One reason therapy of any kind is so reparative is because it give our nervous system a different response than it was expecting. Let’s say that you come in to chat about a trauma you’ve experienced in the past and the therapist provides the opposite experience for you as you retell it by being nurturing, believing, and not swept up in their own story about it. This allows your nervous system to process the attachment trauma of not being heard, believed, or attuned to the first time during the trauma in the past. This works even better when your partnered in session with a horse because of their great ability to attune to us!
Experts like Dr. Purvis and Dr. Cross state that parents of kids who have attachment wounds are supposed to be like therapist in their home to make those brain pathways needed. You can use this therapy tool of providing a different experience in your home to heal attachment trauma! When you see your child in stress, ask yourself “When my child was a baby what was the response to this experience for them?” If you know they were neglected, respond with attention and care. If you know they were abused, have an extra calm and nurturing response. This is also why TBRI prioritizes connection, giving voice, choices and other amazing tools. However… this does take special X-Ray vision to see beneath the sass of a 14 year old who feels their needs are not being met because you won’t give them their phone. This doesn’t mean give in, it means respond with meeting their regulation need. Empathize with how hard it is for them and sit with them while they calm (you are actually empathetic and calm because you can see this is a “baby” need not met). And just like that.. boom! You created a pathway to override the old neglect and dysregulated one!
Hard stuff though right?? I hear ya… What if I told you that you don’t need to be a therapist or perfect to do this though! Research from Dr. Susan Woodhouse in 2019 states that parents of infants need to “get it right” about 50% of the time when responding to their child. We are parenting kids with brains like infants in many ways. This means we don’t have to be perfect, but we do have less leeway than children not impacted by attachment trauma, which research states is about 33% of the time of parents needing to be “good enough.” However if you do find you are swept up in your own “stuff” more than half of the time, that is a good barometer to you knowing when you need your own therapeutic support. Though maybe not as severe, we are all impacted by our own attachment wounds too!
If you want to learn all the awesome TBRI tools that also heal attachment wounds, consider attending the simulcast I am hosting! Details are on this page.
If you need any support with applying this in your home feel free to send me an email! Contact@wholeheartedherdcounseling.com