Saturday, April 24, 2010

Primal Wound or Brain Trauma... and does it matter?

Not surprisingly, PB and I have found our foster care training classes both more enjoyable and more beneficial since we actually got to start choosing them instead of just taking the required introductory classes which often covered topics (like dealing with teenagers, and parenting sexually abused children) that we aren't currently dealing with.

Today we took a class about helping children develop social skills. The instructor talked a lot about the impact of trauma on the brain, particularly on the developing brain. I found it very easy to believe that an infant's brain chemistry could be altered by profound abuse and neglect, by in utero exposure to alcohol, or by the trauma of being removed from his or her biological mother.

Why then was it hard for me to process The Primal Wound? Why does it make MORE sense to me to believe that a child's brain structure could be significantly altered by this separation as opposed to believing the separation causes an existential identity crisis (if I'm describing the Primal Wound correctly)?

I think it has to do with my own background and familiarity. I can easily understand how trauma could impact the brain and how those impacts might be long lasting. It makes particular sense if you think of the stress reaction of an infant and how elevated levels of stress very early on could have a significant impact. Mostly, I think it's just interesting that until today I never considered adoptive trauma in this way.

I'm still processing what this might mean for me and mine, but this is how far I've made it since class this afternoon.

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