Demo if time. Many of you have asked me how I work so I will be describing that at the end if that’s ok – I would also as if you leave questions at the end if that’s ok when I will be available at the back of the room Are you ready for that?
Then I lost a family member to colon cancer at 49.. Testimonial – clients in the room!
Superego is the taught ideal – super executive in contrast to the Id Ego is the organised part of the personality structure Id is the basic instinctual drives of a human mind. Definitely unconscious. But the other two share some conscious and some subconscious parts. I do not make a distinction between sub and unconscious process. Anything that is not conscious (95%) is of interest here. What parts of the brain do they map to?
We think we are mostly driven by our thinking brains (cortex), in fact this is not true. We are mostly driven by subconscious stimuli processed by the survival part of the brain – brainstem and limbic system
Origin of unconscious control and feedback of body and mind. Usually in balance with PNS and SNS but with constant stress or trauma/ SNS is activated most of the time. Introduce you to some special part of the unconscious brain that have a particular role in stress and trauma. Amygdala is the smoke alarm, highly tuned to pick up danger signals Thalamus is the cook which sifts through incoming data from environment and mixes it together into an autobiographical ‘soup’ –switches off during trauma (and recall) which is why dissociation and flashbacks occur Hippocampus is the ‘librarian’ or ‘context stamp’ – memory encoding and retrieval. If ‘offline’ as during trauma memories are stored implicitly as fragments rather than in context. Hence traumatic memories are disjointed, incomplete, or lacking content other than sense feeling. We can even be completely amnesic for the event itself! Cortex goes offline during trauma and unconscious recall. So we can’t think logically or use our brains to organise our experience. We are highjacked! Insula – Relay station for information around body – where ‘mind and body meet’. Wellspring of social emotions. Is also offline during trauma so we feel disconnected from our bodies origin of ‘out of body experience’ Hypothalamus is the stress response initiator. HPA axis. Worth noting that the prefrontal cortex is inhibited when the stress response is activated. Hence we find it difficult to make decisions, think clearly and discern logical action.
A cascade of hormonal, neurological and physiological effects mediated by neurotransmitters and peptides. Stress can be conscious or unconscious
Autonomic nervous system responds to signals from the limbic system and brainstem. Exposure. Each level is defaulted to when one above fails.
Mind and body work together to process emotions. They are not separate. Emotions are a physical response as well as psychological.
A cascade of hormonal, neurological and physiological effects
Human babies are born extremely early and unformed in order to pass through the birth canal, their brains are immature.
This is is a theory expounded by Ronald Ruden in his book P36. Synaptic Consolidation occurs when neuronal pathways connected by glutamate receptors are laid down during the event.
Implicit memory fragments intrude into everyday life not as conscious memories but as disjointed fragments via flashbacks and unbidden emotional states. If these persist and are not resolved a variety of chronic conditions may develop.
Autonomic nervous system responds to signals from the limbic system and brainstem
Not what is medically defined as being a physical trauma to the body such as from an accident. Has a much broader spectrum than this.
Interestingly animals exhibit all these reactions too but with the freeze response they are seen to discharge it afterwards with shaking. We do that too – after shock for instance but often in childhood this discharge is not possible and trauma results. Chronic back pain which is not related to anatomical/structural defect often is a post-traumatic symptom TMJ – temporo mandibular joint syndrome. Clicking, grinding of teeth, pain in jaw, etc. common after bereavement, accident, etc. Whiplash is so much more than physical trauma! *Trauma heightens sensitivity to physcial pain neurologically (Howard 2000)
A typical animal cell. Nuclear DNA. It’s all in your genes!
Mitochondrion is an interesting anomaly
Evolutionary adaptation to rising Oxygen levels.
ATP is the energy currency of the cell
Not just powerhouses of the cell but influence vital bodily functions from memory and ageing to combatting stress and disease.
Makes the pathways susceptible to disruption
Please note psychotherapy is very helpful with many other aspects of our lives. Just not with trauma. Psychosensory techniques are relatively new and use the neuroplasticity of our brains to effect change. We light up the neural networks (by recall and then disrupt them with sensory stimulation.
Reprocesses memory to resolution. Trauma disrupts this process. Nightmares also disturb the process. Hence dreams are very important and can be targets for EMDR – can reveal what the actual experience is.
