Meet counselor Keri Cooper, MA in the 2nd part of her interview. Systemic chronic trauma affects the development of a child's brain. Although trauma is common, its effects don't have to be.
Keri received her master's degree in counseling from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri and has been licensed for 25 years.
Spirit Reins: https://www.spiritreins.org/
Free Worksheet: https://www.YourTruthRevealed.com
How does trauma affect the development of a child’s brain?
* Knowledge of psychoeducation and brain development has grown a lot in the last in the last years.
* The brain of a 3-year old is 80% formed; they aren't blank slates.
* With trauma, the worst experiences are usually very brief. No matter what, there's an opportunity for things to be better.
* A lot of behavior has a biological link. Having more compassion, it's not just a behavioral choice. The basics are they are hungry, tired, and safe.
* In a lot of orphanages, the babies weren’t held.
* There was a study conducted by psychologist Harry Harlow with rhesus monkeys in 1950s and 60s. Infants were taken away from their mothers and raised in isolation. There's evidence for the importance of maternal touch in infant development.
You’ve done a lot of work with adoption. What are some key things you’ve encountered?
* People deciding if they want to adopt a foster child, or private adoption.
* Suggest attending the adoption collaborative of Texas (ACT). There's a coalition of Child Protective Services and nonprofit child placing agencies whose mission is to find families for children in the foster care system.
* For parents, be blatantly honest. Sometimes that's where families go awry. Do they want to adopt through foster care for financial reasons? These child populations are different.
* Private adoption, parents change minds, babies are born with health issues. May not be an easy path. Even biological siblings can be night and day from each other.
You’ve also done a lot of work with teens. Is this the primary demographic you see at Spirit Reins?
* Working with teens with trauma and who are at risk for suicide.
* There’s a difference between an okay coping skill verses what isn’t, like if a teen is self-harming.
* Private practice - the amount of stress for teens is across the board at school, they can't win.
* Most kids are not at the developmental level to determine their life path in high school, there’s an expectation to choose the college path.
What are specific methods you use to help children and adolescents impacted by trauma?
* Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and perception bias. Looking through everything that happened to a child, looking through the lens of trauma.
* How we think is powerful. It can make a difference with our connection with others.
* The way we think about our situation, our job, our families, friendships, is through a lens. Sometimes the lens works wonderfully and sometimes not so well. Making sure that we have the best perception about how things are.
* If I spilled coffee, I'm so clumsy. Then the rest of the day I tripped over a step, I really am clumsy. I'm assuming the worst. The same exact behavior without the same perception.
* Looking for ways to confirm, bias perception. We tuned into negative perceptions. When we tune into positive perceptions, the circumstances are better.
* Relook at the same circumstance. Is this really true? Reality checking.
How important are relationships and connections in healing from trauma?
* Pair kids up with equine specialist and licensed therapist.
* Loving connections is essential that includes the parent's relationship with their child. It goes beyond the treatment center.