OUR VOICES: TOUCHING TRAUMA AT ITS HEART

Home > OUR VOICES: TOUCHING TRAUMA AT ITS HEART

Jeannie’s Brave Childhood – There is Hope

A story of hope Last week, I wrote about Janyne McConnaughey’s story. This week I want to focus on my own. I could probably write a book of my own on the many insights I gained, but for the purposes of this post, in which I want to give hope to parents and kids alike, I will focus on three: the importance of play lying the human capacity to change

Read More…

Comments Off on Jeannie’s Brave Childhood – There is Hope

Jeannie’s Brave Childhood – The Author’s Story

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed ATN board member Janyne McConnaughey’s first book, Brave, A Personal Story of Healing Childhood Trauma, reviewed here in June 2018, I had looked forward to immersing myself in her second, Jeannie’s Brave Childhood: Behavior and Healing Through the Lens of Attachment and Trauma. It was worth the wait. As a voracious and omnivorous reader, I believe we read non-fiction for two main reasons: to immerse

Read More…

Comments Off on Jeannie’s Brave Childhood – The Author’s Story

AAA Students – A Paradigm Shift + Love

Recap In last week’s post, I introduced the idea of the AAA student: Amygdala Always in Action. I referred to Dan Siegel and Bruce Perry, among others, for their work on the effects trauma can have on the brain. And I talked about the need for a massive paradigm shift, the kind that involves putting on our scuba gear and doing deep work alongside our AAA students. Loving our AAA

Read More…

Comments Off on AAA Students – A Paradigm Shift + Love

AAA Students–A Paradigm Shift

Don’t you mean an A student? Nope. My child is not an A student. My child is an AAA student: Amygdala Always in Action. If you are a parent reading this, I bet you have an AAA child too. And if you happen to be a teacher, you almost certainly have AAA students in your classroom. This, as we will see below, requires a paradigm shift. Dan Siegel, Bruce Perry,

Read More…

Comments Off on AAA Students–A Paradigm Shift

ATN: Why and How to Get Connected

How much do you know about ATN? As a new member of the Attachment and Trauma Network Board of Directors, I have discovered some amazing things. I knew some of this from joining ATN two years ago and speaking at the first two Creating Trauma Sensitive Schools Conferences. However, joining the board has definitely reinforced it! To learn more about how I connected with this fantastic organization and the difference it

Read More…

Comments Off on ATN: Why and How to Get Connected

Failing Forward

-by Meredith Poynter A Rough Ride I learned early that this journey to heal childhood trauma is a bit of a rollercoaster ride. How do we participate in that ride and yet remain resilient? I love my child with all my heart, but know if I don’t have the right mental tools, she can be an emotional vampire. Her mind has been, and sometimes still is, a chaotic storm. She

Read More…

Comments Off on Failing Forward

Vacation, Back-to-School, and Gratitude

Gratitude. I feel it as I sit in front of a softly crackling fire, enjoying the fruity-rich notes of my first cup of coffee as I gaze out on a magnificent Puget Sound seascape. I look forward to another day of adventuring on our last get-away before the school year starts. There is a palpable ease all around. The stresses of every day are suspended and everything feels right. Not

Read More…

Comments Off on Vacation, Back-to-School, and Gratitude

Trauma-Informed Educators: Julie’s Reading List

As teachers and students head back to school, a flurry of inquiries has come into ATN about the “best” materials to help our schools create more trauma-informed educators. The Trauma-Sensitive School movement is still young, so in previous years I had a hard time answering that question, as no one had yet written most of these books. Thankfully, we have them now! Below, you’ll find my top 5 favorites. More

Read More…

Comments Off on Trauma-Informed Educators: Julie’s Reading List

ATN Wants You . . . To Share Your Story

The Attachment & Trauma Network (ATN) seeks bloggers for the “Our Voices” section of our website, a.k.a. the ATN blog. Not sure if your story fits? Read on to learn more. Parents ATN was originally founded by parents, for other parents. We all have stories to tell, and we all need to know we’re not alone. Don’t know where to start? Try these ideas on for size: The worst day

Read More…

Comments Off on ATN Wants You . . . To Share Your Story

Complex “Yes/And” Solutions to End Mass Shootings

Just days after one of the bloodiest non-war weekends in US history, thousands have taken to their social media pulpits to preach about mass shootings. Some advocate gun control, mental health services, or an end to racism. Thousands more preach just the opposite, saying guns, mental illness, or racism could not possibly be the cause. Then, along came Jillian Peterson and James Densley’s L.A. Times op-ed piece, “We have studied

Read More…

Comments Off on Complex “Yes/And” Solutions to End Mass Shootings

Therapeutic Vacationing, Part II

Hello! It’s Dena again. In my last post, I shared how our Disney trip last summer was quite therapeutic for us as a family, especially when looking through the eyes of Theraplay®. In this follow-up post, I will look at Theraplay® dimensions of engagement, nurture, and challenge, and show how Disney brings them to life in a magical way. First stop: engagement Engagement has to do with connection, being “in

Read More…

Comments Off on Therapeutic Vacationing, Part II

Therapeutic Vacationing

Have extraordinary experiences For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Dena and I’m a parent of two children, now adults, through adoption. I originally started writing this whilst on vacation at Disney World in Florida last summer, but today I sit in my kitchen reflecting on our vacation and why it was such a memorable time. Some of you have been asking for guidance about what

