Effects Of Childhood Trauma

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 200x59 - Effects Of Childhood Trauma

The effects of childhood trauma can be devastating and, in the absence of effective therapy, can last well into adulthood or even for an entire lifetime.

This website contains over 700 articles, all written by psychologist, writer and educator, David Hosier, BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE), himself a survivor of childhood trauma, on the effects of childhood trauma and closely related topics.

The most well known study on the effects of childhood trauma is called The ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study.

The main findings of this extremely important study were as follows :

Those who experience significant childhood trauma are at increased risk of:

  • And, if you explore this website, you will discover that the above list is far from exhaustive when enumerating the myriad effects of childhood trauma.

What Types Of Childhood Trauma Did The Study Focus Upon?

The study focussed upon the following types of childhood trauma :

  • Abuse (emotional, sexual or physical)
  • Living in a household within which a family member who was an alcoholic or drug addict
  • Living in a household within which the mother was physically abused
  • Parental divorce/separation
  • Neglect (emotional or physical)
  • Living in a household in which a family member went to prison
  • Living in a household within which a family member suffered from mental illness

NB The study found that the more of these adverse childhood experiences the child suffered, and the more intense and long lasting they were, the greater the child’s risk of developing the problems listed above.

This website takes the ACE study as its starting point and, if you choose to explore it, you can find a wealth of information about :

UNLOVED AS A CHILD? | HYPNOSIS DOWNLOADS  : CLICK HERE

LET GO OF THE PAST | HYPNOSIS DOWNLOADS : CLICK HERE


David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Enabling Fathers And Narcissistic Mothers

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 200x59 - Enabling Fathers And Narcissistic Mothers

Parents can hurt their children both by acts of commission (what they do) and by acts of omission (what they don’t do). We have seen already how narcissistic mothers can profoundly damage their children, and, if the father does nothing to intervene to prevent such damage occurring it is an act of omission; fathers who commit such acts of omission are often termed ‘enabling fathers’ or, more simply, enablers as, by failing to intervene or take preventative or protective measures, they are enabling the mother to continue her emotional onslaught against the child with impunity, unabated.

It is not unreasonable, then, to regard such non-interventionist fathers as complicit in the mother’s harmful behavior, whether this be due to fear of the mother, weakness of character, simple neglect, ignorance, complacency, moral cowardice or laziness (confronting such a situation requires considerable mental energy, after all).

Indeed, my own father was one such ‘enabler’ and, for the vast majority of the time, could not, or would not, confront my narcissistic mother, preferring instead to try to humor, placate or pacify her (although he did once hit her so hard she was knocked over and heated rows were far from uncommon) and effectively challenge her about her behavior, no matter how disturbing and extreme it became.

In the end, though, unable to tolerate her any longer, he left the family home when I was eight years old and divorced her (on the grounds of her adultery – indeed, she used to taunt my father by telling him he could not satisfy her sexually) not long after, leaving me, as it were, in the lioness’ den (and, to extend the metaphor a little, the den of a lioness who was soon to savagely turn on her very own cub).

It is not at all unusual for fathers to leave the narcissistic mother, as forming a stable, healthy relationship with a narcissist is not a realistic prospect (unless the narcissist undergoes therapy ; however, it is notoriously difficult to persuade narcissists to seek therapy as they tend not to accept there is anything wrong with them  – in their minds it’s everyone who’ve got the problem).

Some fathers, however, do remain living with the narcissistic mother, but not in a relationship which is healthy ; rather, they tend to have enmeshed / codependent / highly dysfunctional relationships with the mother.

Also, if the narcissistic mother is emotionally abusive towards the child, some fathers may take the side of the mother against this child even if they know the mother to be in the wrong so as not to ‘rock the boat’ and have an easier life. This, of course, amounts to complicity. Some such fathers may even agree to physically beat the child at the mother’s behest.

