David Hosier MSc. Founder of childhoodtraumarecovery.com

Author Archives: David Hosier Msc

Holder of MSc and post graduate teaching diploma in psychology. Highly experienced in education. Founder of childhoodtraumarecovery.com. Survivor of severe childhood trauma.

What Types Of Parents Are More Likely To Physically Abuse Their Children?

why do parents physically abuse their children?

Stith’s (2009) Meta-Analysis :

A study carried out by Stith et al. (2009) reviewed 155 other studies (this is called a meta-analysis) that had already been carried out in order to identify factors that put the child at risk of physical abuse by his/her parents.

In order to identify these factors, one part of Stith’s study examined which particular characteristics of the parent put that person at increased risk of physically abusing his/her child. I list these characteristics below :

Characteristics Of Parents That Increase The Probability That They Will Be Physically Abusive Towards Their Child/Children (according to Stith’s, 2009 meta-analysis of 155 previously published studies) :

  • alcohol abuse by parent
  • the parent is single
  • the parent is unemployed
  • the parent abuses drugs
  • the parent approves of corporal punishment as a means of instilling discipline in / control over the child
  • parent has poor coping skills
  • parent has health problems
  • parent has poor problem solving skills
  • parent lacks social support
  • parent is involved in criminal behavior
  • parent is under significant stress
  • parent suffers from significant anxiety
  • parents suffers from mental illness
  • parent suffers from depression
  • parent suffers from low self-esteem
  • parent has problems controlling own anger
  • parent had dysfunctional relationship with own parent/s
  • parent suffers from hyper-reactivity / has poor control of emotions

Which Of The Above Are The Biggest Risk Factors?

According to Stith’s (2009) research, of the 18 risk factors listed above, those which put the parent at highest risk of physically abusing his/her child were as follows :

  • parental hyper-reactivity
  • parental problems controlling own anger

Other Considerations : Family Factors :

Stith also found that, in addition to the above factors, certain factors relating to the family could also increase the risk of a parent physically abusing his/her child. These were as follows :

  • poor level of family cohesion
  • significant conflict within the family
  • low level of marital satisfaction
  • violence between the spouses
  • low socioeconomic status
  • the family includes a non-biological parent
  • size of family
Which Of These Family Factors Put The Child Most At Risk Of Being Physically Abused Within The Home?

According to Stith’s (2009) research, of the seven risk factors listed above, those which put the parent at highest risk of physically abusing his/her child were as follows :

  • significant family conflict
  • poor level of family cohesion

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)

Childhood Trauma May Damage Prefrontal Cortex : How To Help Reverse Such Damage.

how to reverse damage to prefrontal cortex

how to reverse damage to prefrontal cortex

We have seen from other articles that I have published on this site that severe and chronic psychological and emotional trauma in early life may adversely affect the physical development of various structures in the brain, including the prefrontal cortex. In individuals who have gone on to develop borderline personality disorder (BPD) or complex post traumatic stress disorder (cPTSD) following childhood trauma, such impairment to the brain is thought to be particularly likely.

What Is The Prefrontal Cortex And What Is Its Function?

The prefrontal cortex is a brain region located in the front of the skull (see diagram below) and its main functions include :

  • self-control in the context of social behavior
  • setting and achieving goals

reverse damage to prefrontal cortex

ABOVE : Position of frontal cortex in the brain

Evidence For Damage To The Prefrontal Cortex In Individuals Diagnosed With BPD:

MRI Studies : have shown that individuals with BPD have reduced volume in the brain’s frontal lobe and left orbitofrontal cortex (although further studies are required in order to ascertain if this link is causal).

fMRI Studies : have shown that BPD sufferers experience abnormal activation in the brain’s inferolateral prefrontal cortex in response to stimuli that generate negative emotions as well as unusually elevated levels of activation of the orbitofrontal cortex during the recollection of traumatic memories

Other Brain Imaging Studies : have suggested that BPD sufferers have an abnormally low density of neurons and abnormal neuronal function in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex as well as abnormally low blood flow to the ventrolateral right prefrontal cortex.

