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102 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound and Potentially Life-Changing
Briefly put, this is one of the most important and profound works in the whole trauma literature. The authors' thesis holds that developmental trauma is very different than PTSD. Developmental trauma is radically far-reaching and colors the entire life of those affected by it. The athorrs outline five different adaptive survival styles used by infants to cope with trauma...
Published 23 months ago by Gerald E. Sullivan

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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book on trauma issues
I agree with the authors' conceptualization about the different ways developmental trauma can affect people, but I'm not really sure everyone fits neatly into one of their 5 subtypes. I think people who have been traumatized throughout childhood can end up developing elements of all the 5 types mentioned. I addition, I'm not really sure I buy into their treatment...
Published 19 months ago by Kathryn


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102 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound and Potentially Life-Changing, February 25, 2013
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Briefly put, this is one of the most important and profound works in the whole trauma literature. The authors' thesis holds that developmental trauma is very different than PTSD. Developmental trauma is radically far-reaching and colors the entire life of those affected by it. The athorrs outline five different adaptive survival styles used by infants to cope with trauma. The five styles are chronological in order. The first, connective survival style, is the earliest and most impactful. It takes place between birth and about a year. Where the child receives inadequate nurturing or abuse, this style becomes dominant. Other styles come in different times and have their own but less catastrophic impact. In the connection survival style the child adapts by disconnecting from his(or her) physical and emotional self. As a result, the child experiences great difficulty in relating to others and is often isolated without knowing how to address the problem.
The other survival styles flow in later stages of infant development progression : attachment (difficulty knowing what we need and feeling that our needs deserve do not deserve to be met), trust (feeling that one cannot depend on anyone but themselves and feeling a need to be in control), autonomy (feeling burdened and pressured with difficulty setting limits and saying no directly), and love-sexuality (difficulty integrating heart and sexuality).
The book focuses almost exclusively on the connective survival style. The two authors spend a great deal of time describing the conditions that cause this style and the difficulty that those who use it have with even recognizing it. They also spend several chapters outlining how to address the connective survival style therapeutically. In fact, those chapters are a superior description of how to operate therapeutically. Anyone in a helping profession could profit by reading them.
Yours truly is one of the connective survival products. Reading the book felt like seeing myself for the first time and knowing why I was this way. The book well shows the disastrous consequences for a combination of abuse and neglect. I’m not sure what to do with all this yet but do something I will.
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106 of 109 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good description of this complex issue, November 5, 2012
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This review is from: Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship (Paperback)
I read this book recently and found it very helpful. I struggle(d) myself with all these issues described. As no such books existed when I started, it took me a long time to figure out the root course of my trouble. To my mind this book gives a very good description of the complex topic of developmental trauma. The way into this unfortunate state of being traumatized (and the impact on life), and also the way out. It all fits to my personal experience. It is very helpful to understand the dependencies and also the effect trauma has on the nervous system. It is certainly not easy to get out of a developmental trauma, but it is possible - it will take time however. This books gives a good starting point by making you understand: "Yes, you are not crazy. You only reacted in a "normal" way to an unbearable situation." Being aware, of what happened to you is already a big step forward. I hope this book helps many people to come to a better life.
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73 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, Healing, Transformational Read, December 4, 2012
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This review is from: Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship (Paperback)
This book was truly transformational. I feel as if I finally found a book written about my life. It was so healing, as if somebody finally understood the trauma of my childhood development. Full of life-changing information for every person who did not have their core needs met. I mourned my way through it, as it was so fundamental to the understanding of my foundation. For me this book rates 6 stars. Thank you for writing this book! I have already passed it on to 3 people.
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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent framework for looking at mental health issues, January 6, 2013
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As a mental health professional as well a person with lived experience of trauma, I rate this book highly. It provides one of the clearest, most concise and useful explanations of developmental trauma I have encountered. It avoids the common tendency for such books to see mental distress through a prism of diagnoses and medical jargon. Instead, this book acknowledges that many people suffer from varying degrees of trauma; therefore, it does not pathologise the symptoms of distress. This is refreshing and helpful. It also offers many practical suggestions for overcoming the effects of trauma. I will use this information both personally and professionally.
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80 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! It was SO right on!, October 21, 2012
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It explained my issues EXACTLY! I've never read a book that did that so well. I will read this book over and over again to absorb all of its content and healing information into my wounded parts. It already healed some of those parts just reading things that made me realize that things I thought made me "crazy" were just normal reactions of a child to having to adjust to a world that did not meet it's most basic emotional connection and physical needs. I would highly recommend this book, especially to all the people who think they are "crazy" and don't know why they act and react like they do.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truely Valuable Source Of Information!!!!, February 4, 2013
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This review is from: Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship (Paperback)
Such an easy read for such a complicated subject! I've experienced other 'self-help' or 'methodology' books that can be read in parcel, meaning that much of those may be oversimplified or overwritten for many readers. Not so with this book. It is neither oversimplified nor too 'techie'. That being said, when I downloaded this book I proceeded to read it cover to cover - something new for me. It gives a clear understanding for how humans incorporate early experience in non-verbal ways, positively or negatively. From that point on, we as humans can find ourselves reacting to our environment and experiences in self-hurtful and sometimes harmful ways.

