Treating Early Relational Trauma (28)
On this week’s episode of EBT, Bridger and Caleb talk through Perez & Sundheims’ 2015 article on treating early relational trauma.
Psychoanalytic and Attachment Theory
- Because of a baby’s helplessness,
- They have to implement strategies to mitigate it.
- Additionally, if the attachment figure or environment is not reliable this creates anxiety and withdrawal in the infant
- And is a threat to development
- Because the infant depends on the attachment figure for survival.
- Importantly, knowing this can help with understanding older adults’ anxieties
- Because they can be connected back to this early relational trauma
- And the impact of the environment on the infant’s ability to regulate.
- Additionally, this can lead to development favoring fear and arousal
- Instead of regulation and rest.
- Early relational life has a lot of mental and physical health implications.
Attachment Relationship and its Regulatory Function
- Attunement in relationships aids in co-regulation.
- Specifically, the absence of co-regulation leads to over-activation of fear.
- When children are dysregulated, they look to their caregiver
- And if this process is threatened, it can affect development.
- Additionally, adult brains use templates created in childhood to identify threats in their environment.
- Importantly, the lack of caregiver regulation leads to long-term changes in stress responses.
- Our attachment relationships in life are crucial.
Brain Development & Early Relational Trauma
- Without secure attachment and co-regulation the moderating of stress responses is affected
- And the neural architecture of the brain will shift.
- Importantly, this can affect you beyond childhood
- Because you build upon this architecture.
- Caleb shares a client example ( 29:28)
- “The growth of the brain is largely experience dependent” (31:56)
- Additionally, relationship synchronization is needed for an immature brain to mature.
- Children that experienced early relational trauma are unable to self-regulate negative states.
Neurobiological Descriptions of Early Relational Trauma
- The response to early relational trauma is perpetuated by physiological processes
- And this further shapes development.
- Specifically, living in fear distorts sensory perception
- Because of atypical development in the right brain.
- Bridger shares a metaphor (39:24)
- Importantly, be subjective in therapy, not objective
- Because your systems are responsive to the relationship.
Shattered Attachment and Multiple Facets of Loss
- “Attachment strategies are filled with affective experience”
- Attachment theories have shifted to more regulation-oriented theories.
- Importantly, partner and process with the person experiencing trauma.
- Further, attune to the strategies of a child responding to loss
- Don’t dismiss them.
- “Defensive processes are a regular constituent of loss and mourning…”(48:47)
- Additionally, protesting, despairing, and detaching are normal experiences your body uses to mitigate threat.
- And the process of grieving is important.
- When a child loses a caregiver, they lose who they turned to for regulation.
Case Example (53:26)
- “If we are going to treat trauma well, we need to be open to the natural neurobiological processes that find healing” (1:14:38)
- Importantly, providing that safe space to process those natural mechanisms.
- And trying to understand why something was traumatic.
- Additionally, you don’t want the strategies from trauma to become ingrained.
- You want transformative change.
Did you know? After full completion of Beyond Healing Institute’s Somatic Integration and Processing training, each participant can receive 21 NBCC hours.
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Executive Directors: Jennifer and Ryan Savage, Melissa Bentinnedi, Bridger Falkenstein
Hosts: Bridger Falkenstein, Caleb Boston, and Melissa Benintendi
Filmographer: Tyler Wassam
Podcast Editor: Jamie Eggert
Original Music Composers: Bridger Falkenstein and Caleb Boston
Show Notes: Jamie Eggert & Jordan Murray