Research and Evidence

SHIFT LLC currently only endorses Certified FETI as a “trauma Informed” interview methodology.   We are working diligently to review research on other methodologies and practices to continue to improve our collective response to individuals who have experienced high stress and trauma.

The vast majority of current interview techniques and protocols pre-date our current understanding of neuroscience, the impact of high stress and traumas effect on memory.

Most interview techniques and protocols require a narrative in a sequential or logical way. There is also a heavy reliance on “Who”, “What”, “When”, “Where” type questions.  We also believe there is a misunderstanding by many professionals that “being nice” or by having a focus primarily on open-ended questions will make the response “trauma informed”.  Being nice and utilization of open-ended questions are a good start but do not fully qualify the approach as trauma informed.

We are very interested in doing the right thing and using methodologies that are best for professionals responding to people who have experienced high stress and trauma. If you have an interview technique or protocol that is both rooted in neuroscience and trauma informed – we would like to collaborate with you to ensure we are all using the most cutting edge promising best practices.  If interested, please email

 There is a lot of research to support our work, this is only the tip of the iceberg. 
More to come soon…

Stress Signalling Pathways That Impair Prefrontal Cortex Structure and Function by Amy F. T. Arnsten
The prefrontal cortex (PFC) — the most evolved brain region — subserves our highest-order cognitive abilities. However, it is also the brain region that is most sensitive to the detrimental effects of stress exposure. Even quite mild acute uncontrollable stress can cause a rapid and dramatic loss of prefrontal cognitive abilities, and more prolonged stress exposure causes architectural changes in prefrontal dendrites. Recent research has begun to reveal the intracellular signalling pathways that mediate the effects of stress on the PFC. This research has provided clues as to why genetic or environmental insults that disinhibit stress signalling pathways can lead to symptoms of profound prefrontal cortical dysfunction in mental illness.

The Psychological Impact of Rape Victims’ Experiences With the Legal, Medical, and Mental Health Systems  by Rebecca Campbell Michigan State University
This review article examines rape victims’ experiences seeking postassault assistance from the legal, medical, and mental health systems and how those interactions impact their psychological well-being.

Childhood Trauma, the Neurobiology of Adaptation, and “Use-dependent” Development of the Brain:
How “States” Become “Traits”  by Dr. Bruce Perry et al    The impact of traumatic experiences on the development and function of the brain are discussed in context of basic principles of neurodevelopment. There are various adaptive mental and physical responses to trauma, including physiological hyperarousal and dissociation.

The Temporal Dynamics Model of Emotional Memory Processing: A Synthesis on the Neurobiological Basis of Stress-Induced Amnesia, Flashbulb and Traumatic Memories, and the Yerkes-Dodson Law  by David M. Diamond, et al      A review of research on the effects of stress on LTP in the hippocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex (PFC) and present new findings which provide insight into how the attention and memory-related functions of these structures are influenced by strong emotionality.

Human emotion and memory: interactions of the amygdala and hippocampal complex  by Elizabeth A. Phelps
The amygdala and hippocampal complex, two medial temporal lobe structures, are linked to two independent memory systems, each with unique characteristic functions. In emotional situations, these two systems interact in subtle but important ways.

The Neurological Basis of Anxiety of Fear: Circuits, Mechanisms, and Neurochemical Reactions (Part 1) by Dennis S. Charney, et al
This review seeks to highlight how specific neuronal circuits, neural mechanisms, and neuromodulators may play a critical role in anxiety and fear states.

Trauma and Memory by Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD
The present paper reviews the literature on traumatic memories and discusses the recent neuroimaging studies which seem to clarify the neurobiological underpinnings of the differences between ordinary and traumatic memories.

Translational Challenges With Tonic Immobility
  by Lori A. Zoellner
Drawing heavily from the nonhuman animal literature, understanding of tonic immobility (TI), a sustained and involuntary physical immobility, may yield clear clinical implications and strong future translational research.

Exploring the Nature of Traumatic Memory: Combining Clinical Knowledge
with Laboratory Methods  by Bessel A. van der Kolk, James W. Hopper Janet E. Osterman
We assessed changes in traumatic memory characteristics over time and differences between memories of subjects with and without current Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Why Rape and Trauma Survivors Have Fragmented and Incomplete Memories  by James Hopper and David Lisak
In the midst of assault, the brain’s fear circuitry takes over while other key parts are impaired or even effectively shut down. This is the brain reacting to a life­ threatening situation just the way it is supposed to.

Dissociative Detachment and Memory Impairment: Reversible Amnesia or Encoding Failure?  by Jon G, Allen, David A, Console, and Lisa Lewis The authors describe how dissociative attachment may be intertwined with neurobiological factors that impair memory.