Catherine has a wealth of knowledge about childhood trauma and abuse through her clinical practice with children and adults. Yet, something was missing from this integrative approach she had trained in. Even after attending many conferences, she couldn't quite put her finger on what it was. No matter how much work happened in talk therapy, clients could not fully "talk their way out of trauma." Catherine embarked on a flurry of courses, conferences, and trauma marathons to educate herself and improve her 'toolbox' of methods and interventions.
I was listening to some of the great names at a trauma conference many years ago when I had several light bulb moments (what I call a fizz buzz). One of these was as I listened to Stephen Porges, who led me to look into the Polyvagal Theory (PVT) profoundly and how this explained many of the responses I was seeing in my client's verbal and non-verbal body language. PVT gave me the theoretical foundation with which to work with my clients. Enabling to help them understand their responses to horrific events, and to work with them using biofeedback and somatic (bodywork), and, yet, it still did not complete the puzzle of all of the physiological illnesses that clients presented with. I could pinpoint why they likely had specific health issues related to their bodies' response at the time of the trauma. However, it didn't go deep enough.
What fascinated me most about my clients, the trainees, supervisees and their clients, and young people that I have worked with over many years was the impact of childhood trauma on health and wellbeing in later life. Many of those childhood trauma's are labeled 'Adverse Child(hood) Experiences,' and I find this an underwhelming way to describe these events that can impact health to a cellular level. During training, I had been introduced to the field of epigenetics, and at the time, this was a new concept in psychotherapy literature/training. An area in which I was informed that 'Trauma Methylates DNA' without a full description of what this is, was or how it worked. I was curious, what was methylation, and what was its purpose? It seemed no one had a definitive answer in the world of therapy, and so off I went to find out...
I found myself looking at the work of Rachel Yehuda on holocaust survivor epigenetics, and found that I was fascinated with the biochemistry and wanted to find out more. And so began my journey into the realm of functional health, without knowing that this would soon become the key to my lock and open up many doors of new ways to integrate functional medicine principles into my practice and create a precision-based psychotherapy that looks deeply at those epigenetic markers, and how this ties into mental and health issues that are often the driving factor to people seeking therapy in the first instance. This was the linchpin to my new drive to bring the world of psychotherapy together with functional medicine.
I am a certified DNA life practitioner that allows me to do nutrigenetic and functional testing with my clients to do this in my practice.
Areas that intersect here and are topics Cath likes to talk about!
THE PAST IN THE PRESENT
ACES- HOW THESE AFFECT CELLULAR FUNCTION AND EPIGENETIC BIOMARKERS AND RESULT IN THE HEALTH CONDITIONS OFTEN FOUND LATER IN LIFE
ABUSE (PHYSICAL, SEXUAL, EMOTIONAL AND NEGLECT)
Alongside this journey of trauma and epigenetics, Cath has created a propositional theory about why we behave in cyberspace as we do based in the work of her trauma practice, synthesising biopsychosocial theories and technology and the new trauma's that are beginning to emerge from this space. This is what is referred to as Cybertrauma, and you can go back to the look at this here.