What's "Relational Trauma"?
I use the term "relational trauma" to describe adoption or attachment issues, a history of neglect or ongoing abuse by a caregiver, orphanage or foster care experiences, or exposure to domestic violence or divorce.
Kids with these experiences sometimes make slow or minimal progress in other forms of therapy because most forms of therapy rely on the child's capacity to trust the therapist. When a child has a history of profound relational trauma, often they feel they cannot trust anyone- not even their loving parents or a very caring, warm-hearted and competent therapist.
How is Theraplay® different?
The ability to trust is not a pre-requisite in Theraplay. Theraplay works specifically on creating an ability to trust, starting from ground zero. It cuts to the core of the trust issue.
In addition, because it works on a non-verbal level, Theraplay is helpful for kids who are traumatized, but don't have memories of their traumatic experiences or don't want to talk about their past.
What symptoms do you treat?
Difficulty sitting still or concentrating
Lack of impulse control
Lack of cause-and-effect reasoning
Tearfulness, mood swings
Social withdrawal or social anxiety; lack of same-age friends
Lack of personal boundaries, social skills, or empathy
Stealing, lying, or breaking other family rules repeatedly
Lack of conscience or remorse
Tantrums, rages, or destructive behavior
Problems sleeping, nightmares
Hoarding or hiding food, over-eating or refusing to eat
Clingy behavior, fearful to separate from caregivers
Self-injury, cutting, picking at the skin, hair-pulling or repeated self-injurious "accidents"
Sexual promiscuity, sexting, or provocative behavior
Seeming depressed, numb, or "out of it" most of the time
Difficulty tolerating small disappointments or changes in routine