Resource :


DEALING WITH NARCISSIST BEHAVIOR | HYPNOSIS DOWNLOADS : CLICK HERE


 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Basic Needs Of Children And Effect Of Their Denial

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 200x59 - Basic Needs Of Children And Effect Of Their Denial

If we have suffered significant childhood trauma we will, inevitably, have been denied some of our basic needs. But, what exactly are the basic needs of children, and what is the effect of their absence?

The main basic needs of children include the following :

  • a sense of emotional connection to significant others
  • a sense of safety
  • a sense of their own positive qualities
  • the freedom to exercise authentic self-expression
  • an appropriate degree of autonomy
  • appropriate limits

Let’s look at each of these six basic needs of children in a little more detail :

1) A SENSE OF EMOTIONAL CONNECTION WITH SIGNIFICANT OTHERS :

Children need loving, warm, trusting relationships with significant others with whom they are able to be open about, and share, their thoughts, feelings and experiences.

2) A SENSE OF SAFETY :

Children need to live in an environment within which they feel safe including the presence of reliable and dependable parents/primary carers.

3) A SENSE OF THEIR OWN POSITIVE QUALITIES :

Children need to be able to appreciate themselves / feel good about who they are in order to be able to develop healthy self-esteem.

4) AN APPROPRIATE LEVEL OF FREEDOM TO EXERCISE AUTHENTIC SELF-EXPRESSION :

Children need to be allowed and encouraged to develop and express their own views, feelings and attitudes.

5) AN APPROPRIATE DEGREE OF AUTONOMY :

Children need to be gradually encouraged to develop a sense of autonomy as they grow up so that there are eventually able to take care of, and support, themselves independently.

6) APPROPRIATE LIMITS :

Despite children’s need to to be allowed to exercise self-expression and autonomy when appropriate (see above), they also need to learn to over ride these needs when necessary in order to integrate into society and to function effectively within it ; in order to accomplish this, it is also necessary for them to learn to tolerate feelings of frustration.

What Can Be The Effects Of Such Needs Not Being Met?

If the child fails to have these needs met, for example, due to dysfunctional parenting styles, then this child is at increased risk of developing a large range of psychological difficulties depending upon which need/s were not met and the manner in which this deprivation interacts with the particular child’s temperament ; I provide some examples below :

  • The child who grows up without being given the opportunity to develop his/her autonomy may grow up to be overly dependent upon others.
  • The child who is perpetually criticized and seldom/never praised will not develop a healthy sense of his/her own positive qualities which, in turn, is likely to result in poor self-esteem
  • A child who does not grow up feeling safe will be at increased risk of developing an anxiety disorder.

Generally speaking, the more needs that are not properly met, and the greater the extent to which they fail to be met, the more psychologically damaged the child is likely to become. In the most serious cases, the child may be put at risk of developing, in later life, such as borderline personality disorder (BPD) or complex posttraumatic stress disorder (complex PTSD).

RESOURCE :
MEET YOUR HUMAN NEEDS | HYPNOSIS DOWNLOADS
 

ebooks :

 

51WUsNp6LuL. UY250  3 - Basic Needs Of Children And Effect Of Their Denial.  61VHBbAyGwL. UY250  1 - Basic Needs Of Children And Effect Of Their Denial

Above ebooks now available on Amazon for instant download.

Click here for more details.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Why Don’t Doctors Ask About Childhood Trauma?

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 200x59 - Why Don't Doctors Ask About Childhood Trauma?

Why don’t doctors ask about childhood trauma? The ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) study, and a very large body of research besides, has demonstrated beyond all reasonable dispute that if we have suffered significant childhood trauma we are at increased risk of suffering a large range of psychological problems and mental illnesses as adults.

So, if our psychological condition has been significantly contributed to by our childhood trauma, why, say, when we go to the doctor presenting with problems like severe depression or anxiety are we not asked about our childhoods as a matter of course? Surely the CAUSE of our problem has SIGNIFICANT IMPLICATIONS AS TO THE BEST WAY TO TREAT IT?

