When the Body is a Dangerous Place: A Map of Trauma & the Use of Mindfulness in Clinical Practice
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Neurological research demonstrates that while trauma undermines prefrontal cortical functioning, mindfulness strengthens it. A discussion on the nature of trauma is provided which includes neurobiology, attachment theory, and the sociopolitical meaning of trauma. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex trauma (CT) are defined, and the differences between them are explained in the context of current research and best practices in trauma informed treatment. The physical experience of trauma, the role of memory, and implications for a person’s window of tolerance are described. A review of current research on mindfulness, and its efficacy in work with trauma survivors is developed. Aspects of trauma treatment which are beyond the scope of mindfulness are discussed, and suggestions for future research are expanded.