Book Review – Developmental Trauma: The Game Changer In The Mental Health Profession – Repost

Weinhold, Barry K. & Janae B. Developmental Trauma: The Game Changer in the Mental Health Profession. Colorado Springs: CICRCL Press, 2015.

These two masters, Barry and Janae Weinhold, already had my full attention, as I found their material when I was developing Boundaries 101 and it provided a foundation for my scattered thoughts.  We are on the same wavelength in so many ways.  We are definitely hanging out in the same field of information.  In this book, they talk about how research on attachment and neuroscience is changing our approaches to mental health and they describe in detail the programs they have developed to help people, families and other systems recover from developmental trauma.  In particular they offer training to therapists and care providers, enhancing their ability to work effectively with individuals, couples and families.  In their work, the Weinholds look at the positive aspects of developmental trauma, and how it can become an asset in people’s relationships, and a force for personal and collective evolution.

I talked about developmental trauma in Boundaries 101 and I talk about it in Being in My Body (as the precursor to PTSD and dissociation).  In their book, the Weinholds describe how, in 2014, they were involved in an effort to include developmental trauma as a diagnostic category in the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM V).  And that is what needs to happen.  The thing is, disorganized attachments and its effects are so common, and their implications so large, that once developmental trauma is integrated into the larger picture, the whole structure of the DSM and the profession will need to change.  Needless to say, there was a lot of resistance to including developmental trauma in the DSM, despite the fact that there is ample evidence that it is at the root of so many of the mental disorders (including PTSD, OCD, ADD, etc., not to mention chronic physical illnesses) listed in there, and there is plenty of research to support it.

But as we start talking about developmental trauma as a society, we need to start talking about children as people, and somehow recognize and acknowledge the importance of how we raise our children, and how important their first three years are.  And that is a very controversial subject these days.

Barry and Janae are unambiguous on the subject.  They feel that “the long-term effects of developmental traumas caused by childhood abuse and neglect as the single most important public health issue in this country.”  And I couldn’t agree more.

Bessel van der Kolk, one of the most famous and outspoken experts on trauma, the Weinholds say, “is calling for a massive public crusade against child maltreatment similar to the model that the anti-smoking campaign begun by Surgeon General C. Everett Koop in 1982.  He said, ‘We need someone important in public life to have the courage to stand up and take a very visible stand on something like this – it has a huge impact on both science and society.’”  This is the kind of response that is called for.  In the meantime, we can work on our personal recovery, and integrate trauma awareness wherever we go.

The Weinholds have an online course called Freaked Out: How Hidden Developmental Trauma Can Disrupt Your Life and Relationships, and their website is, www.freakedoutnomore.info  Their offerings are designed to help the general public connect the dots between adverse childhood experiences and adult physical and mental health problems; to help them understand the long-term effects of hidden developmental trauma.


This is a Must-Own book for today’s competent therapists.  Get your copy on Amazon.com or on there site, here.  Here are some of my favorite quotes from this powerful, intelligent, intuitive, game-changing book:

“When parents themselves get triggered and regress, they disconnect from their children and are unavailable to help them regulate their emotions.” (Pg 19)

“The countries in Western, Central, and Eastern Europe have universal parental and maternal leave policies that are much more supportive of infants and families.  Their maternity leave periods average around 10 months and they typically provide some form of wage replacement or income supplement for both parents.” (Pg 35)

“This self-reflection (among therapists, teachers, and care providers) requires that they examine the experiences of their own early childhood and look for correlations between their personal issues with children who trigger them, and their unrecognized and unhealed developmental shock, trauma, and stress from the past.” (Pg 37)

“The way to treat psychological trauma was not through the mind but through the body.” (Pg 70)

“(Bruce) Lipton bases his biological premise on extensive research.  He draws from unified field theory and asserts that receptors on the membranes of individual cells read the ‘field’ surrounding them.  The cells’ perception of the field determines how they respond.  When the cells perceive danger, their receptors close and direct the organism into a protective mode.  When the cells perceive safety in their environment, the receptors open, and they direct the organism into a growth mode.” (Pg 105)

“Lipton’s operational model has no middle ground: cells and organisms can only be in one mode at a time.  Cells are either in a growth mode and able to give and receive information, sustenance and unconditional love; or they are in a protection mode and closed to receiving supportive information and energy.” (Pg 105)

“…(Schore) description of the mother-child relationship with quantum language such as attunement, energetic resonance and synchronization…the beating human heart generates some 2.5 watts of electrical activity with each heartbeat that creates a pulsing electromagnetic field of energy around the body.” (Pg 107)

“What children really need is a ‘time-in’ where they sit on or by you, be touched, and talked to in a calm, soothing way.  This not only helps them re-regulate their feelings, it stops the feelings of shame.

