By Elizabeth Wynkoop Program Coordinator (SAFE/SART)
Any professional working with survivors must understand how trauma affects survivors’ memory, behavior, and thought processes. Equipping our clinical practitioners, law enforcement personnel, advocates, and other professional colleagues with knowledge about the neurobiology of trauma is essential. Many best practices in survivor-centered care are informed by the neurobiology of trauma—and understanding that protocols are developed based on how trauma affects survivors’ brains can help with implementation and maintenance of these best practices. It can be challenging to make sense of neuroscience terms and definitions, and even more challenging to try to communicate the effects of trauma efficiently and clearly. These free resources are designed to help break down some common misconceptions, especially with regards to trauma and memory.
Video Resource: Trauma and the Brain This video, developed by the Scottish branch of the National Health Service in Scotland, demystifies the neurological processes at work in the brains of trauma survivors. In less than nine minutes, viewers will learn about the effects of trauma and some techniques that can help survivors better recall the events and details surrounding a sexual assault. Sharing this video with a colleague is a quick and easy way to spread valuable insight about working with survivors of sexual trauma. Trauma and the Brain: Understanding abuse survivors responses from NHS Lanarkshire on Vimeo.
MCASA Neurobiology Fact Sheets MCASA has created updated fact sheets about the effects of sexual violence on the brain, including the neurobiology of trauma and of PTSD. These new-and-improved resources provide information at a glance in an easy to distribute form. We would like to thank Dr. Jim Hopper for his input into the current, updated edition of these fact sheets. Neurobiology: The Science of PTSD Neurobiology: During Trauma