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Startts - NSW Service for the treatment and rehabilitation of torture and trauma survivors  

From the Editor's Desk

After being exposed to the trauma of war, children often display physiological and psychological stress responses. These responses – be it aggressive outbursts, flashbacks, dissociation – suggest that the young person’s mind and body have not yet recognised that the experiences leading to the trauma are over. In other words, their nervous systems automatically respond by continuously mobilising muscles and other body systems for defense.

In this issue, we explore this very issue. Why is it that survivors of trauma tend to become overly attentive to reminders of past danger, while losing connection to cues that appraise the present environment? Why is it important that we work on helping to reduce, contain and stop traumatic hyperarousal? And, most importantly, how is this best achieved with young people - especially in the school setting?

I trust you will find the following articles helpful and look forward to your feedback - hintsforhealing@startts.org.au

Until the next one,

Max Schneider signature

Starting next edition, Hints for Healing welcomes readers’ questions on issues related to supporting refugee young people. Email your request for advice to max.schneider@sswahs.nsw.gov.au with the header ‘Hints for Healing Question’.

Please ensure you include your name and contact details in the signature block (these will not be published). Hints for Healing will feature a selected question along with a suggested response in future editions. Watch this space!

Deb's digest
Deb Gould
> Deb Gould is a STARTTS Clinical Psychologist and
clinical supervisor.

We are primed to survive (obviously and thank goodness) through a process of development that is both instinctual and contextual. The attachment of infant to caregiver provides the context. Through its impact on the construction of neural pathways that act in a coherent pattern in response to internal and external demands, attachment partly determines our capacity to manage threats to our survival. Learn more >>

> Dr Louis Cozolino

According to the current literature, our brains are highly vulnerable to dysregulation and dissociation. Why is this so?
The human brain has evolved into complex government of highly complex systems responsible for behaviors, emotions, sensations, and conscious awareness. Keeping these systems coordinated and integrated is an ongoing challenge which becomes impaired in the face of trauma. Freud said that shock and extreme trauma surpasses our stimulus barrier which I take to mean our ability to use cortical processes to sort, organize, and integrate the various neural networks responsible for optimal integration.
Learn more >>

Suicide Prevention In Schools

> Dr Bruce Perry is a child psychiatrist who has treated children faced with unimaginable horror.

Life is dynamic. From birth, even prior to birth, we are bathed in a continuous stream of experience. Through this flow of time, our complex physiology maintains a balancing act, ever changing to maintain some stability, equilibrium, and homeostasis.
Learn more >>

Suicide Risk Assessments

> Jane Wallace, Refugee Student Support Officer, Multicultural Programs Unit, NSW Department of Education and Training,
One of the most common questions posed by teachers working with refugee students is how to respond to students who disclose stories about their refugee experiences. Do they encourage, discourage or “kindly” suggest that those were past experiences and that they are now in a safe place and should therefore not have to think about those negative experiences again. Learn more >>
Suicide Risk Assessments

> Rosemary Signorelli is a counselor and music therapist at STARTTS.

PART I: Safety, Stress Management, Containment and Self-regulation

Because music and movement are represented, in various ways, in all areas of the brain, music and movement activities can assist children who have experienced abuse or trauma... Learn more >>

Interview with Dr Louis Cozolino

Homeostasis, Stress, Trauma And Adaptation

News from DET

The Music of Healing

Regular Features

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From the Editor's Desk

Deb's Digest

Sticky Notes

Max Schneider
> Max is a Child & Adolescent Counsellor at STARTTS and the service's School Liaison Officer.

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The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social Brain. Presented by Dr Louis Cozolino. Two day seminar, 26th and 27th May, 2011.

Clinical Master Class Evening Traumatic Grief: Issues and Treatment. Presented by Julie Dunsmore. Wednesday 11th May, 2011.

Professional Development Workshops
Jungle Tracks: A Therapeutic Storytelling Program For Children and Adolescents
. Friday 20th May, 2011.

Hint of the month

Hyperarousal experiences include phenomena such as an exaggerated startle response to any stimuli that may or may not be related to the incident - including movement or sounds. Insomnia, irritability and anger can be present, and are partly a result of post-incident central nervous system overstimulation and the aftermath of adrenaline surges. Hyperarousal also can cause cognitive deficits such as problems with concentration / attention, short term memory, decision -making, multitasking, and thinking speed.
Source: The Traumatic Stress Recovery Program Visit website


Disclaimer The information contained in Hints for Healing is provided as an information source only. The views expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the position or views of STARTTS.  The material is provided on the basis that readers are responsible for making their own assessments of the issues discussed, and always work under clinical supervision.

© 2011 STARTTS  Contact: hintsforhealing@startts.org.au
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