Read More…

Comments Off on Therapeutic Vacationing

Being a CASA: Another Way to Help Kids

My kids are grown, and while my spouse and I have agreed to be done parenting, we still want to help kids, so I became a CASA. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. In some places, they call this person GAL, Guardian Ad Litem. I, along with my husband, have been doing it for several months. In that time, 9 children have crossed our path–mostly sibling groups, from a

Read More…

Comments Off on Being a CASA: Another Way to Help Kids

Giving Ourselves a Break

Confession time–I have to take a break (gasp!) I cannot do it all. There. I’ve said it. I’ve admitted the impossible. Now that I’ve done that, let’s see what else I can say. I am not superwoman. Turns out I have flaws. Plus I get sick. In other words, I am vulnerable. I will have to take a break. Yet it is killing me to admit those things. Remind you

Read More…

Comments Off on Giving Ourselves a Break

7 Ways to Help a Child Deal with Traumatic Stress

Humans are wired for connection and thrive in conditions of safety and security. When safety and security are compromised, we must do everything we can to restore a child’s felt sense of safety and security as fast as possible.

Read More...

Comments Off on 7 Ways to Help a Child Deal with Traumatic Stress

Shame: One Mom’s Thoughts

In the world of therapeutic parenting and developmental trauma, we hear a lot about shame. Professionals write lots of great articles about it. This is my perspective as a mom. When I first read about shame in our kids, I was pretty positive that my often narcissistic son could not have that issue. I looked at other kids with trauma and could see it in some, but not all. So

Read More…

Comments Off on Shame: One Mom’s Thoughts

When My Son Cries for His Birth Mom

My son’s behavior has been improving. It’s really quite incredible when I think about the progress he has made in such a short amount of time. There has been no hitting. No biting. No long-lasting rages. Very little swearing. Still. When my adopted child cries for his birth mom, my heart breaks. He’s constantly agitated, like someone wound him into a tight little ball, but I can tell he’s trying not

Read More…

Comments Off on When My Son Cries for His Birth Mom

Words of Wisdom for Mother’s Day

We have a lot of new members, and with Mother’s Day just around the corner, I thought I’d share some highlights from the collective wisdom of the ATN blogging team about what for many of us is a roller coaster day. To read each post in full, click on the author’s name. Complicated feelings Mother’s Day can be a minefield of disappointments, regrets, guilt, anger, and other painful feelings. Learning

Read More…

Comments Off on Words of Wisdom for Mother’s Day

5 Enlightened Ways to Think About Mental Health

Mental health problems should be thought of no differently than physical health problems. In fact, they are related: mental health problems affect physical health and physical health problems affect mental health.

Read More...

Comments Off on 5 Enlightened Ways to Think About Mental Health

Who Do You Trust the Most?

During a session with your therapist, she hands you a paper with three concentric circles drawn on it. They represent relative levels of trust in relationships. The central circle is who you trust the most. She asks you who you would put in that spot. You don’t answer. She pushes. You remain silent. Finally, she suggests your parents. You nod. You know that she needs you to nod.

Read More...

Comments Off on Who Do You Trust the Most?

Instant Family

The morning after watching Instant Family, I sent this text: “as much as I liked it, it has messed with my head some. I’m a little stabby today.” Reading online reviews did not help with the stabbiness (let’s be honest–do online reviews ever help?). People were completely divided, and as per Internet social norms, were hiding behind their screens in order to spew their more-or-less extreme points of view regarding

Read More…

Comments Off on Instant Family

That kid must have been raised right

One day as I scrolled through social media, I saw that several different friends had shared a video of a kid doing something sweet, one of those heartwarming things that everyone likes to share. At first I smiled and thought it was nice. Then I noticed something–comment after comment stating that this kid had obviously been “raised right.” As I read dozens of similar comments, something started to nag at

Read More…

Comments Off on That kid must have been raised right

Tis the Season of Everyday Celetastrophe

A new season is upon us. The glow from the dawn of the new year is on the wane. For some of us, it is in the company of the resolutions to which we swore our allegiance before we climbed into bed at 9:30 on December 31 – satisfied that 2019 would arrive whether or not we were there to meet it. There is a lot about the holiday season

Read More…

Comments Off on Tis the Season of Everyday Celetastrophe

Those Adoption Books

For years, I felt frustrated by parents and therapists suggesting I just read fill-in-the-blank  adoption books by fill-in-the-blank authors. I’d already read all of those parenting books. I’d highlighted them and made notes in the margins.

But the well-worn copies on my bookshelf didn’t seem to help. Sometimes the most worthy book suggestions even seemed to hurt our family.

Read More...

Comments Off on Those Adoption Books

Live from #CTSS2019!

I don’t think this the most beautifully written post I’ve ever created. I do think it might be one of the most important. Here’s why. I am the most exhausted and energized I have been in a very long time! Exhausted because… I flew into Washington, DC, then spent nearly 2 hours getting from Dulles to my hotel. Not long after, I helped to stuff some 1200 welcome bags for

Read More…

Comments Off on Live from #CTSS2019!

ATN: The Power of Community

[N]ext week, I will speak for the second time at the Creating Trauma Sensitive Schools Conference, where my topic will be “Behavior through the Lens of Attachment, Trauma, and Dissociation.”

Read More...

Comments Off on ATN: The Power of Community