This is the first of two articles about how to get over childhood stress or – how does therapy work – in which I will explain how people get hurt by childhood stress (1st article) and how they can recover from it (2nd article “Healing from Childhood Stress and Abuse: How Therapy works”). I have included the impact of childhood stress seen through neurobiological eyes because it shows clearly the pathways to how the healing can take place.
I have often been asked by colleagues why I use neurobiological concepts instead of psychological concepts to explain what is going on. My answer to that is: often psychological concepts are way out there and hard to follow by people who are not totally into that side of things: take for example Freud’s or Melanie Klein’s work – very exciting … but you have to bend over backwards and jump through a needle’s eye to follow their line of thinking.
Whereas neurobiological concepts can be ‘seen’ on MRI scans and we become more understanding of how our brain works. I find that exciting.
So why is childhood stress (hardship, abuse, neglect) so damaging? Why can people not follow the often given advice and just ‘GET OVER IT’? She short answer is: Because the stressful experiences become part of who you are! Let me show you how that works: (Disclaimer: I am not a neuroscientist and don’t claim to be an expert. I’ll give you my ‘lay translation’ of hundreds of research articles and books that I have studied).