Neurobiological Findings

Neurobiological findings suggest that it may be useful for traumatized trafficking survivors to learn to regulate their physiological arousal through techniques such as mindfulness training (Lazar et al., 2005). Mindfulness training allows the traumatized trafficking patient to become a careful observer of one’s inner experience, and to notice one’s breath, gestures, thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and impulses that arise.


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Traumatized trafficking individuals need to experience that it is safe to have feelings and sensations. If they learn to attend to their inner experience, traumatized trafficking victims can appreciate that bodily experiences are always in flux and they, themselves, can exert greater agency in their present experiences.

By learning to attend to nontraumatic stimuli in the present, traumatized trafficking individuals can learn to release themselves from reliving their past traumas and they can practice re-engaging their ability to protect themselves. Thus, the therapist helps the traumatized trafficking survivor to gain control over extreme affective responses that may seem out of place, self-destructive thoughts and behaviors, addictions, and dissociative episodes.