Front and Back Brain Spaces (Poster)


Trauma operates via our primitive ‘back brain’ and switches off our thinking, choosing ‘front brain’.

This poster, taken from ‘Webinar #2: ‘Working with trauma that has become stuck‘, shows some of the key differences between the front brain and back brain and especially as it relates to stuckness after trauma.

This is a free downloadable PDF.

Page 1 is a full-colour poster.

Page 2 is a low-ink, print-friendly version.

Trauma pushes us into a survival-based ‘back brain space’, which is focused on imminent threat and rapid reactions in the service of survival, but which is not ideally suited to reflective, strategic thinking, perspective-taking or problem-solving. Chronic trauma during childhood therefore often impedes opportunities to develop a consistent ‘front brain space’.

Many of the coping strategies we use to deal with that trauma in adulthood (such as numbing with dissociation, substances or self-harm) then also impede its development and keep us stuck in a back brain response. Part of the process of recovery from trauma includes strengthening the ability to operate more consistently from this green-zone based, front brain ‘space’.

This poster details some of the key differences between the front brain and the back brain, especially as these relate to stuckness after trauma. For more information see Webinar #2: ‘Working with trauma that has become stuck‘.

Receive updates

Get a free 104-page Trauma Survivors’ Resource Guide when you join my mailing list.