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Webinar: The Trauma of Toxic Stress During the Pandemic: What You Can Do

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Toxic stress has the potential to change brain chemistry, brain anatomy, and even gene expression in children. Toxic stress also affects adults and can weaken the architecture of the immune response. The toxic stress response is believed to play a role in the pathophysiology of depressive disorders, behavioral dysregulation, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and even psychosis.

There is a significant difference between normal stress and toxic stress.  Where normal and positive stress is an essential part of healthy development, toxic stress occurs when we experience strong, frequent, and/or long-lasting difficult events — such the pandemic.

Come join us on June 1, 2020, at 7 PM. to meet and chat with Amy Peterson, LCSW. Amy is experienced in facilitating individual, group, and family therapy. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre and a master's degree in clinical social work. Amy uses a playful approach, particularly when working with younger clients. Amy is passionate about education and has extensive experience presenting to clients and professionals at local and national venues. Her therapeutic approach is attachment focused, trauma-informed, strengths-based, and family systems-oriented. Amy is an optimist and believes everyone possesses the power to discover, develop, and express full potential living. 


A helpful article on Developmental Trauma for educators




How Separating Children Damages the Brain

Many parents coming to the US border with their children are seeking asylum and protection under international law. (See Refugee Act of 1980). Asylum is a humanitarian protection and part of the American value system particularly since the Holocaust of the mid-twentieth century. Those who seek asylum in the United States are afraid to return to their countries fleeing war, violence, and persecution in their native countries.

Under federal law, ANYONE from another country can “legally” seek asylum. Immigrants are eligible to apply for asylum for up to one year after entering the US. Many come here, literally, to save the lives of their children and themselves. 
According to the United State Government, "To obtain asylum through the affirmative asylum process you must be physically present in the United States. You may apply for asylum status regardless of how you arrived in the United States or your current immigration status."

Recently immigrants LEGALLY seeking asylum, and following the rules, who have committed no crimes, are being separated from their children, some of which are infants. These damaging and punitive separations are the product of cruel policies set by the current administration’s Department of Justice. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions outlined the Trump administration policies. Contrary to what AG Sessions says, there are no laws on the books directing this policy [separating children from their families] and the only blame for this vindictive, punishing action rests squarely on the choices and policies of those in charge. The Trump administration is not only separating children from their caregivers but also, now, cannot account for almost 1500 of those children.

The ramifications for children being damaged because of the separation from their parents is significant. This article takes a deeper look at the physiological reaction of children when they are traumatized.

Defining Trauma



Psychological trauma refers to a unique individual experience or event or continuing conditions, where a child’s ability to absorb and incorporate an emotional experience is trounced and exhausted. These individuals face (based on their perception) a threat to life and bodily safety.  In other words, the child’s perception is a threat to their life and safety. Remember, these children have already (most probably) been exposed to threats, and traumas by virtue of their beginnings in countries where wars and violence were part of their daily lives.

What are the neurophysiological results for the child?


To understand the insult to a child’s brain, one must first understand the physiological response and reaction of the fight, flight and/or freeze. The fight, flight, freeze response is a normal reaction or alarm reaction to perceived danger. We all need this reaction to keep us out of the pathway of a speeding car or to alert us to danger so we can react quickly, often without thinking, to protect ourselves. Once there is a threat (real or perceived) our bodies are hyper-aroused and a series of physiological changes begin. The Central Nervous System begins the process of releasing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Central and peripheral nervous system activity responsible for processing threat information becomes involved. The reaction is an automatic survival response, directly correlated with the behavior of the child. (Bruce Perry, M.D., Ph.D., The Child Trauma Academy, 2002)

 Hyper-aroused children become hyper-vigilant children. Hyper-vigilance becomes the baseline for children who are chronically hyper-aroused, so even without active triggers, their hyper-vigilant or hyper-arousal starting point involves a constantly heightened state of high arousal. The result is that it takes little to nothing to set them off into freeze/fight/flight.

The chronically hyper-aroused brain shifts from processing in the pre-frontal cortex where executive functioning takes place to the limbic system or the emotional seat of the brain. The brains of these students cannot filter out the

overwhelming bombardment of all kinds of sensory, environmental and extraneous information. The result is the brain's self-preservation response. Young children are virtually helpless as they are not in control of their environments. Children are small with limited physical strength. Instead of fighting or fleeing, they may freeze when there is a perceived threat. As a result of a lack of safety and control from the child's perspective, they may shut down.



Toxic Stress Affects the Brain

The younger a child’s brain the more damaging the toxic stress. Environmental experiences, interactions, and relationships that expose a child to toxic stress make a child’s brain incredibly vulnerable to chemical changes and even structural changes in that brain. These changes are not only damaging but also can cause long-term or even life-long changes.  

