THE IMPACT OF TRAUMA
Trauma-informed care involves a broad understanding of traumatic stress reactions and common responses to trauma. I understand how trauma can affect treatment presentation, engagement, and the outcome of behavioral health services.
Trauma, including one-time, multiple, or long-lasting repetitive events, affects everyone differently. Some individuals may clearly display criteria associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but many more individuals will exhibit resilient responses or brief subclinical symptoms or consequences that fall outside of diagnostic criteria. The impact of trauma can be subtle, insidious, or outright destructive. How an event affects an individual depends on many factors, including characteristics of the individual, the type and characteristics of the event(s), developmental processes, the meaning of the trauma, and sociocultural factors.
What is Adoptee Relinquishment Trauma?
With each adopted person having their own unique story, personality, family, and community, it is important to recognize that some adoptees will feel an event is traumatizing while another adopted person experiencing a similar event will not.
While post-traumatic stress disorder is a recognized mental health condition with treatment protocols, tragically, relinquishment trauma – the trauma that occurs to a child when the bond with their mother has been severed due to relinquishment -is frequently ignored by the mental health clinicians and the adoption research community . The adoption community believes relinquishment trauma is a form of developmental trauma  that occurs when a psychological wound happens to a newborn or child that has been separated from their mother due to adoption, foster care, or orphanage. Just because some adoptees do not develop relinquishment trauma with symptoms, it does not mean that relinquishment trauma is not a mental health condition with debilitating effects for some adoptees.
*From Relinquishment Trauma: The Forgotten Trauma by Marie Dolfi. Read the rest of the article here.
 While adoption trauma can be found in an Internet search, this author was unable to find one research article on adoptee relinquishment trauma. Nancy Verrier’s book The Primal Wound is a testament to the impact of relinquishment on adoptees but it is not a research paper. A few research papers have been written on post-traumatic stress disorder in birth mothers because of relinquishment. These articles are cited on the Adoption Search and Reunion blog page.
 To learn more about developmental trauma disorder read The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk. While researchers of developmental trauma do not describe or use the term “relinquishment trauma”, case examples of adoptees with developmental trauma can be found in the writings of developmental trauma researchers.
I build strong therapeutic relationships with my clients to help them heal and thrive.
In the past 3 decades, we have learned an enormous amount about brain functions and interpersonal attachment systems. This new knowledge has not always been systematically applied to help traumatized children and adults heal from trauma. I follow Dr. Bessel van Der Kolk‘s research on integrating therapy with science, as written about in The Body Keeps the Score.
Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives.
– The Body Keeps the Score
Additionally, I have been trained through the Trauma Institute on their Community Resiliency Model (CRM)®, and I have also gone through a short 101 training through Somatic Experiencing International®. See My Credentials for more information.