In Honor of Gregory C. Keck, PhD

We at the Attachment & Trauma Network were devastated this weekend to hear of the death of Gregory C. Keck, PhD, the founder of  the Attachment and Bonding Center of Ohio, and a leader in the treatment of early trauma.  We plan to honor Dr. Keck with several memorial posts this week.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Keck’s family and friends, and also with the many families he helped.  

by:  Craig Peterson

Keck_bookRest in peace, Gregory Keck.

You were a role model for many yet left this world way too early. You also had a gift. Your wonderful combination of intellect and compassion will be sorely missed.

Unfortunately, we never met in person. But 15 years ago, you seemed to be standing over me for hours while I read your book, Adopting the Hurt Child.

Yes, I was skeptical at first. Although I had been a parent for years, my perception of parenting quickly changed.

After skimming your list of 18 symptoms for children with attachment and trauma issues, I couldn’t put your book down. You “got it.” You easily explained developmental trauma and its relationship to attachment. By the end of the last chapter, you changed me forever.

In the process of educating, you were brutally honest. You didn’t sugarcoat the truth.

My children would lose things. They would break things and steal things. They would lie, hoard food and gorge. They could offend me in a heartbeat, waste money like there was no tomorrow and even urinate everywhere but in the toilet.

In other words, my children would try to control everything in their lives since no one ever took care of them. And sadly, my love alone would never be enough to change their way of thinking.

Within the first few chapters, you taught me a valuable lesson. I had to work smarter than harder in raising every one.

For starters, I could never take their behaviors personally. From that position of strength, I could then accept their challenges and parent differently – if I wanted to remain sane.

Yet you were very clear in your writing about the ability of my children to heal.

I had to unfreeze their development – because they were stuck in the past when their trauma took place. And most importantly, I had to find a way to create a “sense of playfulness.” Even though my children made their feelings known about being touched, they needed my touch nonetheless. Through it, they would experience the essence of love – which, in turn, would start them on a journey to become whole.

Your second lesson was harder to accept. No wonder, you forced me outside my comfort zone.

Without question, my children’s transformation couldn’t take place on its own. My effort would be a daily undertaking – consistent and highly intentional to forge a safe environment and establish connections.

And eventually build trust – the kind that most families take for granted.

You were also realistic – with a streak of positive thinking.

“Remember, the hurt child’s progress will not always be consistent. Some regression is expected…Even in regression, the pattern of growth continues to advance. The child still retains all the new skill and new capacity be gained.”

Best of all, Gregory Keck, you gave me hope. And as a result, my children benefited.

Now, in honor of you, I will do my best to maintain the integrity of your work.

D. Craig Peterson is a retired ATN Board Director. You name it, Craig has a story to share in achieving success and learning from mistakes as he raised six children to adulthood...all while maintaining faith and believing in unconditional love. He understands the ups and downs of learning challenges, special education, psychotropic medications, ADHD, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, sexual abuse, juvenile justice, residential placement and so much more. In his upcoming book Adopting Faith: A Father's Unconditional Love, Peterson details his journey in raising six children who brought unbelievable challenges from their birth families and the foster care system. His parenting is a combination of typical and unconventional strategies." His blog is here:

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