I myself saw numerous doctors and psychiatrists for years with extremely serious psychiatric difficulties, including depression requiring electro-convulsive shock therapy (ECT) and several spells in hospital. But was I ever asked about my childhood? No.

Why I was too stupid to bring the matter up, I can’t say ; perhaps it’s because the expectation that patients will NOT talk about such matters is implicit within the (woefully limited) parameters of the treatment culture, which tends to concentrate on the medical model (i.e. medication and ECT) and, if one’s lucky, a bit of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) might be tossed into the mix.

I suppose I should be grateful that they no longer subject patients to frontal lobotomies (which, if you’re at all interested, used to be carried out by the brain surgeon/butcher inserting a small icepick type of implement into the brain through the patient’s/hapless victim’s eye socket).

RESEARCH INTO WHY DOCTORS DON’T ASK ABOUT CHILDHOOD TRAUMA :

Happily, some research has been conducted in this area that helps us to understand why doctors don’t ask about childhood trauma. I summarize some of the main findings below :

  • many doctors are uncomfortable talking about sensitive issues surrounding childhood trauma
  • doctors’ clinical training may not have prepared them to deal with issues surrounding childhood trauma
  • some doctors may fear that if they bring up the subject of childhood trauma they may inadvertently ‘plant ideas’ in their patients’ minds (especially in the wake of publicity about ‘false memory syndrome’).
  • there is insufficient ‘in service’ training about the effects of childhood trauma
  • many doctors feel that a discussion about childhood is an inappropriate subject for initial assessments as it may make the patient feel very awkward
  • studies have found when individuals are asked whether they experienced significant childhood trauma and the answer is in the affirmative, frequently they also report that this information has never been recorded on their medical records
  • often individuals do not volunteer information about childhood trauma if not directly asked
  • some doctors may be in denial about the significance of childhood trauma due to their own childhood histories or experiences of living in a dysfunctional family
  • if the doctor knows whole family of patient may fear ‘stirring up trouble.’

Certainly, if I was again at the beginning of my own treatment, I would make sure that the doctor I was seeing was aware of my childhood history. Had I done so, I may have been spared a great deal of trouble!

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

 

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Complex PTSD Treatment

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 200x59 - Complex PTSD Treatment

What is the best complex PTSD treatment?

The NHS (UK) recommend that those suffering from complex PTSD undergo three stages of treatment. These are as follows :

1) STABILISATION

2) TRAUMA-FOCUSED THERAPY

3) REINTEGRATION

Let’s look at each of these a little more closely :

REINTEGRATION

NHS guidelines suggest that during the first stage, stabilsation, the individual being treated for complex PTSD may wish to focus on:

– redeveloping an ability to trust others

– reestablishing an emotional connection with friends and family

– learning to live in the present again (as opposed to staying trapped in the past ). This normally involves learning to feel safe again and reducing the level of fear that traumatic memories have hitherto provoked (often manifested in the disturbing form of nightmares and flashbacks).

The aim of this first stage of treatment is to improve the individual’s level of functioning to the point whereby s/he is able to start functioning again on a daily basis, no longer paralysed by anxiety.

TRAUMA-FOCUSED THERAPY

These include :

(The importance of engaging with an appropriately trained and experienced professional if considering these treatments is emphasized.)

REINTEGRATION

  • i.e. reintegration into society and the development of improved, more trusting relationships with others (one of the hallmarks of complex PTSD is to avoid others and self-isolate, leading to a vicious cycle driven by operant conditioning and loss of confidence).

What About Medication?

In cases whereby psychotherapy is not helpful or appropriate, the NHS (UK) suggest that antidepressants may be of benefit to some individuals.

Links :

For those who would like extremely detailed information relating to ISTSS ‘s guidelines for the treatment of complex PTSD, it is possible to download the relevant PDF from this here.

