Clinical Expertise

CoRegulation – Part 2

Dan Siegel talks about “connecting to calm” in this video. He makes an interesting comment that in order to connect we need to be willing to feel the child’s pain.
This is difficult if we have our own unresolved issues and cannot accept their feelings. We always say that if you have any buttons that can be pushed, your child will find them and PUSH them.  My suggestion is to try “connecting to calm” to see how both you and your child respond.

Coregulation – part 1

Young children and those that have experienced early trauma require co-regulation before they can self regulate. Co-regulation requires that the adult join with the child and bring them to a state of calm. This of course means that the adult must be calm. This is difficult because children can be so frustrating. I observed a five year old and a father standing in line at a busy coffee shop. Of course the owner made the checkout line full of beautiful and tantalizing items. The father kept asking the child to stay out of trouble while he irritatingly waited in the long line. The child was left to regulate himself with an irritated and impatient father. As you might guess, the child continued to escalate as the father repeatedly corrected him. A better solution might have been for the father to pull his son in, placing his arm around him in order to give him a sense of calm and containment. In this article Bath explains how co-regulation helps children develop regulatory skills.

Empathy Example

This is a nice reminder and a way to teach kids about empathy. Enjoy! 


Development of empathy

This information from Zero to Three explains the ways that children develop empathy and what parents can do to help that process.  Children with developmental trauma sadly do not have a caregiver that responds to them with empathy. They may also have watched other family members treated coldly as in domestic violence or abuse situations.  It is no wonder that adoptive parents often see little empathy in attachment disordered children. 
The good news is that empathy can be developed. The article also gives suggestions to parents. Though they are geared toward younger children they also work well with older children that are emotionally young.

Oxytocin Therapy and Attachment

Problems with oxytocin therapy
This is a study about the use of oxytocin to help children attach.
It makes sense that the feel good hormone should help children feel good about their adoptive parent. The problem is that it was actually found to exacerbate problems if the person had a negative experience with an early attachment figure.
One of my long term clients became much worse after being given oxytocin therapy. He regained lost ground when it was discontinued. I guess there is really no quick fix when it comes to building attachment.