Zoe was clearly knowledgeable, confident and experienced in this work and I found her very compelling to listen to. Zoe trains many first responders in abuse situations including the army and the police.

She explained at the beginning that there was ‘offender’ behaviour and ‘victim’ behaviour. For this evening’s workshop she was going to focus on ‘victim’ behaviour as that was the likely client who may disclose in our therapy rooms.

Zoe explained about the neuroscience of what happens in our brain when we are attacked by offender behaviour. 

How our brains analyse the threat.

The differing roles of the Cortex i.e. logical thinking. And the Amygdala, i.e. fight/flight responses.

Why it is that the logical response we would expect isn’t the obvious one?

Zoe role played a 15yr old going to a party with her friend, the process she goes through in planning and executing this event and the subsequent stages that could so easily lead to her being groomed/raped/ persistently abused.

I found this workshop excellent, both content, experience and delivery. My only comment is that Zoe spoke very fast and I wasn’t always able to catch the detail. 

I would very much like to see her again for a day and hear her cover offender behaviour as well, preferably at a much slower pace. 

This event was very well attended and appreciated.

Colette Dunford


Ode to the Amygdala

It’s hidden in the lower brain, alert to any danger.

Watching out for traffic, wary of the stranger.

At the first sign of trouble, we can find ourselves fleeing or fighting,

Or freezing or screaming or flopping, or scratching or punching or biting.

The Amygdala is the culprit, desperate for us to survive,

Doing whatever it can just to keep us alive.

It doesn’t think about the future or reflect on the past,

It doesn’t wait for our thoughts, reacting incredibly fast.

The amygdala’s more primal than either our heart or our head.

But please do remember that without it, you’d probably be dead.

Poem, inspired by Zoe’s talk, by David Brown.