“The traumatic stress field has adopted the term “Complex Trauma” to describe the experience of multiple and/or chronic and prolonged, developmentally adverse traumatic events, most often of an interpersonal nature (e.g., sexual or physical abuse, war, community violence) and early-life onset. These exposures often occur within the child’s caregiving system and include physical, emotional, and educational neglect and child maltreatment beginning in early childhood.”
– Developmental Trauma Disorder”
― Bessel A. van der Kolk
People who have survived significant developmental trauma often show behaviours that seem to be counterproductive. They act in ways that can make their situation worse, and the degree of behavioural response seems, at times, to be unrelated to the the size of any triggering stimulus.
This is a direct result of the impact that developmental trauma can have on the developing brain, people who have such Trauma Organised Brains, may behave in ways that appear to make little sense to a rational observer. However, with the greater understanding that modern neuroscience is providing about brain functioning, such apparently irrational actions and damaging responses can be more clearly understood. Continue reading →
“I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.”
― Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
In my day-to-day working life I see many young people. Many of them have been given various mental illness diagnoses. While many of these are correct according to our “diagnostic” manuals, they add little to helping a young person find workable solutions to their dilemma.
As a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, I feel that my remit should lie in working to improve mental health and not just in treating mental “illness”. This is supported by the organisation for which I work.
The Recovery Model lies at the heart of its philosophy of care and is one of its guiding principles. This means that we should focus on helping young people, and their families, to enable the young person to lead the best possible life, no matter the nature, or degree of illness, or what sort of difficulties that they have.
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