I have explained in the previous article “How to Get Over
Childhood Stress: The Process of Getting Hurt" how childhood experiences became
part of the child’s neurological physiology that over time, through re-enforcement
and repetition becomes an aspect of its personality structure.
The task of recovery is to stop the process of repetition
and re-enforcement of the unwanted beliefs, thoughts, and behaviours and to
encourage new, positive ways of being in this world. Thus new neuro-pathways
need to be created (if you remember that has to happen through experience!!) or
if they exist but are just faint connections they have to be strengthened
through more and regular traffic. At the same time it has to be avoided to go
down the familiar path of neuro-connections that are negative and unhelpful so
that they wither away. On paper that sounds very easy, doesn't it?
This is the first of two articles about how to get over childhood stress or – how does therapy work – in which I will explain
how people get hurt by childhood stress (1st article) and how they
can recover from it (2nd article “Healing from Childhood Stress and
Abuse: How Therapy works”). I have
included the impact of childhood stress seen through neuro-biological eyes
because it shows clearly the pathways to how the healing can take place.
I have often been asked by colleagues why I use neuro-biological
concepts instead of psychological concepts to explain what is going on. My
answer to that is: often psychological concepts are way out there and hard
to follow by people who are not totally into that side of things: take for
example Freud’s or Melanie Klein’s work – very exciting … but you have to
bend over backwards and jump through a needle's eye to follow their line of thinking.
Whereas neuro-biological concepts can be ‘seen’ on MRI scans and we become more
understanding of how our brain works. I find that exciting.
So why is childhood stress (hardship, abuse, neglect) so
damaging? Why can people not follow the often given advise and just ‘GET
OVER IT’? She short answer is: Because
the stressful experiences become part of who you are! Let me show you how that
works: (Disclaimer: I am really not a neuro scientist and don’t claim to be an
expert. I’ll give you my ‘lay translation’ of hundreds of research articles and
books that I have studied).