The Contagion of Trauma: Exploring Attachment through the Book Love Lessons

The Contagion of Trauma: Exploring Attachment through the Book Love Lessons

James Dumesnil (Independent Researcher, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0228-9.ch014
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Abstract

Research has been increasingly clear regarding the critical importance of the first years of life, especially the first three years, on personality development and the ability to adapt and adjust throughout life. Children with histories of traumas such as abuse, neglect, drug exposure, inconsistent caregiving, or violence during these critical early years can have profound disruptions in their development, including severe behavioral and emotional problems. The parents who adopt a child with a history of trauma are vulnerable to developing their own vicarious, or secondary trauma. This chapter explores this contagion of trauma within adoptive families, following the story of one such affected family. Treatment has focused on the needs of the traumatized child individually and through behaviorally-based parenting interventions. The individual clinical needs of the attachment figures, the parents, have not received the attention they deserve. These needs are as critical as addressing the child's trauma in order to allow for creation of a secure attachment with the child.

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