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Welcome to CFTRE

The Canadian Foundation for Trauma Research & Education (CFTRE) is a registered Canadian charity created to further the understanding of the fields of neurobiology & psychophysiology, through education and research, as they pertain to the treatment of traumatic conditions. To this end, we are committed to conduct research and to train professionals in effectively treating people who suffer from symptoms of trauma and other forms of dysregulation in the autonomic nervous system.

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Positive Effects of Kangaroo Care for Preemies

An Israeli study by neuroscientist Ruth Feldman and her team, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, shows that premature babies who are cuddled, sleep better, have greater affective attention, steadier breathing, and more regular heart rates. Every mammal...

Did you know?

Opiod system

Dissociation has its roots in the brain’s opiod system which secretes endorphins to blunt strong painful feelings. Opiods are the body’s narcotics and act to numb feelings, along with which people feel a sense of depersonalization and derealization.

Ledoux

The nature of traumatic memory is to be dissociated and to be stored as sensory fragments that have no words.

Joseph Ledoux

Nucleus

The nucleus accumbens serves as an integration center that takes in information from the ventral tegmental area, amygdala, limbic system and olfactory cortex. It is uniquely situated between the limbic system (responsible for emotional experience) and the motor cortex (which directs our actions toward seeking out pleasurable experiences).

Brain scans

Brain scans show that in action and imagination many of the same parts of the brain are activated. That is why visualizing can improve performance.

Amygdala

High level stimulation of the amygdala interferes with hippocampal functioning. This suggests that intense emotion may inhibit the proper evaluation of past experience.

Early exposure

Early exposure to dissociative experiences makes one more susceptible to experience later dissociative states, often potentiated with less activation because the neural circuits have been laid down.

Early trauma

Early trauma and/or attachment disruptions affect our ability to slow down, self soothe, and regulate affect.

Dysregulation

Dysregulation is the inability to self-regulate which shows itself in many disorders including addictions, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety and mood disorders, phobias, psychotic disorders, alexithymia, and personality disorders.

Pain

The brain only allows itself to feel pain a little at a time. The degree to which an infant’s brain is developed will determine it’s capacity for painful, overwhelming experiences in the future.

Flashbacks

Learning to put a traumatic experience into words does not extinguish the occurrence of flashbacks- a notion in many cognitive treatments.

Environment

An environment which first soothes, validates and confirms, then stimulates, challenges and encourages appears to be the basis for an infant’s optimal development to occur.

Self-regulation

Self-regulation is an innate capacity we share with animals to flexibly respond to novelty or threat and return to homeostasis.

Sensitivity

In all systems, including development of the brain, there is an unusual sensitivity to initial conditions.

Kindling Quenching

Kindling and Quenching: Kindling is the increased activation in brain structure, such as the amygdala as a result of repeated stimulation without discharge. A kindled amygdala becomes sensitized and takes less activation to fire. Quenching is the process whereby the charge of a kindled brain structure is decreased by introducing and extremely small, titrated charge to the brain.

Self-soothing

Because an infant’s ability to complete this circuit is not developed, the mother’s nervous system provides a template for which the infant’s nervous system may develop. Without this the infant’s nervous system will develop differently, and the child/adult will always have difficulty with self-soothing.

Inside out

The brain grows and develops from the inside out and the bottom up.

Grigsby

Unless one is a neuropsychologist, it is usually not a good thing to be mentioned in the neuropsychological literature.

Jim Grigsby

PTSD

Studies demonstrate that persons with PTSD have decreased hippocampal volume.

Overwhelming events

Significant overwhelming events at anytime during one’s life can result in neurophysiological changes that alter the way a person operates in the world and relates to others.

Ontogeny

Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.

Use-dependent

The brain organizes in a use-dependent fashion: the more a neural circuit is activated the more it will be apt to be activated.

Loved child

A loved child actually has a different brain than an unloved child. Love produces an abundance of serotonin which soothes and reduces pain.

Neurotransmission

Studies have demonstrated that experience can change the level of defensiveness and the strength of neurotransmission between the amygdala and the hypothalamus, pathways important to the learning and regulation of fear.

Physical symptoms

Physical symptoms of dysregulation include insomnia, asthma, allergies, migraines, tinnitis, hyperacousis, photophobia, neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases, gastrointestinal difficulties, temporal mandibular joint dysfunction, alcohol and drug abuse.