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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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