Implications of Neuroplasticity on Trauma Recovery

by TK Staff

The brain is arguably the most fascinating and impressive organ in the human body. Medical and scientific professionals alike are only beginning to mine its vast complexities. Of particular interest to those involved in the field of trauma recovery is the area of neuroplasticity. This refers to how the brain is wired and its extraordinary capacity to rewire neuro pathways.

Here is how it works: as a young person, probably around the age of 15 or 16, you learned to drive a car; this took a great deal of intentional thought and effort. Remember how you gripped the steering wheel and carefully executed every action? Now, you hop into the driver’s seat without giving it a second thought. This is because your brain laid down a neuro pathway for the completion of this task; from start to finish, a set of synapses occur to complete the action.

In trauma, a similar pathway is set down; it can even be additionally engrained due to shock or intensity. Therefore, when a single trigger or set of triggers occur, the emotions associated with the trauma are revisited.

But, due to neuroplasticity, this does not always have to be the case. New pathways can be created through changes in behavior, environment and neuro processes. Not only is the brain capable of creating new pathways, it is designed to do so. The brain is highly resilient and desires flexibility. The brain functions at its best when it is limber and rich with options. The incredible thing is that the human brain has a very real desire to heal itself.

Creating new pathways necessitates a great deal of awareness, mindfulness and acknowledgment of the present. Yet, in time, these new pathways will eclipse the old, thus allowing trauma survivors to move forward and live a healthy, abundant life.

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