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Developmental Trauma

There is no one “treatment of choice” for developmental trauma, and any therapist who believes that his or her particular method is the only answer to your problems is suspect of being a fanatic rather than somebody who is interested in making sure that you get well. No therapist can possibly be familiar with every effective treatment, and must be open to your exploring options other than the ones they offer. A good therapist must be open to learning from you. Gender, race, and personal background are relevant only if they interfere with helping the client feel safe and understood.

Brain development can only proceed correctly in the right environment, which requires the presence of an emotionally available, constantly available, non-stressed adult caregiver. This is Attachment Theory which, like most of life's greatest truths, is at once incredibly simple and extraordinarily far-reaching in its ramifications. On a very practical level, stressed parents are not as present, and cannot respond reliably to cues. The infant internalizes such absence, inconsistency or unpredictably, becomes chronically anxious, and unconsciously draws a number of conclusions: people cannot be trusted, the world is not safe, and hyper-vigilance is required. Or: I'm not worthy of attention, I'm not loveable, I'll never be good enough. Biologically encoded, these messages become the blueprint upon which all future relationships and life endeavors are based. The stressed child grows into a stressed adult, who creates self-perpetuating stressful life circumstances, then raises stressed-out kids. And on it goes...

Most issues could be explained by a single underlying diagnosis: Developmental Trauma Disorder. This is a complex issue in which informed counseling can be extremely helpful. Abuse and neglect can show up in many different ways which totally overwhelm a child. The subconscious steps in; in the forms of suppression, repression, and dissociation and effectively buries memories which were too much for a child to handle.

We do not have to keep reliving our dysfunctional patterns. We can recognize them, explore them, challenge them, and choose, moment by moment, to inhabit and engender the alternative, more positive self that we want to carry into the future. It is important to look at, traumatic events from our past and reprocessing them is extremely vital in overcoming pain that we carry with us from our past. By using EMDR therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, there is a way out of this debilitating cycle, but this is something that you cannot do alone.