(More research needs to be conducted in order to shed further light upon the nature of the link between childhood trauma, BPD and impaired physiological development of the prefrontal cortex. Furthermore, there exists evidence to suggest that severe an chronic childhood trauma can adversely affect the development of other brain regions including the amygdala and the hippocampus).

Potential Adverse Effects Of Damage To The Prefrontal Cortex :

If a person incurs physiological damage to the development of their prefrontal cortex as a result of severe and protracted childhood trauma, it follows that the functions of the prefrontal cortex may be commensurately impaired, including the functions listed above (i.e. complex planning and decision making; self-control in social situations; setting and achieving goals; and impulse control).

Reversing The Damage :

We can employ various methods that mat help to reverse such damage and I list some of the main ones below :

RESOURCES :

eBook :

Above eBook now available on Amazon for immediate download. Click here for further details.

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

BPD And Rigid Thinking

inflexible thinking

bpd and rigid thinking

One of the main hallmarks of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is the pronounced tendency of those who suffer from it to display marked rigidity in relation to both their thought processes and behaviors. 

This means that, when events occur, the way in which the BPD sufferer interprets them tend to be habitual and fixed and it is very difficult indeed for him/her to adopt a more flexible view or alternative perspective ; instead, once the rigid way of interpreting events formulated in his/her mind, it becomes a kind of idée fixe (the problem is compounded, of course, because, very frequently, such rigid thinking also leads to rigid, inflexible behavior) that s/he, terrier-like, refuses, seemingly at all costs (even if such incurred costs are extraordinarily, perhaps tragically, high), to relinquish (sometimes, it has to be said, provoking great exasperation, pain and frustration in others, particularly those who are not well versed in the disorder).

Rigid thinking patterns are associated with poor mental health, not least because it can give rise to obsessive worry and rumination (intensely and chronically focusing on one’s problems) and a dysfunctional way of interacting with others.

rigid thinking

RIGID THINKING EXAMPLES :

Examples of rigid beliefs include :

  • others should always agree with me and see things from exactly the same perspective as I do
  • others should never behave in ways of which I disapprove
  • if others don’t agree with me it’s because they’re stupid
  • I need to always be right
  • things must go perfectly
  • I must be liked and approved of by everyone at all times
  • others can NEVER be trusted and will always eventually screw you over

cognitive rigidity

Core Beliefs :

Our fundamental core beliefs about ourselves, others and the world in general develop early on in childhood and this period of development is closely related to how flexible / inflexible our ‘thinking style’ becomes. If this period is traumatic, stressful and involves chronically dysfunctional relationships with significant others (most of all, our primary carer) we are at high risk of developing negative core beliefs and a rigid way of thinking that can very seriously harm our adult lives including our intimate relationships, friendships and career. To read my article, previously published on this site, which explains more about core beliefs, click here

Possible Therapies :

Therapies that can help you change your core beliefs and correct a dysfunctional, rigid thinking style that derive, at least in part, from the theories of Albert Ellis (a pioneer and expert in this field of psychology) include rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT)cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)  and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

RETURN TO BPD AND CHILDHOOD TRAUMA MAIN ARTICLE

RETURN HOME TO ABOUT CHILDHOOD TRAUMA RECOVERY

RESOURCES :

FLEXIBLE ATTITUDE – SELF HYPNOSIS DOWNLOADS

STOP HAVING A CLOSED MIND – SELF HYPNOSIS DOWNLOADS

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

Choosing An Online Psychiatrist – click here.

Vast Majority Of Parental Maltreatment Of Children Unacknowledged

childhood-trauma-recovery

Parental Maltreatment Of Children :

Except in very extreme cases, such as severe physical abuse, the vast majority of parental mistreatment of children not only goes unreported, but is unacknowledged and, essentially, ignored (although this situation is gradually improving as people become more educated about the potentially devastating effects of bad parenting).