The main NHS (UK) website can be found by clicking here.

eBook :

51WUsNp6LuL. UY250  2 126x200 - Complex PTSD Treatment

The above eBook is now available from Amazon for instant download. Click on image or here.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Social Support And Posttraumatic Growth

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 200x59 - Social Support And Posttraumatic Growth

We are more likely to cope with trauma, overcome it and go on to experience posttraumatic growth if we have a good social support system around us. Indeed, those with access to good social support systems tend to have both a better sense of general emotional wellness (Henderson and Brown, 1988) and lower levels of depression (Lara et al, 1997) when compared to those individuals who lack social support.

What Are The Benefits Of Having A Good Social Support System?

Human beings are naturally social animals and it is a basic and fundamental instinct for us to try to bond, connect and form attachments with others; the benefits we may gain from such relationships to others when we have experienced trauma include providing us with :

  • a greater sense of meaning in life
  • a greater sense of safety
  • a greater sense of belonging
  • a greater sense of affirmation / self-worth
  • someone to confide in
  • someone to advise us about coping strategies
  • someone to help us understand and process what has happened to us
  • someone who can help us look at what has happened from a new and original perspective
  • someone who can help distract us from our negative ruminations and feelings
  • someone who can help to emotionally sooth us

In fact, having good social support not only improves our psychological health, but also has benefits for our physical health such as strengthening our immune system (Kiecolt-Glaser and Glaser, 1992).

clinical hypnotherapy 728 90 7 - Social Support And Posttraumatic Growth

Perception Of Social Support Versus Actual Social Support :

Research has also found that even if, by any reasonable, objective measure, we are receiving adequate social support during and after traumatic periods its benefits will be greatly diminished if we do not perceive it as adequate ; for example ; if we perceive someone we are close to as being unreceptive when we confide in him/her information about our traumatic experience – irrespective of whether they actually are unreceptive – our sense of emotional well-being will be diminished (Cordova et al., 2001).

From such research we are able to infer that in order for us to have a significantly increased chance of coping with trauma and experiencing posttraumatic growth, it is not necessarily enough to receive adequate social support – we must, too, believe that those providing this support genuinely care about us.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

What Is Clinical Hypnosis?

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 200x59 - What Is Clinical Hypnosis?

What is clinical hypnosis? In the hypnotic state, the individual becomes extremely relaxed and has an increased ability to concentrate and focus which, in turn, can allow him/her to become more receptive to, and respond more positively to, therapy.

Hypnosis, per se, is not a therapy, but, rather, a tool that can increase the effectiveness of therapies administered to the individual whilst that individual is in hypnosis.

When hypnosis is used in this way (as a medium through which other therapies are delivered), it is referred to as hypnotherapy or clinical hypnosis.

Therefore, a person is not actually treated with hypnosis, but, rather, whilst in hypnosis.

Why Might A Therapy Be More Effective When Received In The Hypnotic State ?

It has been theorized that when in hypnosis the individual enters a state of altered consciousness (see below) that, temporarily, dampens down the activity of the conscious/rational parts of the brain which, in turn, allows the therapy being received greater access to the subconscious and, therefore, makes it more likely to help the individual overcome dysfunctional thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

Hypnosis And Brain Wave Studies: 

When in hypnosis, there is increasing evidence to suggest the individual has entered an altered state of consciousness. For example, there are three types of normal consciousness :

  • rapid eye movement (REM) sleep (dreaming)
  • non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep (non-dreaming sleep)
  • being awake

By using brain scanning techniques to monitor brain activity it has been found that, when in hypnosis, the brain produces a different brain-wave pattern when compared to the brain wave patterns generated by each of the above three states of normal consciousness.

clinical hypnotherapy 728 90 4 - What Is Clinical Hypnosis?

Which Therapies May Be Integrated With Hypnosis In Order To Augment Their Effects?

