Sunday, February 17, 2019

Feelings Wheel: Moving Beyond Primal Emotions

Click to enlarge image

I recently learned about this tool during an Emotional Poverty training.

Our basic human emotions are primal, and based on survival and biology.

The Feelings Wheel is a simple chart, with different levels of color-coded emotions, created to empower individuals to move beyond primal emotion, and more clearly identify what they are thinking and feeling.

Here's a printable version, created for individuals to map out their current emotions, and a color-coded version.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Annie E. Casey ~ Endings and Beginnings

This information about helping foster youth navigate transitions should be required reading for every foster parent and caseworker - especially those who work with teens and young adults:

Annie E. Casey ~ ARC Reflections Training Program

And my favorite slides from it:

Annie E. Casey ~ Trauma Systems Therapy for Foster Care

Annie E. Casey has a new (free) four-part curriculum that provides insights on how to recognize and meet the needs of young people who have experienced trauma.

Here are my favorite slides from this training:

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Traumatic Memory ~ Talking Doesn't Always Help

In The Neuroscience of Traumatic Memory, Bessel van der Kolk and Ruth Buczynski explore how trauma affects the brain and how traumatic memory differs from other memories.

They note that some of the best therapy to address trauma is non-verbal.

Traumatic memory is formed and stored very differently than everyday memory.

Dr. Van der Kolk: If a person was abused as a child, the brain can become wired to believe, “I’m a person to whom terrible things happen, and I better be on the alert for who’s going to hurt me now.” 

Those are conscious thoughts that become stored in a very elementary part of the brain.

When trauma occurs: The brain becomes overwhelmed. That’s because the thalamus shuts down and the entire picture of what happened can’t be stored in their brain. “Instead of forming specific memories of the full event, people who have been traumatized remember images, sights, sounds, and physical sensations without much context.”

So instead of forming specific memories of the full event, people who have been traumatized remember images, sights, sounds, and physical sensations without much context. And certain sensations just become triggers of the past.

Dr. Van der Kolk: You see, the brain continually forms maps of the world – maps of what is safe and what is dangerous. That’s how the brain becomes wired. People carry an internal map of who they are in relationship to the world.

Implicit memory system: Rather than being stored verbally, traumatic memory is a much more elementary, organic level of a single sensation triggering the state of fear.

Dr. Van der Kolk: It’s important to recognize that PTSD is not about the past. It’s about a body that continues to behave and organize itself as if the experience is happening right now.

That’s why the main focus of therapy needs to be helping people shift their internal experience or, in other words, how the trauma is lodged inside them.

Talking can be less effective than nonverbal therapy: Talking can actually distract a patient from feeling, and from taking stock of what's going on inside.

Dr. Van der Kolk: All too often, when people feel traumatized, their bodies can feel like they’re under threat even if it’s a beautiful day and they’re in no particular danger. So our task becomes helping people to feel those feelings of threat, and to just notice how the feelings go away as time goes on.

This won't be forever: It’s important to help a patient learn that, when a sensation comes up, it’s okay to have it because something else will come next. This is one way we can help patients re-establish this sense of time which gets destroyed by the trauma.

Dr. Van der Kolk:  Once a patient knows that something will come to an end, their whole attitude changes. Sensations and emotions become intolerable for clients because they think, “This will never come to an end.” But once a patient knows that something will come to an end, their whole attitude changes.  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

An excellent reminder not to define young people by a behavior they might be struggling with...

Pam Parish wrote an excellent article on this topic.
Here are some quotes (below).

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Needing something so bad you don’t know how to get it

How do I make healthy connections? 
What does it look like when relationships slowly build over time? 

As foster care youth, we often lack that secure base of knowing that someone will always love us and be there for us.

Walking around without that comfort and reassurance is like walking around with a missing piece inside.

This is an unmet need that we live with every day, until we are able to establish safe, secure, and lasting relationships in our lives.

Because we grow up lacking the security of that connection, I've noticed that foster youth can sometimes go to extremes: trusting either too quickly or too slowly.

It's ironic - this sense of needing something so badly that you don't know how to get it.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Comprehensive Overview of Trauma-Informed Child Welfare Practice

The Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare has compiled a comprehensive overview of Trauma-Informed Child Practice for Winter 2013.

Quoting from page 26, referring to No Way Home: Understanding the Needs and Experiences of Homeless Youth in Hollywood” (Rabinovitz, Desai, Schneir,and Clark, 2010):
  • Approximately half (48%) of the youth surveyed (n=389) reported previous or current involvement with the child protective services system (CPS); forty percent of youth reported having been removed from their homes by CPS. The mean age when youth reported having been removed by CPS was 9.3 years old. 
  • Almost all (95%) of the youth who had been removed from home had been placed in a group home at some time, and close to one-third of the youth reported they had been in 6 or more group homes.
  • Clearly, our child welfare system has not been effective in finding these children and youth the safe and permanent housing they require for healthy development.

Parent-Child Interaction Therapy

The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control's Division of Violence Protection has recently released a publication entitled: Essentials for Childhood: Steps to Create Safe, Stable and Nurturing Relationships.

One of the evidence-based programs they recommend is Parent-Child Interaction Therapy: PCIT improves the quality of parent-child relationships and changes how parents and children interact with one another. Parents learn specific skills to build a nurturing and secure relationship with their child. Coaches work directly with parent-child pairs to help them learn new skills.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Trauma Informed Child Welfare Practice

What does it really mean to have trauma-informed child welfare practice? 
The Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare has recently published a comprehensive look at this prevalent child welfare issue.


Toolkit on Court-Involved Youth Exposed to Violence

Research shows that most youth entering the juvenile justice system are estimated to have been exposed to violence and other traumatic events, oftentimes having experienced multiple types of victimizations.

Youth in the juvenile justice system already face significant challenges related to their incarceration and justice involvement, including separation from their families, communities, education and other positive social networks.

Having a trauma-informed justice system is critical to promoting the well-being of the child, their families and the community.

Developed in partnership with the American Bar Association (ABA) Center on Children and the Law, Child and Family Policy Associates and the Chadwick Center for Children and Families, this collection of resources offers practice tips for juvenile defenders, children's attorneys and GALs, judges, and CASAs and provides guidance on policy reforms and other considerations for trauma-informed advocacy in the courts.

Polyvictimization of Children

Polyvictimization refers to having experienced multiple victimizations such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, bullying, and exposure to family violence.

Parental Exposure to Trauma