Read more about Toxic Stress by visiting the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

Separating children from their families is wrong. Those who separate infants and children from mothers, inflicting physical, long-term and possibly life-long harm. Toxic stress shortens the lives of these children and endangers their current and future welfare. To intentionally inflict this harm is child abuse.

Hundreds of mental health professionals to learn "The Rewind" pioneering PTSD treatment

Date: March 5, 2018

On 10th March, 440 psychotherapists, psychologists, and counselors will gather at Birmingham University to attend a free, One Day Workshop delivered by Dr David Muss MD to learn The Rewind – a technique he originated that can help treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) patients effectively, quickly and cost-efficiently. 

PTSD affects people from all walks of life – not just veterans from the Armed Forces – and is a psychiatric condition caused by life-threatening events. It is not clear why some people develop the condition and others do not. However, unresolved PTSD can result in domestic violence, imprisonment, drug abuse, alcoholism, unemployment, divorce, and homelessness, with considerable social and financial implications1.

Dr David Muss MD, who for the past 20 years has held the position of Director of the PTSD Unit at the BMI Edgbaston Hospital, Birmingham and is Founder of the International Association for Rewind Trauma Therapy, intends between now and the end of 2019 to train 5000 therapists dedicated to treating trauma in the UK to use The Rewind – 

In the UK, the incidence of PTSD is around 4.4% – twice the incidence of those with diabetes. In Northern Ireland alone, the incidence is 24%. Taken as a whole, that’s a staggering three million plus people who are said to be suffering from PTSD as a result of trauma.

Of those who currently do receive treatment (one and half million), 75% are treated with anti-depressants and 25% with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)2 or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)3 – the only two therapies recognised by NICE. 

The reason Dr. Muss feels it is necessary to train at least another 5000 therapists is because there are only 5000 accredited CBT counsellors and some 600 EMDR trained therapists in the UK who are currently only reaching 25% of those who do get treatment.

If the current NICE recommended CBT and EMDR therapists were to adopt the Rewind they would easily double the number of patients requiring their help. That would still leave the other 1.5 million PTSD sufferers in the UK without access to therapy.‘With the current financial crisis in the NHS,’ he states, ‘it would be unimaginable to think that the Government could afford to train 5000 new Cognitive Behaviour Therapists (CBTs), though they could be encouraged to train in delivering the Rewind by attending a one day free seminar.

The benefits of the Rewind are clear. It is a relatively fast (usually 2-3 sessions) and effective drug free treatment applicable to individuals and groups of any size, Aside from this, compared with traditional treatments using drugs or talking therapies, training therapists in The Rewind is particularly cost-effective because it is possible to train groups of therapists quickly and, in turn, those trained therapists can deliver multiple session trauma treatment to groups of PTSD patients,’ Dr Muss points out.
’Normally, the duration of trauma-focused psychological treatment should be between eight and 12 sessions at a cost of £850.00 (NICE 2005) when the PTSD results from a single event,’ Dr Muss adds. ‘However, with The Rewind, which is delivered in two to three sessions (includes one follow up), the cost is £140.00.’

Currently, The Rewind technique is the only treatment – available and demonstrated – that has achieved an 85% success rate after a single group session, held by Dr Muss in Rwanda, when he treated 21 post genocide survivors in a necessarily unrepeatable single session using The Rewind5. 

If details of their traumatic event are not disclosed to the group and, with the likely outcome being closure, many PTSD patients find group participation an acceptable alternative to the long wait for individual treatment on the NHS – or, indeed, the prohibitive cost of private treatment. 

Although The Rewind has been delivered very successfully privately to groups as well as one on one, it has not yet received NICE approval. Nevertheless, the fact that so many psychotherapists and counsellors are attending The Rewind Workshop, with more on a waiting list for the next to be held on 5th of May, demonstrates that there is a strong desire and need to find a therapy that delivers on human as well as financial benefits. 

Formal research and supervised trials could demonstrate its comparative efficacy and establish The Rewind as a trauma focused treatment potentially able to transform NHS PTSD practice.


Dr. David C Muss, MD(Roma) LMSSA, Director, PTSD Unit, BMI Edgbaston Hospital, Birmingham 
Originator of the Rewind Technique for PTSD

Founder IARTT (International Association for Rewind Trauma Therapy). 

Author: The Trauma Trap (self-help eBook, Amazon)
Developer of free Self-Help App: PTSD STOPS HERE!

