The June Childhood Trauma Newsletter: EMDR therapy, New Podcasts, and Apologies to Children

Welcome to the June edition of The Childhood Trauma Newsletter! I have so much new content and resources to share with you!

First off, have you heard of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR)? If not, you need to understand this evidence-based modality of trauma treatment. It’s a game-changer.

I am certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, and the process was a transformational experience for me. For years I heard how powerful EMDR therapy could be for people with traumatic experiences, but I couldn’t find a deep explanation of the process online. Over time, I became so curious I decided to become certified in EMDR therapy so I could take full advantage of the framework for my professional and personal life.

I was NOT disappointed. At all.

My training in EMDR therapy was a transformative experience. EMDR is an evidence-based psychotherapy approach designed to help individuals process and heal from traumatic experiences and other distressing life events. The training provided a comprehensive understanding of the theoretical framework and practical techniques that underpin this powerful therapy.

The core of the training involved experiential practice with fellow participants. Engaging in role-plays and simulations allowed us to experience both sides of the therapeutic relationship: being the client and the therapist. This immersive learning experience helped us develop empathy and insight into the profound impact that EMDR can have on individuals’ lives. It was eye-opening to say the least! I quickly connected my problems in the present that stemmed from my problems in the past, and this new perspective helped me understand my behavior and the relationships around me.

Free EMDR Tool for Clinicians:

Throughout the training, we also learned about the different protocols and variations of EMDR. From working with single-incident traumas to complex cases, from addressing phobias to enhancing performance, EMDR proved to be a versatile and adaptable therapy approach. We were introduced to bilateral stimulation techniques, such as eye movements, taps, or sounds, to facilitate processing traumatic memories and associated emotions.

If you are a certified EMDR practitioner, check out this FREE online version of bilateral stimulation that you can use for virtual therapy sessions. (This is not a paid endorsement, just a helpful tool I recommend.)

Resources of the Month:

#1. Unraveling Adoption Podcast:

Acknowledging Grief and Loss in Adoption w/ Beth Tyson

In this episode of Unraveling Adoption, I discuss the often overlooked and misdiagnosed effects of ambiguous loss on children in foster care, kinship care, and adoptive families. You will learn what ambiguous loss is and how you can help children through their unacknowledged grief to begin their healing process.

This episode will be particularly relevant if you are raising or working with children impacted by family loss, and it will likely hit home if you are an adoptee or lost a loved one through death, estrangement, or addiction.

Find this episode of Unraveling Adoption HERE or in your favorite podcast app. Please subscribe, rate, and review the Unraveling Adoption podcast while you’re there. It would really help us reach more families who need to hear this vital information.

#2. The Purposeful Parent Podcast, w/ guest Beth Tyson

This is one of my favorite episodes on childhood trauma to date! You don’t want to miss it.

We discuss what moves the needle for children with huge, disruptive behaviors, what children learn when we apologize to them for the mistakes we make as parents, and a complete overview of my best-selling children’s book, A Grandfamily for Sullivan.

I love hearing your comments and questions about the episode. Please share your thoughts with me by replying to this email.

#3. “All Connected” – is an animated video series I helped create alongside ConnectOurKids to help teens and young adults cope with childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences. You might remember that back in December 2022, we released “The Connections Matter Academy.” Unfortunately, there was a copyright issue with the title of our series, so we rebranded it to All Connected: A Place for Belonging.

Too many young people don’t realize that their mental health problems and behaviors are caused by the trauma they and their caregivers experienced. This animated series dives into the tricky topic of trauma to support young people at the beginning of their healing process.

Press play below and watch our short videos to see how they can help a child you love recover from trauma.

Interested in working with me? I help organizations create trauma-informed content and provide custom training on trauma-responsive care. I am currently reviewing proposals for projects in 2024. Contact me!

Trauma Champion of the Month:

I looked through all the suggestions you sent me in my last newsletter, and the winner is in! If your suggestion was not chosen, I have added them to my list for future newsletters. Thank you to everyone who participated! Please send your nominations for the next edition of The Childhood Trauma Newsletter to Beth@BethTyson.com.

