Attachment and Developmental Trauma is different from what we commonly understand as trauma. Attachment and developmental trauma is the result of the repetitive interactions with our caregivers, and how those have deep impacts on our sense of self and ability to have healthy relationships later in life.
This is in contrast to we normally call trauma, which is the result of unexpected overwhelming events like sexual assaults, phyiscal attacks, car accidents, feeling threatened or bullied, etc.
According to research by the Bodynamic Institute, there are seven specific developmental stages a child goes through:
1 Existence – Feeling welcomed and wanted by your parents (from 2nd trimester to 3 months old)
2 Need – Learning what your needs are, being able to express them, and trusting that they will usually be met (from 1 month to 1.5 years old)
3 Autonomous Exploration – Self-connection in following your impulses (8 months to 2.5 years)
4 Will – To feel Empowered in yourself (from 2 to 4 years old)
5 Love & Sexuality – Balancing feelings of Love with Sensual/Sexual feelings (from 3 to 6 years old)
6 Opinion – Forming opinions and expressing them verbally (from 5 to 9 years old)
7 Performance & Solidarity – Balancing being your best with being a member of a group (from 7 to 9 years old)
When as a child you are optimally supported in one of these stages, you are able to master the theme of that stage and carry it with you into your whole life. On the other hand, when you are not optimally supported in one of these stages you will develop an unconscious coping response in that area of your life. For example, a child who is not supported in feeling their power (stage 4) may unconsciously suppress their power and become a caretaker or follower. Another example is a child who is not supported in expressing their opinions (stage 6) and so becomes either rigid in expressing their opinions or has a hard time expressing their opinions.
If you weren’t optimally supported in your childhood and are feeling stuck in pain and unhelpful patterns, we can transform that with Somatic Therapy.