Emotional Regulation Skills for Traumatized Youth  (A DBT Approach) by Lisa Frede, M.A., R.C.C Strong, painful emotions are a part of being human, especially part of being a teen or pre-teen, and even more so part of being a young person with a background in complex trauma. We all can benefit from learning more about how emotions work in our minds and bodies. Understanding what they are, identifying the urges that accompany them, and putting words to the experience, helps …

KIDS & TECHNOLOGY – DAMAGING OR DISCONNECTING? (Part 1) By Angela Murphy, School Psychologist Once when I was visiting a family, the 12-year old adopted son *Josh, took me to his room to show me his game.  Within a 5-minute time span I saw his very real looking character smoke marijuana, pick up a prostitute, run down a police officer, and the boy talked about killing his family next (in the game).  By the time I stood up to leave …

The Great Disconnect by David Brown As a professional clinician, I have been ruminating on the possibility that as therapists and other forms of helpers, we often deny our own embedded emotional pain, trauma, shame and vulnerability.  I think we often will use our professional role as a basis for deciding that our best course of action is to keep burying that pain because if we allowed others access to it, they might think less of us or view us …

The Value of PACE in Parenting by Lisa Frede Have you noticed that “parenting as usual” seems to be backfiring with your child? Do you have a child that retaliates with rage and aggression to traditional discipline? Rather than using conventional behavior modification strategies which may trigger rejection and shame (and the big behaviors that often accompany them), try using PACE.  In his book, Building the Bonds of Attachment, Daniel Hughes spells out an effective way of being with children …

Anxiety, Physiological Responses and it’s Connection to Complex Trauma By Nicole Fakaua Sherri was 11 years old and woke up most mornings complaining her tummy ached and had trouble eating her breakfast.  Her foster father Mike noticed that every time they would drive to her visitations with her bio mom, she would rub her head and seemed to have a hard time concentrating on conversation.  Her behavior would accelerate a few days before these visits: outbursts, magnified fears, her hands …

Compassion and Shame: When Your Best Interventions Seem to Backfire Little Lisa is sometimes crazed with fury and hatred and often directs this toward her foster mom, Susan. Susan has been learning a lot about shame and connection so she understands that Lisa is lashing out at her because she fears being hurt and being rejected. She recognizes that her behavior is an expression of her underlying needs and fears and therefore, Susan now knows she needs to respond to …

Complex Trauma and Medications by Chuck Geddes, Ph.D. This post will offer some thoughts on the use of psychotropic medications for children and youth with complex trauma histories.  In a previous post, Complex Trauma and Assessment {https://www.complextrauma.ca/complex-trauma-assessment/ }, I wrote about a young boy named David and how typical psychiatric assessment processes resulted in him receiving seven different diagnoses to describe the variety of emotional and behavioural challenges he was exhibiting.  Our premise is that this assessment and diagnostic process …

CCI in a Cross-Cultural Setting by: Dr. Kirk Austin Baako cried incessantly at the orphanage, where he was a resident.  When Jake and Sarah stepped off the plane in Zimbabwe, thrilled to adopt this little 3-year-old boy, they were excited, curious and a tad bit anxious.  They arrived home to Canada and after a number of months, were overwhelmed as to how to settle him.  He would cry every time Sarah was out of eyesight and he was so exceptionally …

Adverse Childhood Experiences and their Lifelong Toll By David Brown & Nicole Fakaua   “I just can’t seem to shake my depression, my sense of failure…my lack of energy…it’s all just so much.  I’ve been on and off antidepressants for most of my adult life, struggle with the rum…I never seem to hit my breakthrough…I just can’t…” Kai’s voice trails off. Kai is a 34 year old, low income man on his second marriage with two young teen children who …

Trauma and Culture The purpose of this article is to highlight key considerations when working with psychological trauma from a cultural perspective.  Culture is a broad concept and can be difficult to pin down.  Often culture is understood as ethnicity or race, however it can involve many other facets of identity (or social locations) including and not limited to, religion, disability, and age (Brown, 2008).  Broadly, culture is considered as a system of values, norms, behaviors, language and history that …