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Trauma Work

Most children with Reactive Attachment Disorder have experienced some type of trauma---most have experienced multiple traumas.  In dealing with trauma, it is important to understand a little bit of how the brain works.  The brain is divided into the left and right hemispheres.  The left hemisphere is responsible for: positive, optimistic emotions; processing of verbal communication, words, and numbers; for analyzing, problem solving, and processing information sequentially, allows for elaboration; and has a tendency to approach and explore.  The right hemisphere is responsible for negative, pessimistic emotions; involved in processing nonverbal emotional communication and imagery, limited capacity to think analytically; provides a global perspective; and has a tendency to withdraw and avoid. 
 
I believe that in successful trauma work, the client is able to tell the story of the trauma without reacting emotionally.  I believe that memories of the trauma get stuck in the right side of the brain.  This is why people experience the distressing symptoms of the trauma.  It is the right side of the brain that deals more with imagery and negative emotions.   The American psychiatric Association recommends several treatment options in treating Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.  Some of these options include:  Cogntive-Behavioral Therapy, prolonged Exposure Therapy, and EMDR.  If a child is under 7years old, I tend to use play therapy to address the trauma.  Children who are 7 years and older, I tend to use EMDR.
 
It is thought that using EMDR links the traumatic neural networks, in the right hemisphere of the brain, to the more logical and adaptive neural networks in the left hemisphere of the brain.  I also believe that trauma not only affects the mind, but also the person's body.  I believe that some traumatic memories are stored or connected with physical parts of the body.  This is another reason I utilize EMDR, as it addresses this issue.  In addition, I utilize Sensorimotor Therapy as well.

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