Throughout her career she has authored over 25 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, with her most recent publications discussing how the body adapts to chronic stress or trauma. Her expertise includes the physiology and clinical manifestations of trauma, and their therapeutic interventions using HeartMath, heart rate variability biofeedback and EMDR. She is currently the program director for the Trauma Recovery Project at the HeartMath Institute, and developed their trauma-sensitive HeartMath certification program for health practitioners, called The Resilient Heart.
This presentation will update learners on how we think about trauma - not as an event, but as the response to an event that overwhelms our capacity to cope. As such, we have moved away from the need to identify a sufficiently traumatizing event, and instead recognize that trauma can come from many sources, or may never be identified. We will review the physiology of the stress response, and how chronic stress or trauma creates ongoing activation of this response. This chronic activation produces physiological dysregulation within the nervous system, generating many of the "medically-unexplained" symptoms that are common in outpatient clinics. We will discuss how HeartMath can help these symptoms by creating the antidote to dysregulation - coherence. Coherence is a state of regulation where the heart, mind and emotions are in-sync. It produces a recognizable, measurable, and reproducible pattern on heart rate variability and, when present, coherence entrains other physiological systems such as breathing and blood pressure. Coherence training has been shown to improve mental clarity and sleep, and reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and fatigue. We will then discuss 3 practical tools that anyone can use to build coherence and improve symptoms of trauma and dysregulation.