A Family Systems Approach to Treating Intergenerational Trauma

When we think of creating family legacies and preserving family traditions, we focus on positive connections and joyous occasions. But often joy is only part of the family story. Pain, while often ignored or even denied, can be passed down from generation to generation. This legacy of pain, coined Intergenerational trauma (IGT) after World War […]

Failing Forward: Stabilization Before Trauma Playbooks

Trauma treatment is more challenging when the entire family is treated, not just the child. A central reason for this is based on our research on what we term as interactional trauma within Chapter 2 of Treating the Traumatized Child: A Step-by-Step Family Systems Approach. Interactional trauma takes place when there is constant bickering, yelling, […]

Preventing Relapse in Traumatized Families: The Troubleshooting Technique

Relapse occurs when our clients initially get worse before they get better. It is like stretching a rubber band that will snap back as soon as we let go. Over time, a child’s problem symptoms (i.e., self-harm, aggression, anxiety, extreme disrespect, etc.) that are caused by a traumatic event often become the new normal in […]

The Motivational Phone Call Technique To Engage Traumatized Families

Engaging children and parents in effective trauma treatment is difficult at best. Conventionally, engagement and rapport building begins in the first face-to-face session. More often than not it’s a harsh start-up. Parents and kids enter the first session angry, frustrated, and hopeless. Arms are tightly crossed, and at the slightest provocation, all hell breaks loose […]

Healing Family Trauma: Two Families, One Tragedy

On July 19, 2018, an amphibious vehicle, known as a duck boat, encountered a thunderstorm during a sightseeing tour on Table Rock Lake, near Branson Missouri. The boat sank, killing 31 passengers. For many of us, the event was only a blip on our radar. However, the families involved are left with ongoing emotional and […]

Kill the Spider: A Trauma Playbook for Strongholds of Shame

Kill the spider describes what can happen when our client’s minds believe the lies perpetuated by a traumatic event. The result can be the stronghold of shame and require shame therapy. Cobwebs are the metaphor for the child’s trauma symptoms (i.e., depression, aggression, addiction, anger, self-harm) that medicate the stronghold of shame – the spider. Trauma […]

Rethink Child Trauma Using Feedback Loops

Unhealed child trauma impacts not only the child but the family as well. I often see family members with trauma symptoms when they are dealing with an out-of-control, traumatized child. One father told me: “As the dad, I am supposed to protect my child from hurt and pain. When my daughter started cutting on her […]

A Hybrid Playbook – Safety First and Wound Work: When an Adolescent Boy is Both Aggressive and Emotionally Abandoned

Today, many adolescent boys feel emotionally abandoned. In Helping Young Boys Expand Their Emotional Language, Chris Lyford shares how we have redefined what it means to be female, but how we have left boys behind. Too many teenage boys and their parents are trapped in an outdated model of masculinity. Our boys cannot shed this […]

What Can We Learn From the Santa Fe Shooting: The Mindset Must Change

In the wake of the Santa Fe Shooting, we are likely to respond with the same blame focus as with the Parkland school shooting (more gun control, a broken mental health system, bad parenting, bad President, etc.) instead of looking at how our mindset needs to change. On May 18, 2018, 10 people were fatally […]

Trauma and Nutrition: Why Nutrition is Not Typically Part of Trauma Treatment and What to Do About It

Despite the advances of nutritional therapy over the last 30 years, there is often limited to no inclusion of nutrition as part of the trauma treatment for children and families with PTSD. Diet and nutrition can be a powerful tool to influence change in both the body and brain of a child and/or family member […]

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