Emotional Abuse :

In particular, emotional abuse can be very subtle yet profoundly insidious and damaging (more so, even, than physical or sexual abuse) and very frequently goes ‘under the radar’. However, the UK government have recently started to take steps to rectify this travesty (in connection with this, you may wish to read my previously published article entitled : EMOTIONAL ABUSE AND THE LAW).

effects-of-emotional-abuse

Examples Of Unacknowledged/Ignored Parental Maltreatment Of Children :

The above list, of course, is not exhaustive.

eBook :

 eeffects-of-childhood-trauma-ebook

Above eBook, The Devastating Effects Of Childhood Trauma, is now available for instant download from Amazon. Click here, or on the above image, for further details.

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

Should BPD Treatment Be More Individualized?

Should BPD Treatment Be More Individualized?

should BPD treatment be more individualized?

Problems Relating To The Diagnosis Of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD):

In order to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) an individual must suffer from AT LEAST FIVE SYMPTOMS out of a total of NINE listed in the DSM V (The Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, Fifth edition). These nine symptoms are listed in the table presented below :

symptoms of BPD DSM 5

It logically follows, therefore, that two individuals could BOTH BE DIAGNOSED WITH FIVE OF THE ABOVE SYMPTOMS, YET HAVE ONLY ONE OF THESE SYMPTOMS IN COMMON WITH ONE ANOTHER.

However, despite the fact that BPD can manifest itself in very different ways in different individuals, when it comes to therapy we often find that a ‘one-size fits all‘ approach is taken.

Should BPD Treatment Be More Individualized?

 

Furthermore, the different therapies available for the treatment of BPD tend to focus upon a presumed, single, fundamental, underlying ‘core feature’ of the disorder, yet these features differ depending upon the selected form of therapy. In other words, different types of therapy for BPD are predicated upon differing theories the disorder. In his excellent book, Integrated Modular Treatment For Borderline Personality Disorder, Livesly, a leading expert in the treatment of borderline personality disorder, provides the following examples :

DIALECTICAL BEHAVIOR THERAPY – this therapy focuses primarily upon the symptom emotional dysregulation or, in other words, the inability to control intense, volatile and quickly fluctuating emotions. (To read my article about dialectical behavior therapy, please click here).

MENTALIZATION BASED THERAPY – this therapy assumes the main difficulty that BPD patients suffer from is a marked impairment of their ability to ‘mentalize’ –(To read my post explaining what ‘mentalization’ is, and what may cause impairment to a person’s ability to mentalize,please click here).

TRANSFERENCE-FOCUSED THERAPY – this therapy is predicated upon the notion that the BPD sufferer’s primary problem is a disturbance in his/her fundamental personality structure

SCHEMA-FOCUSED THERAPY – this therapy assumes that the BPD sufferer’s main underlying problem is his/her maladaptive schemas which s/he developed as a result of a dysfunctional childhood. (Click here to read my previously published article entitled : Childhood Trauma Leading To The Development Of Negative Schema.)

And, of course, Livesly points out, the ‘core features’ / symptoms that these different therapies focus, and the different theories that underpin them, dictate the ‘modus operandi in relation to the forms of treatment they provide.

Conclusion :

Because BPD is a multifaceted disorder and those who suffer from it will present with different constellations of serious symptoms, treating them with therapies that focus primarily on just one core feature (as in the case of the four therapies described above) may be inadequate – instead, more holistic forms of treatment may be appropriate that integrate methods from an array of therapies relevant to the unique pattern of symptoms manifested by each individual ; this is the main thesis Livesly’s book which can be purchased by clicking the image below :

eBook :

BPD eBook

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

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

BPD Sufferers May Avoid ‘Mentalising’ Due To Parental Rejection

BPD Sufferers May Avoid 'Mentalising' Due To Rejecting Parents

Peter Fonagy, an internationally renowned clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst and expert in borderline psychopathology and early attachment relationships, and who has produced some of the most influential work relating to this field, has stressed the importance of MENTALISING (or, more precisely, the avoidance of it) in relation to borderline personality disorder (BPD).

