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How to Activate a Trauma Survivor’s Shut-Down Brain

Janina Fisher Explains the Comforting Effect of Mirroring Techniques

As far as we know, there’s no secret combination of words or exercises that universally repair the traumatized brain. And we can’t erase trauma with a snap of the fingers. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a general sense of how to calm people, says Janina Fisher, author of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy.

Since trauma survivors are often fearful of trusting or connecting with others, Janina says, it helps to reduce their anxiety by engaging their emotional right brain. This can be done, she says, by employing a type of Rogerian echoing not unlike that seen between mothers and infants who regulate emotion based on another’s tone and body movements.

In this brief video clip, Janina explains how to use this technique. Therapists can subtly mirror body language, adopt a calm vocal tone, or express sympathy when someone recalls a tough moment. This shows them they’re being attended to and cared for. For trauma survivors, this also stimulates the cognitive development arrested during a childhood trauma.

In our Networker Webcast series The Trauma Treatment Revolution, you’ll learn mirroring techniques and more elements of body awareness that can help you reach closed-off, traumatized clients, as well as ways to get them to be more calm, communicative, and cooperative with you in therapy.

Are you ready to master the latest trauma treatment approaches? Gain a deep understanding of trauma and learn the methods you need to address them in this all-new 6-session Webcast series—The Trauma Treatment Revolution.

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