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May 22, 2015 by Kathy Brous

Romance, Dating and Trauma

Hello-KittyWhy Dating Never Heals Emotional Pain

People with attachment troubles or other child trauma often ask: why is dating so difficult?  It is, for a reason.

So instead of the dating hunt,  I invested my life, fortune, and sacred honor to work for “earned secure attachment.”  Dr. Dan Siegel says that’s when we start out with attachment damage from childhood trauma,  but grow into secure attachment by earning it as adults.  “It’s possible to change childhood attachment patterns,” as Dr. Mary Main says in a 2010 video.1

My plan: “become the change you seek,” as Ghandi said — and then a good-hearted mate will find me.  Either way, eventually I’ll have peace in my soul.

Look, Ma, no hunting or begging – for once in my life!  I’ve been begging since birth for a scrap of love like Oliver with his begging bowl, and I’m done.  Dating website emails go to my spam folder.

I know it’s possible to earn secure attachment, even for those with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) like me who’ve had developmental trauma “since the sperm hit the egg” and thus the world’s worst case of anxious attachment.

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May 5, 2015 by Kathy Brous

New Brain Series

Webinar Series in Progress, April 8-May 13

Dr-Dan-SiegelDr. Dan Siegel kicked off the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine’s invaluable 2015 “New Brain Series” of weekly webinars April 8. The series continues through May, and you can catch Dr. Pat Odgen on “Why the Body Matters When Working with Brain Science,”  Wednesday, May 6 at 5:00 pm Eastern, rebroadcast at 6:30pm Eastern.  Sign up to watch free at time of broadcast. Dr. Ogden speaks about Body Work and Somatic Healing.  It’s about how to change the brain to heal trauma. Schedule and speakers list for all six weeks is below; videos, mp3s and transcripts of all speakers in April and May will stay available for purchase.

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March 27, 2015 by Kathy Brous

What is EMDR – and Why is it So Effective?

lockridge-pastor-dave-150x150During REM sleep, the brain is attempting to process survival information until it’s resolved.

Eye Motion Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a potent trauma treatment developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro (left), a literature professor who was diagnosed with cancer.  The shock of suddenly finding her survival was under threat, affected her so strongly that Dr. Shapiro mindfully paid attention to how her body was reacting.

She discovered by accident that when the survival fear got intense, her eyes would sometimes move back and forth diagonally or from side to side, as if in dreaming – following which she felt less upset, much to her surprise.

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March 13, 2015 by Kathy Brous

A Pastor’s Battle with Childhood Trauma

lockridge-pastor-dave-150x150[This week we have “Overcoming Adverse Childhood Experiences” (ACEs), a guest blog by Pastor Dave Lockridge of northern California (left). What a story, and what a persistent heart! – Kathy]

From the Merced Sun Star, Merced County, CA:

When I became a pastor as a young man, I was prepared to minister to my congregants through all phases of their lives. I expected to spend my time welcoming new babies into the world, sharing biblical principles with thriving families, and ministering to our elders in their last days. I knew I would be called upon to offer comfort through hard times, illness and loss.

What I didn’t expect to do much of was bury parishioners in their 40s and 50s, or even in their teens – men, women and children who died from everything from heart attacks to lung disease to suicide; parishioners who were suffering mightily from a lifetime of seemingly bad choices.

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February 13, 2015 by Kathy Brous

The Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) (Pt.1 of 2)

Mary Ainsworth’s Strange Situation

Mary Main & Dan Siegel December-2010-UCLA

Dr. Main with Dr. Daniel Siegel

Only 55% of us have “secure attachment”– a number which would worry us all if we knew what it meant — according to 1970-1996 research on over 2,000 infant-parent pairs. And the level of attachment we get as infants continues all our lives in our relationships.

The math says the other 45% of us suffer “insecure attachment.”  That means 45% can’t handle a committed, stable relationship with anyone, from childhood to the rest of our lives, as of 1996.  We also pass this emotional pain to our children, who turn out similarly.  A National Institute of Health article summarizes the secure rate:  “Infants with secure attachment greet and/or approach the caregiver and maintain contact but are able to return to play, which occurs in 55% of the general population.” 1

This is the blockbuster result of Dr. Mary Ainsworth’s 1970-1978 “Strange Situation” study of babies.  The work was completed by her student Mary Main, and Main’s research led to shocking conclusions.

Main discovered so many babies were peculiar, she got concerned about the parents. So in 1982, she created the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) to study the adults, releasing results 1984-96.

Her journey was so “strange” and involved, that it got published in language hard to decipher (or even google) for most folks. The tale took me weeks to unravel (footnotes below).

This huge “insecure” figure is a predictor of broken homes and broken hearts for half the nation. It starts to explain why we’ve got a 50% divorce rate. If you’re like me and have tried “over 40” internet dating after a divorce, it won’t surprise you to hear that science shows 50% of adults out there can’t carry on a secure, committed, loving relationship. You’ve already experienced it.

And if 45% of us were “insecurely attached” in 1996, what’s the percent in 2014?  In 1996 most of us hadn’t heard of the Internet. In almost 20 years since, email, texting, and so on have further trashed our ability to relate in person. Several psychotherapists interviewed for this blog said that a round number of “about 50%” is a  conservative estimate for how many Americans lack secure attachment today. Many believe it’s much higher.

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