Full Release From Therapy!

May 23rd, 2008

Though our therapist felt our daughter was “adjusting beautifully” at our last visit, she did schedule a follow-up, just to “check in.” Today, about a month out from the last visit, we had the check-in appointment. Once again our daughter went off for her one-on-one with the therapist, though for this visit their “alone time” was a little longer. When I finally got to go in, it was much the same as last time! Our therapist feels that our daughter has truly made remarkable progress and has truly adjusted, and adjusted well! She said that our daughter understands the rules, logical consequences, and can clearly articulate them. Our therapist said it appears that our rules are clear, consistent and appropriate. Whereas she gave our daughter… [more]

Alphabet Soup – EMDR

February 25th, 2008
Categories: Trauma

In my quest to obtain more information about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD), I’m hearing a lot of buzz about EMDR. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. From what I understand, it is an eight-stage information processing technique. It appears to be hailed as a particularly effective treatment option for sufferers of PTSD. I only saw a few sites that mentioned use in the treatment of PTSD in children. Therefore, it’s not something I can use to help me here and now with the issues my six-year-old is facing, but rather research for future reference, as well as for reading more about the subject, as it provides more insight into the world of PTSD. The first phase of treatment involves the potential patient meeting with… [more]

Areas of Responsibility

February 7th, 2008

For so long, my daughter took on the personal responsibility of ensuring her younger brother was safe. She’s a total “protector” and has been in “full mama mode” for some time now. For children who are used to “being in charge,” it’s hard to let go once they are in the safe confines of an adoptive family. My daughter routinely goes beyond whatever instructions I give her. If I ask her to put her dishes in the sink and rinse them with water, she will wash them with lots and lots of dish soap. Not a huge deal, unless it makes a big mess that I then have to clean up, which is at issue here! I don’t want to see her self-esteem crushed, and… [more]

How to Help Traumatized Adopted Child Purge Emotions

October 17th, 2007
Categories: Trauma

On my post Traumatized Adopted Child's Need to Purge Emotions, a reader posted the following comment:

Getting the kids to let it out seems to be the really difficult part. They have learned so well to keep the protective shield up, that it is very difficult to get past that. One of mine never did, and pays a price for that trapped anger. Any chance of a post of 'how to' in getting the child to start letting that trapped stuff out? Great post Faith. - John from Traumatized Adopted Child's Need to Purge Emotions

I have offered some advice in other posts, which are included in the Related Topics section at the bottom of this post, but I want to speak directly to John's question… [more]

Parenting an Adopted Child who Self-Injures

October 8th, 2007
Categories: Trauma

One very difficult aspect of parenting is trying to help a child who harms himself. While self-injury is definitely not limited to the adopted child, your child is at a higher risk of struggling with self-injury if he lived in a neglectful or abusive environment before joining your family. How can you help your adopted child to stop harming himself?

Self-injury is anything that a child does to harm himself on purpose. Many people believe that self-injury is synonymous with cutting, but cutting is only one of many forms of self-injury. Here are some other ways that children can self-harm:

  • Breaking his own bones
  • Burning himself
  • Clawing body with fingernails
  • Head-banging
  • Picking at scabs so they don’t heal
  • Pulling out hair

This… [more]

How to Help an Abused Adopted Child Choose to Heal

October 5th, 2007
Categories: Trauma

In my last post, Parenting Abused Adopted Child: How to Handle Unsupportive People, a reader posted the following comment:

It's not logical to expect children who have been through things children shouldn't go through to heal overnight, but it is true that they have to choose to heal. But how can someone convince them to choose to heal if healing hurts so much? – Chromesthesia from Parenting Abused Adopted Child: How to Handle Unsupportive People

Why would a child choose not to heal? The answer is simple: Healing hurts! The healing process is enormously painful. Children who have dissociated away the painful emotions of their past do not consciously feel those dissociated emotions on a conscious level. They go through life feeling numb and detached from… [more]

Parenting Abused Adopted Child: How to Handle Unsupportive People

October 4th, 2007
Categories: Trauma

On my post, How to Help Abused Adopted Child Heal from Dissociative Disorder, a reader wrote the following comment:

Now for the post on surviving this and dealing with people who don't understand that your child can't just be "fixed" right now. Thanks for this. This blog is really a lifeline some days.

In my last post, I addressed the question about surviving parenting a traumatized child. In this post, I will address the question of dealing with people who do not understand.

Unfortunately, most people know very little about trauma, so they do not understand that you cannot wave a magic wand and make the past just go away. Several people in my life got frustrated with me on a number of occasions when… [more]

How to Survive Parenting an Abused Adopted Child

October 3rd, 2007
Categories: Trauma

On my post, How to Help Abused Adopted Child Heal from Dissociative Disorder, a reader wrote the following comment:

Now for the post on surviving this and dealing with people who don't understand that your child can't just be "fixed" right now. Thanks for this. This blog is really a lifeline some days.

Living with someone who is recovering from trauma is a challenge, whether that person struggles with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), or anything in between. Here are some tips for surviving parenting a child who has been traumatized.

Research the Aftereffects of Trauma

The better you can understand the aftereffects of trauma, the more patience you will be able to develop. Your child cannot help having aftereffects from trauma, and… [more]

Traumatized Adopted Child’s Need to Purge Emotions

September 14th, 2007
Categories: Trauma

Over on the Reactive Attachment blog, Nancy wrote a post entitled Tantruming or purging? in which she described the way she helps her traumatized adopted children purge their painful emotions, including anger. In the comments, mater wrote the following:

The "Catharsis Hypothesis" was destroyed decades ago by researchers who found that encouraging people to act out their anger only made them 1.) angrier and 2.) more prone to act on that anger, i.e. act aggressively.

Isn't is curious that believers in this old "Catharsis Hypotheis" only apply this notion to what might be called negative emotions, such as anger and sadness. They never warn you not to be joyful, lest you lose your happiness.

I believe this message is a very dangerous one that can inflict even… [more]

Rape/Incest & Adopted Child: Too Young to Remember

September 6th, 2007
Categories: Trauma

For the past several days, I have been discussing how to handle talking with an adopted child who was conceived through rape or incest. Several readers have contacted me with questions that I did not cover in this series, and I am working my way through answering those questions.

One reader asked the following question, which relates to the child's own rape rather than his birthmother's rape:

Are you going to cover rape/incest that happened to a child that is too young to remember? I know of two families that adopted toddler boys, unrelated, from the foster care system. The boys were raped 1-3 years old, by fathers.

If you adopt a child who was raped, even when he was very young, you must discuss his… [more]