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Journal Club | Negative body experience in women with early childhood trauma: associations with trauma severity and dissociation

Join our virtual Journal and Book Club on Telegram with meetups on Zoom and post your comments and chat in Telegram after reading the whole article. Here is a quote to inspire you to read the rest.

A crucial but often overlooked impact of early life exposure to trauma is its far-reaching effect on an individual’s relationship with their body (Van der Kolk, 20062014). This subject regained some attention with the neurobiological emphasis on the importance of signalling body-related phenomena in order to enhance self-regulation and control (Van der Kolk, 2006). A central element in narratives of early-traumatized people is their lack of body ownership. The experience of the body as ‘my body’ is acquired in early development and is based on physical experiences and accompanying clear definitions of boundaries between self and others (Straus, 1988). As interpersonal processes between children and the people in their environment are conditions for the construction of a coherent body image, which may be severely impaired by threats to the physical integrity and/or violations of body (Sack, Boroske-Leiner, & Lahmann, 2010). Furthermore, memories of traumatic experiences, which are often body-related, may lead to rejection of and withdrawal from the body, and to a loss of contact with the body (Petzold, 1996). As a consequence, traumatized individuals often find it difficult to attend to inner sensations and perceptions and sometimes even deny any somatic awareness (Price, 2005; Van der Kolk, 2006).

Scheffers et al 2017

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Research Update | Social touch deprivation during COVID-19: effects on psychological wellbeing and craving interpersonal touch

“a particularly effective form of communicating (non-verbal) support, which in addition facilitates the formation and maintenance of social bonds, is touch”

von Mohr et al 2021

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Research Update | Sense of touch and heat research wins Nobel Prize

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The heat of peppers
The power of touch

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‘Unmet need’, ‘misunderstood’ and ‘naughty’ – why do words matter.

Behaviour is communication. ‘Naughty’ should never be used to describe what is unmet need, misunderstood communication or even behaviour that challenges adults.

Sensory Ladders are a free resource that can be used to understand and support children and others who may communicate their unmet needs in a way that others can’t easily understand. Sometimes unmet need results behaviours that challenges others. However, ‘naughty’ is not a word that should ever be used. We should seek to understand and find better ways to support young people with obvious distress or those who have yet to learn self-regulation, distress tolerance and interpersonal effectiveness including communication skills.

This recent BBC show was so reductionistic and limited in their presentation of complex issues – and the write up that follows is so unhelpful, labelling what appears to be a vulnerable young man as ‘naughty’. The methods used to extinguish behaviours will have little carry over into other settings.

Now more than ever children’s mental health is at the forefront, and we should seek to base our interventions in emerging neuroscience. Specialist support with complex trauma, special educational needs, neuro- developmental difficulties and tricky mental health should receive specialist multi-disciplinary assessment and support, in the same way that physical health difficulties do.

This support can help address challenges participating in everyday life to the full, enhancing development to its full potential, building on emerging strengths and helping to find ways to address the things that might be challenging. Neuroscience supports the notion of a fantastic plastic growing and changing brain and the strong connections between body, brain and mind. It is wise to use this lens to best support childhood and teenage development and learning of skills. #realising potential

Kate and Aniesa have both written books that explore different ways of thinking and with clear rounding in recent emerging neuroscience.

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Research Update: Moving Toward Understanding Autism: Visual-Motor Integration, Imitation, and Social Skill Development

Despite high phenotypic heterogeneity in ASD, a meaningful subpopulation of children with ASD (∼90%) show significant general motor impairment. More focused studies on the nature of motor impairment in ASD reveal that children with ASD are particularly impaired on tasks such as ball catching and motor imitation that require efficient visual-motor integration (VMI).

Lidstone et al 2021.

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