Our Research on Developmental Trauma

J & B 1986We began our heuristic research on developmental trauma just after our marriage in 1984. During this period, Janae was working on her doctorate degree in psychology and Barry was working on the manuscript for Breaking Family Patterns. In our first joint writing projects, we began creating a systemic model to help us understand the impact of early developmental issues that had begun emerging in our relationship.

Our parallel and collaborative writing projects motivated us to learn everything we could about early childhood traumafrom conceptual, theoretical, clinical and personal perspectives. At the same time we began creating and testing a variety of clinical interventions, processes and practices for helping ourselves and others heal the effects of early trauma on our social and emotional development. At some point, we began referring to our relationship as a laboratorywhich ultimately created a deep and profound context for all that we did.

Our heuristic research involved a subjective search, through which we discovered the nature and meaning of early traumatic experiences on human development. In general, heuristic research methods help explain how and why people make decisions, come to judgments and solve their problems. Our research lead to the creation of our meta-theory, Developmental Systems Theory and our clinical approach, Developmental Process Work.

Our Research Emerges in Our Writing

We first wrote about developmental trauma and its impact on human development in the 1989 edition of our book, Breaking Free of the Co-dependency Trap. We described developmental trauma in more detail in the 1992 edition of our book, Counter-dependency: The Flight From Intimacy. We first used the actual term “developmental trauma” in print in an article titled, Developmental Process Work in Marriage and Family Therapy in the September/October 1994, Vol. 2, Number 6 issue of the Family Counseling and Therapy Journal.

Healing Developmental TraumaIn 1987 we began co-teaching a Masters Degree course,  Conflict Resolution Strategies, in the Counseling and Human Services program at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. Our approach identified developmental trauma as the primary cause of conflict, particularly intractable conflicts. Between 1995 and 2000, Janae taught a four-course sequence of Developmental Process Work graduate level classes for identifying and treating developmental trauma at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.

In 1997, Janae wrote the first draft of Healing Developmental Trauma, and continued working on the book periodically until 2008. At this time, she & Barry were offered a contract to publish the manuscript as a textbook with Love Publishing in Denver, Colorado. The book was released in June of 2009 as Healing Developmental Trauma: A Systems Approach to Counseling Individuals, Couples and Families.

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