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Below is a collection of various blog posts meant to encourage, inspire or educate. Grab a steaming mug of hot liquid this weekend and steal away to a quiet corner for some quick reads.
If there is one piece of advice that I would offer to parents and others who are interacting with children who are exhibiting challenging behaviors as a result of a trauma history, it is this: view the child as a hurt child in need of healing rather than a bad child in need of correction.
Developmental trauma starts in utero when there’s not much more than a brain stem, and goes on during the pre-conscious years. It usually continues until 36 months when the thinking brain (frontal cortex) comes on line. It’s 45 months ranging from general anxiety to non-stop terror — before age 3. A very long time to an infant.
Psychomotor therapy is neither widely practiced nor supported by clinical studies. In fact, most licensed psychiatrists probably wouldn’t give it a second glance. It’s hokey-sounding. It was developed by a dancer. But van der Kolk believes strongly that dancers — and musicians and actors — may have something to teach psychiatrists about healing from trauma and that even the hokey-sounding is worthy of our attention. He has spent four decades studying and trying to treat the effects of the worst atrocities we inflict on one another: war, rape, incest, torture and physical and mental abuse. He has written more than 100 peer-reviewed papers on psychological trauma. Trained as a psychiatrist, he treats more than a dozen patients a week in private practice — some have been going to him for many years now — and he oversees a nonprofit clinic in Boston, the Trauma Center, that treats hundreds more. If there’s one thing he’s certain about, it’s that standard treatments are not working. Patients are still suffering, and so are their families. We need to do better.