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Are you in Burnout? 10 Important Questions and Answers

Developmental Trauma

Many people have been traumatized by watching media coverage of the wild fires that raged through Fort McMurray and the surrounding areas. These people may have signed up to welcome people that were forced to leave Fort McMurray into their homes. They may have fostered animals that their owners couldn't currently care for. They may […] Continue Reading

Some of my clients that I work with in my private practice have difficultly forming healthy relationships. These difficulties are the result of how their parents interacted with them when they were young. It’s not their fault that they struggle, but it is their responsibility to fix the problem. The topic I am exploring today is […] Continue Reading

In a recent blog post, I wrote about fight, flight or freeze. These are our body’s hard-wired responses to danger and operate outside of our conscious control. They are invaluable to have when we find ourselves facing a grizzly bear on a trail, as I did two summers ago while hiking in Waterton National Park. Freeze happens […] Continue Reading

I attended an excellent lecture recently. The speaker explained how we can become emotionally hijacked and “head over the waterfalls” to behave in historically patterned ways, without any volitional thought whatsoever. Behaving in historically patterned ways is a good thing when it involves something like walking. Initially, the motor behaviours involved in walking require a […] Continue Reading

A number of the clients I see in my practice did not have good enough parents. Their parents fell short of meeting the mark. In the absence of having good enough parents, when no other adult steps in to help the child, the child suffers. This failure is common enough in our society.  The pain that some of […] Continue Reading

I often see evidence of trauma in the clients I work with. I will ask whether they experienced developmental trauma, meaning neglect and abuse during childhood. They will sometimes say no. This used to confuse me until I started asking whether their parents experienced trauma. This question frequently elicit stories. So will asking my clients […] Continue Reading

Some people are not aware of their emotions. They cannot tell you if they are happy or sad. They may be laughing or crying, which you would think would help them to identify what they are feeling. They may even be yelling, which you would think would let them know that they are angry. But […] Continue Reading

People who have experienced developmental trauma (meaning abuse and neglect during childhood) frequently do not feel good enough. They believe they are not as good as everyone else. They believe they are damaged. Flawed. The feeling they are not good enough can push these individuals to work extremely hard, in an attempt to finally prove […] Continue Reading

A number of the adult clients that I work with in my private practice experienced developmental trauma (meaning neglect and abuse) as children. Adults who experienced developmental trauma have different areas of the brain light up during brain scans than adults who were safe from neglect and abuse as children. These differences in brain scans are […] Continue Reading

People who have experienced developmental trauma (meaning abuse and neglect as children) will usually say that they are quick to anger when I ask. They will say “Yes,” when I ask them whether they would describe their anger as rage. This response may come as a surprise to you if you had parents who were […] Continue Reading

People who experienced developmental trauma, meaning abuse and neglect as children, frequently become adults that need a high degree of control over their environments. These adults can accurately be described as controlling and inflexible. Rigid is another word that can fit.  Their need for control makes complete sense when viewed from a developmental trauma perspective. Abused […] Continue Reading

A psychologist recently told me one of his clients was ready to finish therapy. He said she had recovered from the abuse she had endured as a child. He said she was 65-years-old. The psychologist said his client was grieving because she was now fully aware of how much she had missed out on in […] Continue Reading

A significant number of people I work with have experienced developmental trauma (meaning neglect and abuse as children). In many cases they were born to a family where their parents did not adequately care for them. They experienced neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse and/or sexual abuse. People with trauma histories may have had parents with drug and […] Continue Reading

Are you estranged from a parent? Have you chosen to cut-off contact because of on-going abuse? It is neither unthinkable nor unacceptable for someone to choose to end a relationship because their parent is abusive. Adult children in these cases have determined that a cut-off is necessary to protect their own mental health. These adult […] Continue Reading

Toxic relationships with family members are unhealthy, and can be so emotionally damaging that the person being harmed may need to end the relationship. I have counselled adults that would benefit from completely cutting off contact with family members because those family members continue to abuse them. Although making the decision to end a relationship […] Continue Reading

Adult survivors of childhood abuse often experience problems related to their early abuse in their relationships as adults. This may be because humans become hard-wired during early life to recognize future relationships that resemble the relationships they had with their parents through a process called limbic resonance. The limbic system is the part of the brain where our emotions […] Continue Reading

Yes, victims of abuse sometimes forget the abuse they endured. This is called “Betrayal Blindness.”  For example, Betrayal Blindness can happen to people who were sexually abused as children, even in situations where the child was old enough to remember other events from the same period of time that the abuse took place. It can also happen to […] Continue Reading

When a child is abused by their mother or father, the child will often develop “Betrayal Blindness.” Children who are being abused are frequently not able to recognize that their experiences are abusive because accurately seeing what is happening to them would further jeopardize their ability to survive.  Abused children become experts at not recognizing […] Continue Reading

The quick answer to that question is "No, you do not have to provide care to an unhealthy or aging parent as an adult, especially when that parent abused you as a child." All parents commit to "the most basic contract” when they conceive and decide to keep and raise a child, which is, as […] Continue Reading

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Are you in Burnout? 10 Important Questions and Answers