Please see The Rewind: A Trauma Focused Treatment Potentially able to Transform NHS PTSD Practice for Reference Notes and Explanatory Data.The Rewind: A Trauma Focused Treatment 
Potentially able to Transform NHS PTSD Practice


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric condition caused by life-threatening events. it is not clear why some develop the condition and others do not. The incidence of PTSD symptoms in the UK is around 4% (twice that of diabetes). In Northern Ireland incidence is 24%. Unresolved PTSD can result in domestic violence, imprisonment, drug abuse, alcoholism, unemployment, divorce and homelessness, with considerable social and financial implications1

While some sufferers are not prepared to be treated, either singly or in a group, many are. Treatment is principally through psychotherapy and prescribing antidepressants. The NHS currently reaches perhaps 25% of sufferers, due partly to unwillingness to be treated but also because approved multiple session trauma treatment therapy one-on-one delivery is expensive and the time to closure is long. Current NICE-approved psychotherapy treatments are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)2 and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)3.

Furthermore, many PTSD patients would find group participation an acceptable alternative to individual treatment. Provided - as is the case with The Rewind4 - that details of their traumatic event are not disclosed to the group and the likely outcome is closure. NICE consequently does not currently recommend CBT or EMDR should be delivered to groups of sufferers. Although The Rewind has been delivered very successfully privately to groups as well as one on one, it has not yet received NICE approval. Research and supervised trials could formally demonstrate its comparative efficacy.


Please see Page 2 which provides background, including numerous success stories from trained therapists5.

CBT and EMDR successful therapy outcomes are described as ‘significant symptom improvement’. The Rewind instead addresses the trauma cause, aiming to get patients to ‘file the traumatic event’. What this means in everyday practice is that involuntary recall of the traumatic event is brought under voluntary recall. All symptoms fade away.

Unlike CBT and EMDR, The Rewind usually needs just two treatment sessions. The first comprises psychoeducation, completion of a PTSD self-assessment questionnaire such as the Impact of Events Scale (IES) or the PTSD Checklist 5 (PCL 5), and a succession of two-minute duration treatments. The purpose of the second session is to confirm the outcome: usually closure. In those few cases where the outcome is not positive – i.e. the IES or PCL 5 score has not altered – a third session is undertaken. If still unsuccessful, Rewind is not attempted further.

As well as reducing treatment duration and eliminating symptoms, Rewind offers huge human and financial benefits:

Rewind drop-out during treatment is extremely rare, because subjects do not have to disclose the details of their trauma. CBT and EMDR have a subject drop-out rate of around 15%.

The £100-£200 one day Rewind training cost is far less than is required for CBT and EMDR counselling.

Rewind is effective from the age of four.

Compared with CBT and EMDR, The Rewind’s hugely reduced trauma course duration, low drop-out and 2x comparative success rate gives it a significant cost-benefit single client advantage.

In addition, The Rewind’s unique concurrent group capability advantage allows 10 or more patients to be treated together in just one or two sessions. Potentially, this offers the NHS substantial additional savings.

Therapist compassion fatigue burn-out is avoided because causal event details are not disclosed.


The Rewind is applicable to multiple life-threatening traumas, is ethical, enjoys a 90% - 95% success rate.It is thus an efficacious and cost-effective transformative alternative to current NHS NICE-approved practice. Group-conducted Rewind – where one counsellor leads multiple participants who do not share conditions – has, in addition, successfully treated 18 out of 21 patients in a single session5.

These considerations combine with interest in discovering why The Rewind works to make it a superb candidate for research, including randomised controlled individual and group study quality improvement projects aimed at achieving NHS adoption.

Potential outcomes include obtaining NICE approval, leading to a significant increase in the number of PTSD cases treated by the NHS, accompanied by much-improved therapeutic success and reduced overall State costs. Volunteer Counsellor availability and other charitable resources could perhaps limit Institution costs mainly to providing a research assistant to observe treatment sessions and perform statistical processing, written up by a post-doc.

Exploratory Data


1 Including Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey: Survey of Mental Health catalogue/PUB2174

2 Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) - NHS Choices

3 EMDR: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing - WebMD

4 IARTT: International Association for Rewind Trauma Therapy

5 Rewind outcomes, Selected Rewind Veteran, Sexual Abuse and Rewind Cases. 85% success achieved treating 21 post genocide survivors in a necessarily unrepeatable single session: 2011/03/10/1534765611412795

6 APT: Mental Health Training Courses Association for Psychological Therapies

7 The Rewind treatment is offered irrespective of existing substance abuse or depression condition
8 Estimate based on current CBT Counsellor salary range £26,500 - £41,500 pa, 100% overhead and 1,800 hours pa worked.
9 There is no clinical limit to the size of a Rewind therapy group
10 Assuming 15% of 5,000 CBT & 10% of 660 EMDR accredited counsellor time is currently spent on NHS PTSD therapy sessions

Dr. David C Muss, MD(Roma) LMSSA, Director, PTSD Unit, BMI Edgbaston Hospital, Birmingham

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of International Association for Rewind Trauma Therapy (IARTT) in the following categories: HealthEducation & Human ResourcesMedical & Pharmaceutical, for more information visit

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