Healing Developmental Trauma in Children

child in shockHealing developmental trauma in children is possible. We know this because Janae has also trained many clinicians, childcare providers and early childhood educators to heal developmental trauma in the children that they work with. And we also have helped each other heal the “inner child” inside us.

Developmental trauma describes a spectrum of parent-child experiences involving energetic disconnects in their emotional attunement during the first three years of life. Our definition of developmental trauma specifically recognizes the chronic effects of subtle emotional disconnects between children and their caregivers. These energetic disconnects often draw no attention from adult caregivers, even though they cause trauma, shock and stress reactions in young children.

Dev StressWe believe that developmental trauma, shock and stress reactions in children are correlated with mothers who have a Disorganized Attachment Style. Mothers with this style often dissociate or children experience them as scary or dangerous. When mothers dissociate, the child experiences this energetic disconnect and they react. When mothers display behavior towards the child that children perceive as scary or dangerous, the child has an aversion reaction that causes them to withdraw from her and break their resonance.

Healing Developmental Trauma in Children

schore + shockHealing developmental trauma, shock and stress in infants and very small children requires caring adults who can emotional synchronize with them via right brain-to-right brain attunement, skin-to-skin and eye-to-eye contact, and hearing kind and comforting words. This is particularly true for infants, whose primary reaction to energetic disconnects is a shock reaction in which they often fall into the “black hole” and dissociate.

Infants also need to experience protection and safety from their mother during gestation, birth and the first years of life. Unfortunately, most parents have not been educated about children’s social and emotional needs and lack skills for supporting their child emotionally when they become upset.

The Biggest Challenge

There are few adults who have fully experienced emotional attunement with their own parents when they were children. This makes it difficult for them to respond to children’s needs for nurturing, protection, safety and guidance in timely and appropriate ways. They also do not correlate their deficiencies in their own parenting experiences with their own day-to-day struggles to effectively parent their own children.

Adults who have healed their own inner child wounds through inner work, psychotherapy or support groups are the most capable of healing developmental trauma, shock and stress in the young children they care for. Without this, there is a high probability of the adults inflicting their own traumas on the children and becoming an agent of intergenerational trauma.

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