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Childhood Trauma

Childhood trauma is also recognised as developmental trauma as it is occurs during the period of time when a person is developing their 'blueprint' for their future in both body and mind. Below I will discuss this area of clinical interest and how I might approach it with you. 

Content WarningPlease be advised that the following content might trigger you as it discusses themes around trauma (specifically developmental trauma).

Judith Lewis Herman described that, "Many abused children cling to the hope that growing up will bring escape and freedom. But the personality formed in an environment of coercive control is not well adapted to adult life. The survivor is left with fundamental problems in basic trust, autonomy, and initiative. She approaches the tasks of early adulthood-establishing independence and intimacy-burdened by major impairments in self-care, in cognition and memory, in identity, and in the capacity to form stable relationships. She is still a prisoner of her childhood; attempting to create a new life, she reencounters the trauma" (from her book, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror).


Developmental trauma impacts the way that we develop (as the term suggests). Theorists such as Nadine Burke Harris explore how trauma can impact us at a DNA level, through intergenerational transmission or dependent on the period of time it occurs. Developmental trauma can change our ability to assert our needs and create boundaries, as well as our ability to be 'present' in our everyday life (amongst many other experiences). 


This complex trauma impacts us both body and mind, and therefore the approach would look at attachment history, what was happening in childhood, any environmental stressors at a young age (e.g. poverty) as well as how the body is holding onto that trauma and the associated triggers. In the space we will create a safe environment within which we can explore at a steady pace, ensuring you have the healthy coping mechanisms to explore, or even to work more on how to create a better way of functioning through learning your triggers and compassionately understanding what purpose they might serve in your life presently. 

In Therapy
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“Attempts to stop smoking or give up any sort of self-destructive addictive behavior such as drugs, alcohol, hypersexuality, overeating, or overworking, often fail because it is very difficult to give up a means of self-regulation even when it is unhealthy until it can be replaced with a better form of self-regulation.”

From Laurence Heller's, 'Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship'

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