2 Theories; bilateral stimulation like REM sleep Or working memory hypothesis In practice is a lot morwe
You will remember one to the other, they will build and they are stuck
Mind, memory and mitochondria
MIND, MEMORY AND
• A definition of mind
• Stress, trauma and implicit memory formation
• The mitochondrial link to chronic illness
• EMDR Demo
• Further implications; treating chronic disease &
dysfunction (if time)
Are you ready to find out the link between mind,
memory and mitochondria?
• Scientist, health researcher.
• Suffered chronic illness, exhausted the medical solution.
Tried Chinese medicine in desperation. It worked.
• Changed my mind. Studied: Nutritional medicine, Clinical
massage, Reiki, EFT, and Hypnotherapy.
• Now a natural health practitioner, author, wellbeing coach,
specialist in chronic pain e.g. anxiety, back pain, auto-
immune, CFS, Fibromyalgia, etc.
What is it?...
Neuroscientists - sum total of the flow of information along
neural pathways in the brain and spinal cord
Psychologists - seat of human consciousness and thought
housed in the brain - separate from the body?
Medicine - only deals with the body so avoids the question
Metaphysics - brain = a radio receiver tuning into an external
consciousness and mind is simply the result
Freud’s theories of the psyche: Superego, Ego, Id in conflict,
• Conscious - only about 5%
• Sub (pre) conscious
THE TRIUNE BRAIN: ORIGIN
OF UNCONSCIOUS THREAT
subconscious - we are not aware of them;
our survival mechanism – 90% our function
The limbic system and brainstem
are part of the autonomic
nervous system (ANS) which
automatically controls our
essential functions (including
survival) without our conscious
Amygdala = smoke alarm
Thalamus = ‘cook’, sifts data
Hippocampus = context stamp & memory encoding
Hypothalamus – stress response
THE HPA AXIS AND
Head and neck: eyes, ears,
Tongue and facial muscles
Internal organs of
3 levels of response to
Fight, flight and freeze.
THE MIND AND THE
Now we have a process which explains the unconscious
operations of the mind (brain) with those of the body
Mind and body are one. ‘Descartes’ error’
Emotional states are felt in both the mind and the body
Recorded by the limbic system for future avoidance as
‘implicit’ memory formed early in life (pre-verbal stage)
Short term vs long term
2 types of long term memory:
Explicit / Narrative / Declarative/ Implicit / Procedural/ Emotional /
Time bound – exist in the past Perpetual present
Hippocampus ‘tags’ a memory and
stores it within cortex
Stored in limbic system (amygdala)
Conscious recall with narrative
structure (beginning, middle and end).
Subject to bias and distortion so that
memory changes over time i.e.
Unconscious recall via unconscious
‘triggers’ (sounds, smells, visual
stimuli that remind the brain of the
originating event. Persistent; never
varies or decays. (how)
IMPLICIT MEMORY -
Developmentally, implicit memory is first to develop in human
baby – before cortex comes online at 7
A survival mechanism for a human so is extremely robust
Does not decay with time
Brain defaults to this type during trauma
• A memory is stabilised by chemical
encoding of the memory trace –
consolidation of neural pathways
• In traumatisation the memory
becomes permanently encoded in
i.e. when triggered by similar events,
you re-experience the emotions as if
they were happening today without
Stored in the mind & body as an uncompleted emotional
response or movement – e-motion (emovare)
Can manifest as;
• Flashbacks (PTSD)
• Chronic Pain
• IBS and gut problems
• Facial ticks, tinnitus, vertigo,
• Fatigue (CFS), etc
STRESS, TRAUMA AND
Stress & unresolved emotional trauma are major
contributors to your health
Interpreted by your subconscious brain as a threat to
3 levels of the threat response: (ANS)
1/ seek attachment – Social engagement
2/ then escape (fight or flight) (HPA – sympathetic
nerve) and finally, if all else fails
3/ ‘freeze’ response* – reptilian parasympathetic –
dissociation, shutdown of body systems)
• Any unresolved event pathologically /permanently
encoded memory causing emotion/symptoms in the
• Can be physical (e.g. accident) or psychological e.g.
abuse or poor parental attachment. Usually in
childhood/young adulthood, linked by emotions &
memory in the subconscious.
• The meaning we attribute to the event not the severity
of the event itself. So can be simply lack of
love/support, feelings of abandonment, etc.
WHY IS TRAUMA
• Traumatic memory becomes a self-perpetuating
cycle of internally generated subconscious
stress which makes further trauma more likely -
• Unresolved emotional memory triggers
physiological effects in body e.g pain in
Fibromyalgia, fatigue, etc
• All sorts of medically unexplained symptoms
(MUS) may be due to this unconsolidated
* Trauma heightens sensitivity to physical pain neurologically (Howard 2000)
of the cell’
Does it remind
2 million years ago a unicellular organism (an
Archaea) engulfed a bacterium to create the first
multi-celled organism – eukaryote in order to use
rising O2 levels
Eventually the bacterium became a mitochondrion but
• Its own DNA (separate from DNA in the nucleus –
handed down from the maternal line)
• A different form of metabolism (aerobic respiration
• Aerobic – uses oxygen and produces ATP – the energy
• ≈30 ATP per molecule of O2 within the mitochondria
• Conditions of low oxygen (obesity), toxicity or stress (conscious or
unconscious) activates the Cell Danger Response (CDR)
• Body switches to anaerobic energy production in cell cytosol
• Much less efficient: only 2 ATP per O2 molecule (15 x less!)
• Mitochondrial dysfunction (mitochondriopathy) is at heart of most
chronic disease e.g. auto-immune, AZ, CFS and cancer.
• Reversing the message of threat is the main priority in healing
• Reactivation of these traumatic implicit memories
via recall of emotion makes these pathways
• Neurons that ‘fire together wire together’
• Via disruption of the pathways during recall (touch
or visual stimulation) the memory and its emotion
can be dissociated – extinction and
reconsolidated into explicit memories
In order to heal:
we need to make the unconscious conscious
THE 3 PILLARS
• Psychotherapy: talking therapy which aims to
understand origin of problem and in ‘re-framing’ it to
resolve it. Largely unsuccessful.
• Psychopharmacology: symptom suppression with
pharmaceuticals. Limited success.
• Psychosensory: use of sensory stimulation to re-
configure the brain’s response to stressful memory.
Moderate to Extraordinary success!
• Uses notion of neuro-plasticity, mind and body
• EMDR – Eye movement desensitisation and
Reprocessing- Bilateral stimulation
• EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique – tapping with
• Havening – eye movements and self soothing
• Hypnotherapy – e.g. Lightning process –
• Panic Attacks
• Chronic Pain
• Relationship issues
• Limiting beliefs
Is context free i.e. you don’t have to talk about it!
HOW DOES EMDR WORK?
• Bilateral stimulation – right and left hemispheres
resolves and integrates memories in midbrain (limbic
system). Like in REM sleep – memory is ‘pruned’ &
digested. Via dopamine
• Change memories from implicit to explicit
• Maladaptive links into adaptive network (facilitates
insights), becomes less volatile
But basically brings the cortex (frontal lobe) online and
allows processing of the thought/emotion.
PAIN AND AUTO-
These are 21st century epidemics caused by:
• Toxicity of the food supply and environment (pesticides,
• Nutritional deficiency
• Chronic stress
• Emotional isolation and lack of support
• Personality type – driven, people-pleasing, etc. Ignoring
your own needs in pursuit of ‘success’
• Understanding this is a mindbody problem
• Reducing the stressors: understanding your history
and personality type to release your past
• Refocussing on recovery not the symptoms
• Changing the terrain of the body to gear it towards
healing; reducing toxicity via nutrition, emotional
• Patricia Worby – The Scar that Won’t Heal
Thank you for listening
Thanks to all my clients, who are my best teachers..
• Peartree Clinic, Bitterne (home)
• Romney Centre, The Avenue, Portswood
Patricia Worby PhD (pending) MSc. ACMT, HPD, GHR
Patricia Worby Alchemy Therapies
• James Alexander- The Hidden Psychology of Pain
• Peter Levine - In an Unspoken Voice, &'Waking the
• Gabor Mate- When the Body Says No
• Robert Sapolsky - Why Zebras don't get Ulcers
• Robert Scaer - The Trauma Spectrum
• Ronald Ruden - When the Past is Always Present
• Dr John Sarno - The Mindbody Prescription
• Bessel Van der Kolk The Body keeps the Score
• Within the mitochondrial membrane a series of protein
complexes transfers electrons, protons and photons (light) to
• The adenine molecule of ATP harvests light, (+ other
molecules in the diet like DHA and chlorophyll) to drive