Hypnosis can be used as a tool to increase the effectiveness of various therapies and therapeutic techniques including the following:

  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • person-centered counselling
  • solutions focused therapy
  • cognitive analytic therapy
  • eye movement desensitization and reprocessing
  • therapeutic suggestions
  • exposure therapy
  • free association
  • physical and mental relaxation
  • exposure therapy

Those trained in the use of clinical hypnosis include some doctors, some psychiatrists, some psychologists, some dentists and some practitioners of various types of psychotherapy.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc, PGDE(FAHE)

 

 

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

‘Amygdala Hijack’ And BPD

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 200x59 - 'Amygdala Hijack' And BPD

One of the main, and most problematic, symptoms that those with borderline personality disorder (BPD) suffer from is the experiencing of disproportionately intense emotional responses when under stress and an inability to control them or efficiently recover and calm down once such tempestuous emotions have been aroused. This very serious symptom of BPD is also often referred to as emotional dysregulation.

The main theory as to why such problems managing emotions occur is that damage has been done to the development of the brain region known as the amygdala in early life due to chronic trauma and, consequently, this area of the brain having been overloaded and overwhelmed by emotions such as fear and anxiety during early development causing a longterm malfunction which can extend well into adulthood or even endure for the BPD sufferer’s entire lifespan (in the absence of effective therapy).

The damage done to the development of the amygdala means that, as adults, when under stress, BPD sufferers are frequently likely to experience what is sometimes referred to as an emotional highjack or, as in the title of this article, an amygdala hijack.

What Is ‘Amygdala Hijack’ And How Does It Prevent Emotional Calm?

When external stimuli are sufficiently stressful, the amygdala ‘shuts down’ the prefrontal cortex (the prefrontal cortex is responsible planning, decision making and intellectual abilities).

In this way, when a certain threshold of stress is passed (and this threshold in far lower in BPD sufferers than the average person’s) the amygdala (responsible for generating emotions, particularly negative emotions such as anxiety, fear and aggression) essentially ‘takes over’ and ‘overrides’ the prefrontal cortex.

download 3 5 - 'Amygdala Hijack' And BPD

Above : under sufficient stress the prefrontal cortex (the seat of rational thought) is shut down, leaving the amygdala (the seat of intense, negative emotions like anxiety, fear and aggression) to ‘run riot.’

As such, the prefrontal cortex ‘goes offline’ leaving the BPD sufferer flooded with negative emotional responses and unable to reason, by logic or rational thought processes, his/her way out of them.

When the amygdala is ‘highjacked’ in this way, there are three main signs. These are :

1) An intense emotional reaction to the event (or external stimuli)

2) The onset of this intense emotional reaction is sudden

3) It is not until the BPD sufferer has calmed down and the prefrontal cortex comes ‘back online’  (which takes far longer for him/her than it would for the average person) that s/he realizes his/her response (whilst under ‘amygdala highjacking’) was inappropriate, often giving rise to feelings of embarrassment, humiliation, guilt, remorse and regret.

Resources:

Click here for further information.

 

eBook :

61VHBbAyGwL. UY250  - 'Amygdala Hijack' And BPD

Above eBook now available on Amazon. Click here for further information.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

 

 

 

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Borderline Personality Disorder Is Not A Choice

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 200x59 - Borderline Personality Disorder Is Not A Choice

Nobody chooses to suffer from borderline personality disorder ; this is obvious.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is probably the most tormenting and agonizing psychiatric condition known to man. One in ten sufferers end up killing themselves after years, or even decades, of appalling mental suffering. Due to the disturbed behavior that accompanies BPD,  sufferers may become social pariahs and/or be rejected by their families – in the latter case, often by the very family member/s who have played a major role in causing the disorder ; I have said elsewhere that this is rather like somebody cutting off all your limbs and then blaming you for bleeding for over them. Or injecting you with a cancer causing agent and then blaming you for wasting away and dying.

One of the great torments of BPD sufferers is a belief that they are bad and that their behavior is due to some fundamental character flaw rather than due to a desperately serious psychiatric condition. It is this false belief (frequently caused by internalizing parental negative views of them whilst growing up) that contributes to many of the suicides and, as such, is a belief which is in urgent need of correcting.

