Adults who find it difficult to emotionally self-regulate often have an early history of psychological trauma. Chronic abuse in childhood does not allow the child to form a secure, safe, and reliable attachment to their caretakers. Intense traumatic events are too powerful for a toddler, preschooler, or older child to process inside a chaotic environment. As a result, many of them grow up without learning how to emotionally self-regulate and become distressed when they have to adjust to other environments. Individuals with this type of disorganized/insecure attachment tend towards emotional dysregulation, which becomes apparent when they are under stress.
Adults who are particularly vulnerable to reactivity find it difficult to focus, organize their thoughts around actual reality, or deal with their feelings effectively. And when they react to a stressful event, rather than respond after examining it, they cannot easily return to a normal state by resolving their emotional dysregulation within a reasonable period of time after the stressful occurrence ends. Developmental trauma leaves individuals vulnerable to emotional states of chaos and/or rigidity that make it difficult to create or maintain comfortable and stable social connections or intimate relationships.
My goal in therapy is to offer empathic support and relief to this particular population of individuals who have survived the painful experiences of childhood trauma. I keep myself informed on the neurological research of brain plasticity and am excited to read study after study that show that the brain can heal and change old emotional learnings.
In addition to using Dr. Francine Shapiro's creation of EMDR protocol, and Coherence Therapy methodology in my practice, I also teach my clients the implementation of Mindfulness exercises which are described in the books of Daniel Siegel, M.D. and in one of his lectures recorded on October 8, 2014, “Attachment, Trauma & Psychotherapy: Neural Integration as a Pathway to Resilience and Well-Being.” Dr. Siegel discusses how Mindsight can successfully be applied in the regulation of the mind, as well as in the treatment of disorganized attachment caused by developmental trauma. As I sit with my clients and introduce them to the latest methods that can help them break the dysfunctional cycle that was learned long ago, I like to keep in mind Dr. Siegel’s insight on the nature of psychotherapy in the treatment of disorganized attachment caused by early trauma:
“…psychotherapy is about breaking the pattern of cross-generational passage of insecure attachment…”(2014)
Helpful Links on Trauma and Mindfulness
Daniel J.Siegel, Mindsight: The New Science Of Personal Transformation
(New York: Bantam Books, 2010).
Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy by Francine Shapiro, PhD (March 26, 2013)
Robin Shapiro, The Trauma Treatment Handbook: Protocols across the spectrum
(New York: W. W. Norton, 2010).
Daniel J.Siegel, Reflections On The Mindful Brain: Measuring the immeasurable: the scientific case for spirituality (Boulder, CO: Sounds True, Inc. 2008).
Welcome to a journey into the heart of our lives. Being mindfully aware, attending to the richness of our experiences, creates scientifically recognized enhancements in our physiology, our mental functions, and our interpersonal relationships.
“Mindfulness as an Attuned Relationship with Oneself”
communityofmindfulparenting.com/research/Siegel-Mindfulness.pdf by DJ Siegel - Related articles
Daniel J.Siegel, The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being
(New York: WW Norton 2007).
Rachael Crowder, “Mindfulness based feminist therapy: The intermingling edges of self-compassion and social justice,” Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought 35.1-2 (2016): 24-40.
Brian L. Thompson and Jennifer Waltz, “Self‐compassion and PTSD symptom severity," Journal of Traumatic Stress 21.6 (2008): 556-558.
Mindfulness And Trauma: Implications For Treatment
Victoria Follette, University of Nevada, USA
Kathleen M. Palm, Brown Medical School/Butler Hospital
Adria N. Pearson, University of Nevada
Rachael D. Goodman and Angela M. Calderon, “ The Use of Mindfulness in Trauma Counseling,” Journal of Mental Health Counseling 34.3 (2012): 254.