Research Finds Stress Changes Brains of Boys and Girls Differently
The latest research to come out of Stamford University School of Medicine shows that the way the brain responds to stress is different for boys and girls. This research shows that boys are far more receptive to suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) than girls, because in traumatised boys, the insula was larger than usual. The insula is the part of the brain linked with emotions and empathy. This research also showed that high levels of stress for girls can bring on early puberty.
This research obviously has implications for therapists as it is clear that those of us who work with stress and trauma need to take into consideration the gender of the sufferer as part of any intervention. This is particularly relevant in the display of symptomology by either gender and that this display will have an impact and should inform the intervention that is sought.
Having worked with many people who have suffered with trauma and stress, my own anecdotal evidence confirms the Stamford findings. In my own practice there is a great difference in how men and women process trauma and that this does affect the approaches I will use to work with them. The importance of this research cannot be overstated, and it behoves therapists of all modalities to understand these differences in order to provide the best possible service to our clients.