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Sun, Sep 10



Neurobiology of Trauma

Trauma-informed education on survival reflexes and habitual behaviors in response to an assault.

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Neurobiology of Trauma
Neurobiology of Trauma

Time & Location

Sep 10, 2023, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM PDT



About the Event

Why don't people run away or scream when they are being assaulted?

Why are their memories often unclear, distorted and confusing?

The brain under attack is run by defense and fear circuitries, with reflexes and habits being referenced as survival tactics. We use these defenses all the time and especially when sexually assaulted, physically assaulted or in military combat.

Around the world, across cultures, evolution has sculpted our brains over eons, to respond to all life-threatening situations by activating the same circuitries, long before we were sophisticated enough to embody cultural expectations.

This workshop will shed light on how stress and trauma can alter brain functioning during sexual assaults and other traumatic experiences. We’ll look at the impairment of the prefrontal cortex, the activation of the defense circuitry and the display of reflexes and habits harbored by us for centuries.

Whether you have been an assault victim or wish to support and interact well with assault victims or both, this workshop educates us on victim brain-behavior interactions and presentation and the trauma-informed practices one can employ when interacting with people who have been assaulted.

Learning objectives:

(1) The ability to define key brain circuitries impacted by severe stress in the midst of traumatic experiences

(2) To explain brain-based cognitive and behavioral responses to sexual and other assault

(3) To recognize the impact of trauma on relationships and best practices moving forward

Nishita Rao is a cis-gender, androphilic Indian woman, a sexual assault survivor with 9 years of experience as a BIPOC sex educator.  She has an MSc. in Neuroscience with a concentration in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, a background in Genetics, and is pursuing the Holistic Sexuality Educator Certificate Program at the Institute for Sexuality Education and Enlightenment, an approved organizational provider of CE’s by The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT). Nishita is also being trained by the U.S. Department of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (AFWI) on Trauma-dependent Brain Development.


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