Lewis, Amini, and Lannon (A
general theory of life) describe clearly the adverse impact of lacking love in
early childhood. Many survivors of abuse and neglect can attest to the
difficulties in mood regulation, distress tolerance, negative self-evaluation,
and even physical problems as a legacy of lack of love.
They propose that therapy is the
pathway to heal from such impoverished childhood environments. Although therapy
can be a pathway to heal past deficits of love, therapist and client would have
a deep heart connection for this to work. This highlights the need for finding
a therapist that engages with you in a positively charged ‘limbic dance’.
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).