TEMA: Working with Emotional Neglect in connection with SE
Emotional neglect is generally grouped together with abuse. As a result, the developmental deficits of adults neglected as children are not well understood and often met with professional misattunement.
Neglect is absence. It is rooted in early preverbal development when conscious recall and verbal narratives are missing. Adults who are emotionally ignored as children don’t understand what is wrong with them. They lack words to express their inner experience, are not aware of their needs, feel defective, and are flooded with shame.
When treating adults emotionally ignored as children, therapists often feel powerless and don’t know how to help, adding more layers of internal despair to individuals who have internalized ever-present invisibility.
Meeting these clients at the somatic level is critical to the success of treatment. Ignored individuals have not been touched. Rather than struggle with conflicts, they experience an absence of resources, a lack of interoceptive awareness, and missing social skills. Somatic work can reach underneath their trauma at the psychobiological level to develop the missing pieces they need to succeed in life.
About Dr. Aline LaPierre
Dr. Aline LaPierre is the founding director of The NeuroAffective Touch Institute and creator of NeuroAffective Touch®teaching therapeutic touch as a vital relational bridge to overcoming developmental trauma. Dr. LaPierre taught in the Somatic Doctoral Program at Santa Barbara Graduate Institute for ten years and is coauthor of Healing Developmental Trauma: How Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship, published in twelve languages. Currently, she is Editor-in-Chief of The International Body Psychotherapy Journal and President of The United States Association for Body Psychotherapy.
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