The Neuroscience of Trauma: Understanding Psychological Wounds Through the Lens of Neurophysiology 

Trauma becomes embedded in the brain, mind and body. It directs our behavior, shapes our social habits and profoundly informs the ways we navigate the world. An inner injury, trauma imprints itself into our neurobiology, leaving a footprint in the nervous system. Rather than an event, trauma is what happens inside of us—it is a fracturing of the self that manifests in the form of disintegrated neural patterning. Lack of self-regulatory capacity lies at the heart of this disintegration, which shows up as chaos and/or rigidity in our relational and neural functioning. During a traumatic stress response, the brain and other nervous systems mobilize neurophysiological processes to cope with the stressor. Prolonged activation of brain regions involved in the stress response and an ongoing release of neurochemicals associated with trauma reorganize the brain-mind-body system, resulting in a compromised ability to prepare for and adapt in the face of stress, adversity and daily challenges.

This workshop provides a definition of trauma from an Integrative NeuroSomatic® perspective, which emphasizes the nature of trauma as being an internal wound that impacts multiple biological systems involved in human development. Findings from an array of scientific fields, including contemporary neuroscience, mind-body research, traumatology, polyvagal theory and epigenetics will be shared. Tools for helping people who have histories of developmental and complex trauma use safety and neuroplasticity to rewire their nervous systems, upgrade internal models and enhance neural integration for higher levels of self-regulation will be explored.

Learning Objectives:

  • Define trauma from a neurophysiological perspective
  • Describe the role of the central nervous system, autonomic nervous system, and the HPA axis in the formation and navigation of trauma narratives
  • Examine integrative approaches for helping people begin the process of healing inner wounds
  • Apply a neuroscience-informed tool for working with people who have suffered trauma

Professional Credit

UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs. Approval of this course for continuing education credit is still pending at this time. If approved, the course may meet the qualifications for 5.5 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content. Provider number 050148. Certificates of completion will be sent to participants within 4 weeks after the course after attendance and number of credits to be received are verified. 

Academic Units
Section Number
Instruction Method
Online class

Section Notes

The format of this virtual training will be on Zoom. You will receive login information via email once your enrollment has been received.