The biology of trauma:  Implications for treatment


During the past 20 years, the development of brain imaging techniques and new biochemical approaches has led to increased understanding of the biological effects of psychological trauma. New hypotheses have been generated about brain development and the roots of antisocial behavior. We now understand that psychological trauma disrupts homeostasis and can cause both short and long-term effects on many organs and systems of the body. Our expanding knowledge of the effects of trauma on the body has inspired new approaches to treating trauma survivors. Biologically informed therapy addresses the physiological effects of trauma, as well as cognitive distortions and maladaptive behaviors. The authors suggest that the most effective therapeutic innovation during the past 20 years for treating trauma survivors has been Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a therapeutic approach that focuses on resolving trauma using a combination of top-down (cognitive) and bottom-up (affect/body) processing.






Eldra P. Solomon
Kathleen M. Heide

Original Work Citation

Solomon, E. P., & Heide, K. M. (2005, January). The biology of trauma: Implications for treatment. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20(1), 51-60. doi:10.1177/0886260504268119



“The biology of trauma:  Implications for treatment,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed September 18, 2021,

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