The Trauma Champion for June 2023 is…

Dr. Nancy McWilliams, PhD

I studied Dr. McWilliam’s work in my master’s program at Eastern University from 2009-2013, and it left a lasting impression on me and my career as a trauma therapist. I learned from her that we need alternatives to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the manual most mental health professionals in the U.S. use to diagnose and treat mental health “disorders.”

From her Wikipedia biography:

“Dr. McWilliams specializes in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and supervision; the relationship between diagnosis and treatment; alternatives to DSM and ICD diagnostic conventions; integration of feminist theory and psychoanalytic knowledge; the application of psychoanalytic understanding to the problems of diverse clinical populations; altruism; narcissism; and trauma and dissociative disorders.

McWilliams’ 1994 book Psychoanalytic Diagnosis, published in a second edition in 2011, is considered by psychoanalysts and psychodynamic psychotherapists to be a classic text on the diagnosis of patients within these theoretical frameworks.[7] It was described by Otto F. Kernberg as serving an “essential function” in educating about a psychoanalytic understanding of personality and personality disorders.[8]

The book criticizes the approach to diagnosis widely adopted in the United States following the publication of the DSM-III in 1980,[5] and instead attempts to develop an alternative approach that mixes elements of classical drive theory, object relations theory, ego psychology, neurobiology, attachment theory, and modern psychodynamic theory in general, often taking a relational perspective.[7][8] It relates these theoretical considerations to their implications for the practice of psychotherapy.”

Dr. McWilliams was among the first people brave enough to oppose the influential DSM. She created her manual based on comprehensive assessments that included what people experienced and not just what was “wrong” with them.

To learn more, watch this recent interview with Nancy McWilliams on Narcissism – a topic frequently requested by those who follow me on my Facebook page.

What’s New with Me?

I feel like this school year flew by, and I have mixed emotions about it ending. My daughter will be moving up to 2nd grade, and since she turned five, it feels like time has been slipping through my fingers like sand from the beach.

This summer, I aim to soak in the moments of pure fun with my daughter and family. However, despite my best intentions, I know I will experience bad moods, disagreements, disappointments, and frustration this summer. Not because anything is wrong with us, but because this is the natural balance of life.

Caregiving is especially hard when you and/or the children have experienced trauma. One thing helping me cope with my “mom guilt” when I mess up is apologizing to my daughter. Apologizing when we fly off the handle is one way to repair our relationship after a communication breakdown with our children.

Why is apologizing powerful?

The next time you feel guilty about how you acted in front of or towards a child, offer a heartfelt apology. You might need to wait a day or two for everyone to calm down, but the learning opportunities are abundant once cooler heads prevail. You can say: “I’m not proud of how I acted yesterday. I wanted to do better, but I couldn’t. I apologize for upsetting you. That must’ve been hard to handle.”

In other news, we adopted a six-month-old puppy a few weeks ago, and he has added so much comfort and love to our family already! Although he’s a hand full (50% of the time), having him is what our family needed. I’ve noticed we are laughing more with him around and spending more time together off our screens. I included a photo for your viewing pleasure.

On a business note, I’ve welcomed a marketing team to Beth Tyson Trauma Consulting, and I can’t wait to see what new things we will cook up together! My business is growing faster than I expected, and the addition of Bethany Fraser from Twenty1Media will free me up to do what I do best – advocate, create, and educate.

If you reach out to me to schedule consulting or training you might hear back from Bethany. She has a heart of pure gold and wanted to work with me because she believes wholeheartedly in my mission to heal and prevent trauma. She is also an adult adoptee who is on a mission to raise awareness for people with trauma and loss.

I love hearing from my readers. Please reach out with any questions or thoughts you have! I wish you a peaceful and playful summer with a mixture of mess-ups so you can role-model apologies. Go forth and make repairable mistakes!

Do you know someone raising a grandchild or other relative due to unfortunate circumstances? My children’s book, A Grandfamily for Sullivan, is a resource and therapeutic tool for kinship families, aka grandfamilies! Take a walk with Sullivan and Grandma as they navigate the big emotions that erupt when a child suddenly has to live with a new family member.

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