But they are too young to be traumatized!


All too often it is assumed that infants or young children are too young to remember frightening, painful, and confusing experiences, and therefore will not suffer harm because they are too young to be traumatized. Clinical experience; however, as well as research on neurobiology of trauma, child development, and attachment, tell a different story. While very often not verbalized, overwhelming early experiences are nonetheless remembered implicitly. As such they tend to find expression in a myriad of debilitating emotional and somatic symptoms across a persons life span; even into adulthood. Understanding how early trauma can affect the child developmentally, and how it might be expressed, is crucial not only to clinicians treating children but also to those working with adults. It is through understanding early traumatic markers and the subtle, often coded signs, sometimes rooted as far back as infancy, that one can begin the process of untangling these symptoms and freeing the individual from a lifetime of pain, suffering, and failed relationships. This workshop will examine the types of early traumamedical, severe neglect, all forms of abuse, disrupted attachmentand how these traumatic experiences impact the young child from birth to five years. The signs and symptoms of traumatized and dissociative children, as well as available research on the topic will be described, along with case examples. The need for careful interpretation of often convoluted and subtle symptoms will be explained. Accurate interpretation of a childs presentation relies on understanding the neurobiology of trauma and dissociation. That, as well as understanding the impact on child development and attachment is crucial for effective intervention. Strategies such as Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) and involvement of caregivers in the therapy will be described. Videoed sessions and artwork describing the young traumatized child's inner world and recovery process will augment the presentation.






F. S. Waters
R. Potgieter
N. Yehuda

Original Work Citation

Waters, F. S., Potgieter, R., & Yehuda, N. (2011, November). But they are too young to be traumatized!. Presentation at the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation 28th Annual International Conference, Montreal, QE



“But they are too young to be traumatized!,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed March 4, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/21896.

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