New perspective of working with children who have suffered from early abandonment trauma


Aiming to promote and foster the development of the adaptive information system, we have focused on a dual purpose: rebuilding attachment and ensuring the neuro functional reorganization and development of the child at early stages. For this we rely on both; EMDR processing, as well as sensory integration and sensorimotor therapies, which promote the integration of primitive reflexes and the child´s development at early years. Given the baby's phylogenetic development and the ideal conditions for such development to occur, we try to generate the same conditions, with the aim to facilitate and complete part of the child's development that, so far, has not occurred yet. There are cases in which, next to the abandonment trauma and the lack of attachment, there was no early stimulation, especially in the first year of life. Sometimes, the emotional environment has been so poor that the baby lacks the ability to search and produce stimulation. Other times, the environment has been so neglectful that it didn’t create appropriate conditions for the baby to fulfill his early sensorial stimulation needs adequately. Be it the poor emotional environment or the neglectful environment, or both at the same time, we are left with children who didn’t get the opportunity to generate sufficient neuronal connections (synapses) or a sufficient quality (myelination) of those connections, so that their reptilian brain can mature. This phenomenon make the integration of the brain more difficult, both vertically and horizontally, and this makes the AIP (adaptive information processing) model difficult, if not impossible. We will see how the child’s body expression in the present moment mimics the pain of an abandoned child, and gives us the opportunity to create a state of co-­‐consciousness that will allow us to transform and change the adjacent belief. Around the age of 7 years old, children have built a sense of self and of belonging to a group. At that point, social interaction acts as a mirror and the child starts to see himself as a reflection of the feedback that his surroundings give him. Those children get more and more conscious of their difference (we can talk about a secondary trauma). Next to taking into account the phylogenetic development that those children should have had, and facilitating this process, we should make sure that families as well as children understand how they work, and connect with their own different states, to facilitate their integration. Through videos and clinical material, we show the evolution of adopted children with whom we have already intervened from this dual therapeutic point of view; generating a greater vertical and horizontal integration and a better attachment consolidation. The quality of attachment relationships is going to define the ability to regulate themselves, but even if children receive affection, they cannot achieve organization and regulation without integration.






Marie-­‐France Gizard
Cristina Cortès

Original Work Citation

Gizard, M.-F., & Cortès, C. (2018, June). New perspective of working with children who have suffered from early abandonment trauma. Children psychotherapy. Presentation at the 19th EMDR Europe Conference, Strasbourg, France



“New perspective of working with children who have suffered from early abandonment trauma,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed October 27, 2020,

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