Neuroplasticity- healing from childhood trauma

Neuroplasticity= the magical brain.. healing from the impact of childhood trauma


Laurissa Hampton

3/21/20231 min read

Neuroplasticity is the brains ability to change and adapt our external and internal environments. The brain is constantly changing in relationship to environmental surroundings and experiences, creating new neural pathways, strengthening familiar pathways and pruning unused pathways.

These brain changes help us adapt to the ever changing world around us and is necessary for survival.

During childhood our brains are very "plastic" and adapt easily- thus we are inherently susceptible to environmental stressors. These stressors can include parental stress, lack of caregiver availability, significant changes in routine and disruption of 'normal' life, divorce, conflict, abuse, exposure to violence, trauma or emotional neglect to name a few. These experiences can result in lasting physical and mental health challenges. One such change occurs in the structures of the amygdala and hypothalamus which activate the sympathetic nervous system (both have a role in the "fight, flight, freeze responses").

As a result of these long lasting structural changes, the brain may detect threats more easily, making individuals exposed to chronic stress as a child more susceptible to feeling stress, anxiety or depression as adults. They may experience 'chronic overwhelm' as adults.

Fortunately, the brain's ability to "rewire" itself aka neuroplasticity means that change is possible at any age. With the support of certain types of therapy, exposure to positive healthy experiences, development of healthy / authentic relationships and changes in how we relate to and experience our environment are possible. Think of neuroplasticity as creating new habits. We always have the choice to behave and engage in behavioral patterns that reinforce the negative structural changes form childhood, or create new pathways by forming healthy behaviors and habits that change the brains structure for the better.