What Is Meant By The Term ‘Mentalising’?

The term ‘mentalising’ refers to a person’s ability to perceive, understand and make use of other’s emotional states (and their own).

Why Might Those Suffering From BPD Avoid ‘Mentalising’?

According to Peter Fonagy’s theory, children of cold and rejecting parents avoid mentalising because thinking about their parents’ lack of emotional warmth, rejection, absence of love and, perhaps, even, hatred would be too psychologically distressing and painful.

Prevention Of Recovery :

However, Fonagy also theorizes that this evasion (both conscious and unconscious) of the truth about how one’s parents treated one and felt about one prevents the individual from resolving the trauma and recovering from the emotional mistreatment. He proposes that it is necessary for those suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD) to confront, and consciously process, the traumatic elements of their childhoods, and, in particular, their difficult, perhaps tortured, childhood relationships with their parents.

The Need For Understanding And Verbal Expression :

Only by understanding what happened to one in childhood, and by learning to express, verbally, this understanding, Fonagy proposes, is recovery possible.

Conclusion :

Whilst Fonagy’s theory has been influential, some researchers have criticized it for not placing enough emphasis upon the fundamental problem sufferers of borderline personality disorder (BPD) frequently experience – namely their inability to control intense emotional reactions (often referred to as ’emotional dysregulation’ ; to read my previously published article relating to this, entitled ‘Three Types Of Emotional Control Difficulties Resulting From Childhood Trauma’, CLICK HERE. )

Resources :

 

eBook :

 BPD ebook

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Early-Life Separation From Mother : What Experiments On Mice Tell Us.

maternal deprivation mice experiment

 childhood trauma

The Study : A Mouse Model Of Early-Life Stress :

This experiment was conducted to look at the effects on mice of early-life stress. It involved separating baby mice from their mothers for three hours per day for each of the first ten days of their lives.

Results Of The Study :

It was found that the effect of this early-life separation from their mothers caused these baby mice to grow up into adults who were significantly more highly stressed than mice who had not been removed from their mothers in early life ; in particular, it was found that they ‘over-reacted’ to mild stressors.

maternal deprivation mice experiment

The Underlying Mechanism – The Effect Of Stress At A Genetic Level :

The study also found that the early-life stress that the baby mice suffered adversely affected (due to decreased DNA methylation) the ARGININE VASOPRESSIN (AV) GENE.

  • This led to an increase in the mice’s production of ARGININE VASOPRESSIN

which, in turn…

  • Increased their stress-response in adulthood.

In other words, it seems that the mice;s early-life stress harms their AV gene, which, in turn, makes them more susceptible to the adverse effects of stress when they become adults.

Other, Similar Research (But Involving Rats) :

Similar research has been carried out on rats, giving similar results (although, in the case of the rats, a different gene was adversely affected by early-life stress ; I wrote about this in an article I previously published on this website, it is entitled : What Studies On Rats Tell Us About The Effects Of Childhood Trauma – if you would like to read it, please click here).

To What Degree Can We Extrapolate From Such Findings In Order To Elucidate Effects Of Early-Life Trauma In Humans?

In a study (Meaney et al) of samples of human brains of individuals who had tragically committed suicide the researchers grouped the brains they were examining into two categories :

  • CATEGORY ONE : Brains of individuals who had committed suicide AND had experienced significant childhood trauma
  • CATEGORY TWO : Brains of individuals who had committed suicide but had NOT experienced significant childhood trauma

What Differences Were Found Between The Brains From CATEGORY ONE And The Brains From CATEGORY TWO?

Conclusion :

The parallels between the findings of the animal studies and the studies of human brains (as described above) suggest that some of the findings from the experiments on rodents in relation to the effects of early life stress may well be applicable in helping us to understand how early life stress can affect humans.

eBooks :

   childhood trauma damages brain ebook

Above eBooks now available for instant download from Amazon. Click here for further information.

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

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