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Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship Paperback – September 25, 2012
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“Healing Developmental Trauma presents a comprehensive exploration of our deepest human urge. Seasoned clinicians Larry Heller and Aline LaPierre weave a rich and coherent synthesis of childhood development in the pioneering tradition of Wilhelm Reich, Erik Erikson, and Alexander Lowen. This well-organized, valuable book offers easy-to-understand tools for all of us who are seeking a better understanding of our fundamental conflicts between oneness and separateness, dependence and autonomy. Healing Developmental Trauma provides clear guidance to help us hold, with knowledge and self-compassion, those seemingly irreconcilable opposites and is a vital and accessible map supporting emotional maturity and psycho-spiritual growth.”
—Peter A Levine, PhD, author of In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness and Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma
“Laurence Heller, PhD and Aline LaPierre, PsyD's Healing Developmental Trauma provides a method that blends bottom-up and top-down approaches to regulating the nervous system, and provides the NeuroAffective Relational Model which focuses on maximizing client strengths and resiliency to integrate physical and emotional connections in the body.”
—Midwest Book Review
About the Author
Laurence Heller, PhD, is the originator of the NeuroAffective Relational Model©, a unified approach to developmental, attachment, and shock trauma. He co-founded the Gestalt Institute of Denver and is a senior faculty member for the Somatic Experiencing Training Institute.
Aline LaPierre, PsyD, is an adjunct faculty member in the somatic doctoral program at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Trained as a psychoanalyst and as a hands-on somatic psychotherapist, she has been in private practice in Los Angeles for more than 25 years.
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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.
I can understand some reviewers' frustrations however, because while it's a concise overview, it won't answer all of your questions. (i.e. Can you have more than one survival style? Yes!) As a student, I have the luxury of dissecting the readings in class. It's very helpful.
If you are a graduate student working towards licensing in therapy, social work, etc., or if you have a firm grasp of basic psychology and healing, you will find this a fairly easy and fascinating read. I wouldn't call it a "self-help" book, but it is certainly enlightening.
As to the claims that it's not scientific, perhaps that is because there's not a citation in the book. While this is usually an issue for me, in this case, these theories are their own, based on their own work, and built upon accepted and known psychological foundations. If you need citations for basics like attachment theory, brain functions and the like, perhaps this is not the book for you.
Other books I would recommend to help complete the picture would be Frank and La Barre's The First Year and the Rest of Your Life and Young, Klosko, and Weishaar's Schema Therapy.