Healing Developmental Trauma: A Systemic Approach for Counseling Individuals, Couples and Families, presents a comprehensive framework for understanding the pervasive influence of developmental shock, trauma and stress on humanity’s evolution. The product of twenty-five years of research by the Weinholds, former professors at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, this book also presents a comprehensive clinical approach for healing developmental trauma, and breaks new ground in the practice of counseling, social work and marriage and family therapy.
This ground-breaking book is based on twenty-five years of research as mental health practitioners and former professors at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs.
Here you’ll find important concepts from this book, along with self-inventories and other excerpted materials. Click here to look at the book’s Table of Contents.
Much of our clinical research about developmental trauma came from working with people who have middle to high levels of education, moderate levels of self-awareness awareness and come from more functional family backgrounds. In our clinical practices and therapy intensives, we referred potential clients with symptoms of chronic mental illnesses, severe addictions and multiple diagnoses to other professionals who specialize in these areas.
The experience at the heart of developmental shock, trauma and stress involves the loss of emotional attunement between infants and their parents, particularly their mothers, during the first three years of life.
This attunement is a sensory experience that involves visual, auditory, olfactory and proprioceptive engagement that enlivens both the child and the adult caregiver. When this attunement is disrupted too frequently or for too long during the first six to eight months of life, infants fall into dissociative shock states.
As children reach the toddler stage and have more internal resources for coping with the loss of attunement with their caregivers, they are more likely to experience trauma or stress states rather than shock. Infants nervous systems come wired for experiences of attunement. These early experiences of either emotional attunement or mis-attunement create a template for all subsequent relationships, for adult mental and physical health.
Watch Dr. David Arredondo talk about Attunement and Why It Matters in this Video:
The core experience of developmental shock, trauma and stress involves the loss of emotional attunement between infants and their parents, particularly their mothers, during the first three years of life. Our approach to Healing Developmental Trauma emphasizes knowing how to distinguish between shock, trauma and stress.
Intimate Relationships as a Healing Crucible
Our focus is helping individuals and committed couples learn how to use these intimate relationships as crucibles for healing developmental shock, trauma and stress, and to support them in conceiving, birthing and parenting their children more consciously and more effectively.
For about eight years during our early clinical practice, we worked intensively with individuals, couples and families. Janae’s practice focused primarily on women and their issues and Barry’s on men and their issues. We almost always worked as co-therapists when counseling couples and families to help prevent triangulation dynamics from surfacing. We typically began counseling couples with each of us working separately with the partners, then coaching them together in implementing their skills as a couple. Perhaps the most rewarding part of our work was our practice of making house calls to help couples integrate their work with us into their family.
Our Relationship Becomes a LOVE-atory
At some point in our relationship, we began referring to it as a LOVE-atory because we recognized that we had the same issues that other couples face in their efforts to experience conscious intimacy. What we shared in our psychotherapy work with other couples grew out of our personal experiences in healing our own developmental traumas.
You can find much of the information we’ve written about our personal healing journeys and our with individuals, couples and families in our other books: Breaking Free of the Codependency Trap, The Flight From Intimacy, and Conflict Resolution: The Partnership Way.
See Related Posts below for more information about the impact of developmental shock, trauma and stress on both mental and physical health.
Healing Developmental Trauma: A Systems Approach for Counseling Individuals, Couples & Families Janae B. Weinhold & Barry K. Weinhold.
Developmental Trauma is a subtle and difficult to recognize form of relational trauma caused by physical and/or emotional abandonment, physical and/or emotional neglect and physical and/or emotional abuse during the first three years of life. It involves distorted beliefs, a split inside the child’s sense of Self and disturbances or distortions in relational dynamics. It also leaves imprints in children’s developing nervous systems that cause PTSD-like behavioral symptoms.
Virtually all experiences of Developmental Trauma involve an energetic disconnect between the child and caregiver that is too long for the child to tolerate and is, therefore, traumatic.
This book examines this groundbreaking concept and its long-term impact and presents maps and tools to help readers identify how its presence. The last part of the book describes a method for healing these early traumas in primary relationships and in therapy.