“When this happens, children realize there is nothing wrong with having these feelings and they can calm down.  Adults are much more empathetic when they understand correctly that the emotional outburst is a symptom of children needing help to re-regulate their emotions.” (Pg 176)

“Children learn to build a False Self based on what others want them to say or do, rather than focusing on what they feel inside about what they have said or done.  Parents and teachers too often use externalizing methods of praise to reward children.  It truly disconnects children from their inner experiences, causing them to grow up needing validation and approval from others.” (Pg 190)

“According to (Louise) Kaplan, the developmental replay that happens between the ages of eleven and sixteen is an opportunity to repair any developmental trauma that might have happened in early childhood.” (Pg 206)

Developmental Replay in the Teens

Prenatal11-12 yr 0 – 1 yr12 – 13 yr 1 – 2 yr13 – 14 yr 2 – 3 yr14 – 15 yr 3 – 4  yr15 – 16 yr

“…anxiety, depression and panic disorders and the freak-out episodes are NOT diseases or mental illness….these issues are caused by trauma, particularly childhood or developmental trauma…need for support and caring, and targeted tools that help clear the trauma from the nervous system and to rewire the brain.” (Pg 212)

“…relational trauma is the primary cause of the trauma, and that most of it is anchored in a child’s attachment with the mother during the first year of life….” (Pg 213)

“…all experiences of shock, trauma, or stress interfere with human development, we classify them as developmental shock, trauma, or stress.  Because all humans have experienced developmental shock, trauma, or stress that has not been recognized or healed, by definition we are all developmentally delayed – individually, systemically, and as a species.  Some of us are delayed more and some less, depending on the amount of developmental shock, trauma, or stress that we have experienced, how it was or was not addressed at the time it happened, and what we have done to heal it.” (Pg 223)

“Do snakes fear they might explode into a million pieces and disappear?  We think the primary role of teachers and therapists is to create safe containers and hold space for students and clients while they expand, split open, and reorganize themselves at a higher level of evolution.” (Pg 230)

“Clients have an inner template…that guides them towards wholeness.  The therapist’s job is to help them discover and live from this innate template….Because all human behavior represents an unconscious attempt to heal or correct something, there is always something ‘right’ about it.” (Pg 233)

“Pacing with clients leaves the power in clients’ hands and keeps the therapist in a facilitative rather than a directive role.  This self-other attunement contributes to a healing field of energy between the client and the therapist where the ‘work’ happens. Often ‘doing less is more.’” (Pg 234)

“It is possible to slow down a client’s healing process, but not to speed it up.  Hurrying clients can do two counterproductive things.  The first is skipping important developmental issues that cause them to ‘recycle.’  The second is overwhelming clients’ nervous systems with too much information too fast and re-traumatizing them.” (Pg 234)

“Abused and neglected children exhibit a variety of behaviors that can lead to any number of diagnoses.  However, the effect of early abuse and neglect on the child can be seen in several critical areas of development.  These areas include emotional regulation, behavioral regulation, attachment, neurobiology, response flexibility, a coherent integrated sense of self across time, the ability to engage in emotional attunement with significant others (empathy and emotional connectedness).  In addition, it affects self-concept, cognitive abilities and learning, and conscience development.” (Pg 238)

“The tips of human chromosomes are known as telomeres.  They serve as protective caps that shield the ends of our chromosomes each time our cells divide and the DNA gets copied.  With each cell division, the telomeres wear down over time and fray.  When telomeres fray and get too short, it causes our cells to malfunction and lose their ability to divide in integrity.  This phenomenon is now recognized as a key factor in aging.” (Pg 242)

“…research (Elissa Epel) with a study that examined telomere length in relation to self-reported Presence using a large sample of healthy, relatively low-stress women.  She and her colleagues found that greater Presence of mind was related to longer telomere length.  Conversely, more negative mind wandering – thinking about other things or wanting to be somewhere else – was related to shorter telomere length.”  (Pg 243)

“Through subtle epigenetic exchanges of information and energy between them and the container, clients are able to modify their Internal Working Model of Reality, their attachment styles, and the expression of their genes.” (Pg 243)

“Many experiences of developmental shock, trauma, and stress are caused by neglect related to energetic disconnects during the first year of life, rather than abandonment and abuse.  It is very difficult to recognize the presence of emotional, physical, spiritual, or psychological neglect because nothing happened.  Abandonment and abuse are easier to recognize and recall, because something happened.” (Pg 257)

“When two people become separate, whole, autonomous people, they no longer need to protect themselves from each other.” (Pg 279)

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