In the past year I have been enrolled in and engrossed by a certificate course on traumatic stress, offered by The Trauma Center and The Body Keeps the Score author Besel Van Der Kolk. During weekly lectures, I have learned more about different types of traumatic experience and ways to work with these experiences in psychotherapy than I would have previously thought possible!
One particular area of my research is something that is referred to under many different names: Developmental Trauma/Attachment Trauma/Interpersonal Trauma/Early Attachment Wounds/Slow Trauma
This is the trauma that results from a lack of attunement in early life experiences, either in infancy or childhood, with our primary caregivers. The experience of neglect, or of absence of care in the tender moments when we most needed attention, support, loving kindness from the adults in our lives, especially when this lack becomes the standard rather than the exception, can be incredibly damaging on the nascent psyche of a child. It is sometimes called slow trauma because it takes place over time, during repeated experiences of not being reassured, held or supported by a mature adult when we are most in need of care, rather than one specific traumatic event that occurred.
As adults, we can experience the damaging effects of this neglect as feelings of self-doubt, worthlessness, low self-esteem, as a sadness that seems to be without origin, and often, it results in challenges regulating internal states of distress and can lead of chronic anxiety and depression.
A passion of mine is working with individuals dealing with this type of trauma. Through connecting with the inner child that was hurt, deep grieving and cultivating new practices that support and nurture the Self, we can return to the source of the pain and heal the parts of self that most need nurturance.