On what grounds do I make this assertion? I summarize them below :

  • DAMAGE DONE TO THE PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE BRAIN:

The physical development of the following three brain regions is affected by our upbringing in early life and this physical development may be adversely affected if that upbringing is significantly dysfunctional.

  • AMYGDALA
  • HIPPOCAMPUS
  • ORBITOFRONTAK CORTEX

download 2 4 - Borderline Personality Disorder Is Not A Choice

Let’s look at each in turn:

AMYGDALA : This part of the brain controls emotions and, especially, negative emotions like fear, anxiety and aggression. It follows that because the amygdala has developed abnormally in BPD sufferers, they will be prone to experiencing abnormal levels of fear, anxiety and aggression.

HIPPOCAMPUS : This part of the brain plays a significant role in our ability to exert self-control. Again, it follows that because the hippocampus has developed abnormally in BPD sufferers, they will have difficulties with self-control, leading to impulsive and self-destructive behaviors.

ORBITOFRONTAL CORTEX : This part of the brain is involved with planning and decision making. Yet again, it follows that because the orbitofrontal cortex has developed abnormally in BPD sufferers, they will have problems planning ahead (including poor ability to consider future implications of behaviors or to act in a premeditated or carefully deliberated manner) and be prone to irrational and illogical decision-making.

Furthermore, these three brain areas play a very significant role in mood regulation / our ability to control how we feel. As these three areas have developed abnormally in BPD sufferers, this helps to explain why their moods can fluctuate so dramatically, in turn leading to extensive problems both forming and maintaining healthy relationships with others.

Now, consider this : If a person was hit on the head with a hammer, causing brain damage which, in turn, affected how s/he felt and behaved, should s/he (the person hit) be blamed for this change in behavior? No, of course not. So, why should a different view be taken in the case of BPD sufferers? Indeed, to take a different view would seem suspiciously like discrimination against mental illness and a failure of imagination in regard to how devastating the infliction of emotional suffering can be.
clinical hypnotherapy 728 90 8 - Borderline Personality Disorder Is Not A Choice

Types Of Dysfunctional Upbringing That May Damage These Brain Regions :

These include :

  • suffering abuse from parent/primary carer
  • being neglected by parent/primary carer
  • being brought up by a parent with a significant mental health problem
  • being brought up by a parent/primary carer who is an alcoholic
  • being brought up by a parent/primary carer who is a drug addict

What About The Role Of Genes?

There is NOT a gene for BPD.

However, some may be born with a greater vulnerability to being adversely affected by stressful environments due to high levels of sensitivity.

eBook :

61VHBbAyGwL. UY250  - Borderline Personality Disorder Is Not A Choice

Above eBook now available from Amazon for instant download. Click here for further details.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Ego State Therapy For Treatment Of CPTSD

cropped childhood trauma fact sheet15 200x5921 200x59 - Ego State Therapy For Treatment Of CPTSD

EGO STATE THERAPY is an approach to treating complex posttraumatic stress disorder (cPTSD) and is sometimes referred to as ‘parts work.’

In particular, this therapy is designed to help treat symptoms of CPTSD which come under the headings of :

  • avoidance symptoms
  • intrusive symptoms
  • depressive symptoms

Let’s briefly look at each of these three types of symptoms :

AVOIDANCE SYMPTOMS :

These include avoiding places, people, events and situations which remind one of one’s past trauma. However, individuals often employ psychological defenses (usually unconsciously) as a way of avoiding accepting the reality of their childhood traumatic experiences; these psychological defenses include :

Finally, people who have suffered traumatic childhoods may use dysfunctional coping strategies to avoid their emotional pain which, in turn, can lead to addictions such as :

  • addiction to alcohol
  • addiction to drugs (both illegal and prescribed such as sleeping tablets and tranquilizers)
  • addiction to gambling
  • sex addiction
  • comfort food / carbohydrate addiction
  • excessive exercise
  • addiction to self-cutting / self-harm with short-term effect of relieving unbearable stress/anxiety

INTRUSIVE SYMPTOMS :

These include nightmares, flashbacks, hypervigilance, anxiety, feelings of aggression and irritablity ; such symptoms can also be categorized as high-arousal symptoms.

DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS :

These include despair, shame, inadequacy, unworthiness, hopelessness, helplessness and a sense of being trapped in a tormenting frame of mind, with no escape route (this is sometimes referred to as ‘learned helplessness.’
Feeling one has no hope is a particularly invidious symptom as it is known that feelings of hope, even when highly distressed over long periods, lowers the probability of suicide attempts; logically, therefore, the opposite holds true.

Depressive symptoms can also be categorized as low-arousal symptoms.

‘PARTS’ WORK :

Ego states theory involves a technique known as parts work.

Parts work is based upon the theory that as a psychological defense we unconsciously ‘compartmentalize’ different aspects of our personalities to enable us to ‘mentally partition-off’ the ‘parts’ of ourselves that we find unacceptable, and/or that contain intolerable memories, from the more acceptable ‘parts’ of ourselves that allow (at least a semblance of) day-to-day functioning.

These ‘parts’, or ego states, that hold we find unacceptable and/or hold distressing memories frequently reflect earlier developmental phases in our lives that occurred during our traumatic childhood and that are therefore related to traumatic memories.

How Can These Parts That Reflect Earlier Developmental Phases Manifest Themselves Now We Are Adults?

These parts may manifest themselves when we are under stress in the form of regressive behaviors.

For example, under extreme stress we may display child-like tantrums or behave in an aggressive, rebellious manner like that of a young teenager. Or, when upset, we may curl up on our beds clutching a soft toy.

Internalized Parts :

We may, too, possess ‘parts’ of ourselves that we have internalized from emotionally significant others (usually parents or primary-carers) during our childhood.

For example, if we had a parent who was highly critical of us when we were children, we may find we are prone to judging ourselves with a very unforgiving and self-lacerating attitude, constantly feeling that we failed to meet the exacting standards that we’ve set ourselves.

Or, if we had a parent / primary-carer who was highly religious and regarded us as fundamentally flawed and sinful, we may, as adults, find ourselves tormented by fears of ‘eternal damnation’.

INTERNAL FAMILY SYSTEMS (IFS) THERAPY:

IFS therapy is perhaps the most well known therapy to incorporate ‘parts work.’ It is based on the idea that the individual has three types of parts; these are as follows :

  • Exile parts
  • Manager parts
  • Firefighter parts

download 1 7 - Ego State Therapy For Treatment Of CPTSD

Let’s briefly look at each of these in turn :

EXILE PARTS :

As the name suggests, these are the parts of ourselves that developed as a result of the damage done to our personalities by our childhood trauma and which we largely keep banished and cut off from conscious awareness / repressed / suppressed.

The exile parts are kept closed off from conscious awareness as a means of psychological self-protection as these parts contain distressing memories and painful emotions such as neediness/dependency, intense anger, grief, fear, shame, loneliness and vulnerability.

MANAGER PARTS :

These are the parts of ourselves that try to keep us in control and allow us to function on a day-to-day basis and keep extreme/distressing/counterproductive emotions at bay. Frequently, too, these parts are extremely self-critical.

FIREFIGHTER PARTS :

These parts attempt to protect us from the emotional pain the comes upon us when our exile parts start to break through and impinge upon our consciousness and behavior (as may happen,for instance, during periods of intense stress and/or when we are reminded – either consciously or unconsciously – of our childhood trauma).

However, they do this by causing us to behave in impulsive, and, in the long-term, self-destructive ways such as excessive drinking, abuse of narcotics, workaholism, risky, promiscuous sex, gambling and overeating.

Link :

To learn more about IFS therapy and how it works, click here.

EBook:

DIGITAL BOOK THUMBNAIL 1 1 - Ego State Therapy For Treatment Of CPTSD

Above eBook now available on Amazon for instant download. Click here.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery