Personal assessment of the Trauma Conference: As one who loves to establish a contextual framework for all aspects of this shared life experience, complete with defining the proper components within LIFE itself so that all the interconnections can be assessed and understood both for their individual functions and for the synergy of the entire system, NO ONE in that entire 70 speaker Trauma Conference put explanations of TRAUMA treatment itself into a more practical, logical, and low-jargon comprehensive matrix better than Dr. Aimie Apigian did. Wow. And she did it in such an informative, organized, clear and humble presentation, that I wanted to capture her statements for further consideration. So I took notes to share here because after today, it’s not available for FREE.
“Dr Aimie Apigian
Dr Aimie is a Board-Certified Preventive and Addiction Medicine Physician with a Double Masters in Biochemistry and Public Health. She specializes in trauma, attachment and identifying and reversing the effects of stored emotions in the body and on our health. Having personal experience in foster parenting, adopting and then her own chronic fatigue and autoimmune issues, she has discovered that negative life experiences become our biology, not just psychology. Compromising every system in our biology, these stored emotions cause inflammation, digestive issues and contributes to all disease and aging. Stored emotions become the biggest thief to our health, happiness and aliveness without us ever knowing.
A two-time Summit Host, she is the founder and director of Family Challenge Camps, a weekend intensive for families, and founder and CEO of Trauma Healing Accelerated where she provides education and courses for those wanting to hack their survival systems and accelerate their healing journey from trauma to achieve their best mental and physical health. Her courses include experiential courses for the general public on shifting The Biology of Trauma and a certification coach for those in a healing profession to have more tools for understanding and addressing the Biology of Trauma.”
My NOTES: Attachment trauma—anything that is not a Secure Attachment, is an ‘attachment trauma’ because her definition of a “trauma” means that it overwhelms the system leaving lasting effects on the biology. And when an ‘insecure attachment style’ develops, it leaves lasting effects on the bio-chemical processes and on the body itself. When the ‘insecure attachment style’ becomes severe, it would become an ‘attachment disorder’ as it can affect all aspects of the person/child’s life—behaviors, emotional regulation, physical inflammations and sensitivities, body pains, etc.
“….she has discovered that negative life experiences become our biology, not just psychology. Compromising every system in our biology, these stored emotions cause inflammation, digestive issues and contributes to all disease and aging. Stored emotions become the biggest thief to our health, happiness and aliveness without us ever knowing.”…
Trauma—it means lasting effects on the biology and the nervous system. When working with ‘attachment styles,’ we don’t have to go into “the story” or “blaming” someone. We just have to acknowledge that at that time in the child’s life there were things going on in the parent’s life that affected how attuned the parent might have been to their child’s need for closeness and support. Because these disorders develop when a child’s earliest needs are either met (and the child feels safe and loved, and can rely on the parent to provide for his/her needs as they arise) or not met (and the child feels unsafe and unloved, and the parent seems to be unable [or unwilling] to provide the stability and security necessary for the child to feel safe and appreciated). The parent may have done her best at the time of the child’s early development, but it wasn’t sufficient for the child’s need, and that created the sense of instability and insecurity, or feeling unloved and unwanted. If the child comes out of the early relationship with a sense of disattachment (to parent and surroundings), that affects the child’s nervous system to be more prone to experiencing more traumas later in life.
The child’s nervous system needs ‘regulation.’ Attachment is regulation. Trauma overwhelms the nervous system on a biological level, and ‘secure attachment’ is the regulation of the system.
Regulation: Going back to the idea that the nervous system has three states: (20:49) Parasympathetic, that middle window of tolerance; the high-energy state of STRESS—called the Sympathetic; and then the very low-energy state that is the FREEZE response—the dorsal vagal response—the Polyvagal theory. An infant doesn’t have the ability to regulate its nervous system state. So it takes its cues from mom—meaning that whatever ‘nervous system state’ mom stays in, is likely the reciprocal state of the infant as well. If mom is stressed, the baby likely will feel the stress also.
No condemnation or blame intended here though, because everyone is doing the best that they can at the moment with whatever they have to work with. Just how it is.
The nervous system is the driver for everything in our health, because it is communicating either a biological state of 1) safety, 2) danger or 3) overwhelm. Those are the three states that it can communicate—you are safe—you are in danger—you are toast: so freeze and shut down.
Fight or flight is the DANGER State, it is high-energy—RUN. In OVERWHELM—then it’s the ‘you are TOAST’ state—the nervous system says shut down all internal power sources, and go either into sleep-mode or flat-line to minimal activity or minimal emotional response, period. With OVERWHELM—or shut-down, you just barely get through each day…you are so overwhelmed in every way. Physically/ biologically, emotionally, and the nervous system can’t handle the excess stress, so it shuts down and people get sick with inflammations and auto-immune diseases, or digestive disorders, or are in pain and distress with basic physical movement.
It’s a ‘mitochondria’ problem when energy levels dip so low that the body barely functions. Mitochondria and energy work are vital to trauma recovery. She sees trauma as an energy problem. So first off, long before the talk-therapy begins, she addresses how to rebuild the energy reserves and focuses more so on the body itself, not the psychology of the situation—it’s the biology of the trauma that must first be addressed for all the other solutions to fall into place. Detoxing and establishing nutritional input to rebuild the body’s ability to generate and store energy.
She shows how interrelated all these issues are—the biological reasons for aspects of the psychological problems. So she begins to address the physical problems and rebuild the energy engines, before the client can address the psychological reasons for the “stuckness”. When the nervous system is bathed in inflammation, nothing in the body works as it should.
She has established a set of protocols and practical strategies to walk people through the entire process of healing the trauma and healing the body.
She first determines whether the client is dealing with STRESS (high-energy) situation or OVERWHELM (low-energy) situation. What prescriptive response she suggests depends on the nervous state that the client is currently in. Her goal is to first stabilize the client’s nervous system. Each state requires specific protocols and procedures. ‘High-stress state’ is different than ‘Overwhelmed state’ and needs different initial treatments.
Once the nervous system is stabilized then therapy can begin, and then the therapeutic psychological and emotional work can start.
It’s a ‘unified systems’ approach—how novel and how logical for maximum effect. I was very impressed with her presentation. It was to the point, clear, concise, and highly informative. And with no ego or posturing. Nice.
And she offers numerous YouTube videos, any of which I would recommend after hearing her talk.