Interconnectivity Between Body And Mind

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For several complex historical, philosophical and scientific reasons, Western Culture has often tried to unravel the mystery of human being within the dualistic conception of body and mind, by privileging the higher rational processes - such as language and cognition - over somatic experiences. In psychotherapy, this manifest preference influences the understanding and treatment of trauma. Since trauma is an “event inside a person’s head” (Henry, 2006, p. 383), traditional interventions target mainly cognitive processes, while the body and its advices are set aside. However, in the ‘biopsychosocial trap’ of PTSD, we can refute to see the intimate interconnectivity between body and mind. Beside psychological states, it is in the body that a …show more content…
In his study on abused women, Sansone (2001) reported that sexual childhood abuse is a influential factor to somatic preoccupation in the chest and throat areas. In his additional explanation, Sansone emphasized that somatic symptoms are thus seen as “visceral flashbacks”, with the same sensations “that were initially felt at the time of the trauma and are recurrent and reminiscent of the trauma” (Sansone, 2010, p. 152).
While he was trying to understand the impact of war on survivors during and afterward the violence in Sierra Leone from 1991-2002, Henry (2006) reported that many people seemed to be suffering from heart problems. The heart could beat heavily, burn, cramp or hurt. Interestingly, people described its onset in the same kind of language that they used to describe war. It seemed that the somatic symptom “could attack" the body much as a rebel force could attack a village (Henry, 2006, p. 388). Thus “what is heard and seen outside becomes internally manifest as a body
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“This implies that intense emotions may inhibit the proper evaluation and categorization of experience. In mature animals, one-time intense stimulation of the amygdala will produce lasting changes in neuronal excitability and enduring behavioural changes in the direction of either flight or flight” (Van der Kolk, 1996, p. 232).
In other words, the biological underpinnings of the traumatic stress response assault memory structures of the hippocampus and thus prevent the development of coherent autobiographical memories of the traumatic event.
In fact, Van der Kolk (1996) noted that during exposure to the scripts of their traumatic experiences, victims demonstrated heightened activity only in the right hemisphere – in the paralimbic belt, parts of the limbic system connected with the amygdala. This reflects the “tendency in PTSD to experience emotions as physical states rather than as verbally encoded experiences” (p.

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