Yes, this is important information to me in a very personal way, for early experiences of my own. I will be dipping back into the text as I move into and beyond my own experiences. Thankfully, it is written in the adult persective - for the adult (much of what I have found on this subject is not). Another positive with this book is that it gives a 3D approach to overcoming these issues. It's not coming at the problem with a single focus but to the individual as a whole - biologically, physically, emotionally, cognitively and spiritually; and it treats each aspect with respect.

But I see a value far beyond that. This book can be pivotal in understanding how we impact others in such a positive and/or negative way. Parents, teachers, grandparents and others helping to raise or support families can benefit from this information. I know it's impossible to predict every possible outcome in our interactions with young people and teens, but knowledge such as this can help guide our behaviours and help us to develop a respect for the sensitive natures of our future... yes, I said future; these babies, toddlers and teens are our future - they deserve that hope, as do we.

Thank you Laurence Heller and Aline LaPeirre for your work in this area - and for making it available!
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read, but needs a revised edition, November 27, 2013
This review is from: Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship (Paperback)
What you should know, however, is that this book is based on experience of the authors. They make some great points, but they do so in a way that is somewhat confusing and actually may complicate treatment. Let me explain.

The authors differentiate between five survival styles, five specific categories of coping mechanisms that where useful during the childhood trauma, but now limiting in adulthood. There are many similarities between those styles, and I believe that's because there's a bigger pattern at work which the authors address in the chapters on treatment, but not in the chapters on the difference between styles. That's a problem because it confuses the reader and makes it hard to choose effective action together with a qualified therapist.

It seems the authors have worked with trauma for so long that they don't really know what they needed to know when they started to treat it. This is clearly recognizable in the chapters where therapeutic interventions or a whole session is transcribed. There's a lot going in between the lines, and although especially Heller makes a real effort to explain what he's doing, I think there's actually more to it then he realizes. I've watched a video lecture of him speaking and he has a way about him that just can't be ignored when reading his work on how to act as a therapist. He puts an emphasis that you need other people to learn how to regulate yourself, but the qualities or aspects of him that apparently makes him so good at this, aren't explored in the book to my satisfaction.

Also, the book offers a framework that feels a bit "early". It encompasses much things and insights that seem trivial. It seems the authors wanted to make a framework really bad, make an approach of their own, become the first in their kind with a great book and promise (as several similar approaches are also rising over the past few years).

I appreciate the passion, and the effort, and as said I find this a really useful book. However, I really hope that in a few years, they will write a part 2 or revised edition, in which they dare to abandon the current differentiation and helpful but trivial insights, in favor for something that's even more accurate. I'd also like to see other training materials, more case studies and video demonstrations because probably then I would be really able to tell what the real NARM approach is.

Having said that, I hope this account of experience leads to a greater acceptance and better informed discussion of developmental trauma.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book on trauma issues, June 22, 2013
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Kathryn (North Carolina) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship (Paperback)
I agree with the authors' conceptualization about the different ways developmental trauma can affect people, but I'm not really sure everyone fits neatly into one of their 5 subtypes. I think people who have been traumatized throughout childhood can end up developing elements of all the 5 types mentioned. I addition, I'm not really sure I buy into their treatment modality/ theory (NeuroAffective Relational Model), which includes therapeutic touch. I'd be VERY hesitant to touch, hold or hug patients that have experienced previous abuse (especially sexual abuse).
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious book, read end then beginning, August 9, 2013
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This review is from: Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship (Paperback)
Attachment theory has great stuff in it, "Becoming Attached" is classic. There is a real need for addressing attachment disorders... and this book barely addresses it.

Very little factual information is presented, the speculation given in its place doesn't resonate as accurate during the first 150 or so pages, and the well known disorders and attachment types... are ignored, in place of them... somewhat nebulous stuff the author collectively calls NARM.

This is like a long, poor sales brochure for NARM seminars, training and certification. Bowlby is mentioned in one sentence... then dismissed, so don't expect a lot of classic attachment information.

If you substitute "we think" for NARM.. and "people with trouble" for each of the made up style names... the later material is bearable enough to be kind of interesting. The book has about a chapter's worth of good information... could have been a great pamphlet. I think the authors may be good clinicians, and perhaps should have had someone observe and write for them... the combination of self promoting of NARM, with over a 100 pages of vague assertions make it tough to even make it to the later chapters where there is some decent material.

If you get it read from about pg150 to end, then earlier chapters.. its far more readable that way.

Realized what I was looking for was "what to do about your attachment problem".. and that is addressed well in Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.. it is fantastic.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good ideas but full on unnecessary jargon and short on supporting research., October 11, 2013
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I decided to buy this book when while reading the sample the description of a certain personality type resonated with me. After reading it I have to say I'm a little bit disappointed. The book is chock-full of silly psychobabble jargon and a little bit of new-age jargon thrown in for good measure. The ideas in the book are not really new. It just seems like an attachment theory based therapy with some emphasis on explicity encouraging patients to pay attention to the feelings in their body as they are having them. This book contains a lot of filler and the explanations of the psychological phenomena that they sketch are not really elaborated.
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