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This page will discuss trauma both what is thought of as complex or development trauma and one episodic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]. I will also discuss the importance of adverse childhood events [ACE] in relationship to developmental trauma, resilience and perinatal mental health. Also discussed are treatment options such as Trauma Focused Cognitive Behaviour Therapy [Trauma focused CBT] and Eye Movement Desentitisation Regulation [EMDR] of which I offer both as therapy options.

Lets think about the developmental life cycle... the perinatal period refers from the time a woman becomes pregnant and up to one year after birth. This can be a time of great change involving physical changes in a woman’s body image, psychological changes regarding her relationship with her partner or supportive others, perhaps anxiety over her career development  and the choices she will make regarding labour, home and work/life balance and life with her newborn.

There is a particular relationship between mood disorders and pregnancy and the postnatal period. One in six women is affected by mental issues and stress during pregnancy or after birth (Oates and Rothera, 2006). Depression and anxiety disorders in the antenatal and/or postnatal period may be linked to adverse developmental outcomes in infants due to dysfunctional relationship (or attachment) styles. Often parents find it difficult to find support and acceptance when feeling anxious or negative about themselves especially when media and magazines may promote pregnancy and  parenthood as easy. Perinatal support and therapy offers a space to explore intergenerational patterns of coping, and gain support in caring for your infant with a knowledge of your own early infant past and why you may have felt depressed, anxious or alone.

D W Winnicott talked about the good enough mother [or caregiver] where a caregivers sensitivity and mirroring  results in the infants ability to learn how to self sooth and feel supported within the family structure. There is an awareness that this is not always possible however "Research has shown that traumatic childhood experiences not only are extremely common but also have a profound impact on many different areas of functioning. For example, children exposed to alcoholic parents or domestic violence rarely have secure childhoods; their symptomatology tends to be pervasive and multifaceted and is likely to include depression, various medical illnesses, and a variety of impulsive and self-destructive behaviours" [Bessel Van Der Kolk]. 

Adverse Childhood Events: 

  • domestic violence

  • parental abandonment through separation or divorce

  • a parent with a mental health condition

  • being the victim of abuse (physical, sexual and/or emotional)

  • being the victim of neglect (physical and emotional)

  • a member of the household being in prison

  • growing up in a household in which there are adults experiencing alcohol and drug use problems.

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