiences.
Implementation of NFB in the treatment process
During Biodynamic Body-Psychotherapy sessions we explore past traumatic responses at different developmental levels, as well as the treatment implications of these findings. Traumatic memories are often dissociated and may be inaccessible to verbal recall or processing. Therefore, one of BBP working hypotheses is the essential need for emotional and physiological self-regulation at a subcortical level outside of awareness.
This key hypothesis enables integration of NF with BBP enhancing the psychotherapeutic process. For example, in a Biodynamic Body-Psychotherapy session, I may support integration of sensory input with motoric output to enable effective movement in perceived life-threatening situations or finding an internal framework which enables self- regulation of hyperarousal state on a bodily level. In both situations when the individual can be in hyperarousal and/or hypoarousal states I found it useful to integrate NF training into the BBP session, i.e. NFB.
Take away message
BP interventions led by DA could easily integrated into NF sessions
The use of NFB can provide multiple benefits, including, enhancing self-organisation and self-regulation. NFB can enhance the capacity for interoceptive awareness
NFB can facilitate process in individuals who suffer transgenerational trauma
Presented by: Elya Steinberg