Perhaps one of the most popular approaches emerging from social work and public health is to help mothers with PTSD to deal with their infants so that they don’t reproduce their angst and stress in their young children.
The latest and best research in this area is the Polyvagal Theory by Dr. Stephen Porges. This truly is not theory, but rather the most significant and substantial research we have today in the area of what predisposes us to sympathetic nervous system, cortisol-driven, learned responses to trauma of any kind.
Trauma is trauma, just in degrees.
Focus on the trauma, and you will grow the reptilian brain’s identification with the trauma.
However, if you entirely change the focus to the parasympathetic potentials of the brain, and its very different different neuropathways, you grow a brain more frontal-lobe dependent.
I can promise you that whatever the past may be, that the future is always more compelling, if we will allow that change in our billion dollar, pharma-based, overly medicalized culture.
This “if” requires a huge shift from our focus on healing the past as the solution.
IT IS NOT THE SOLUTION.
Once more, the future is more compelling than our past is in binding us.
We build that compelling future by taking the attention away from the focus on trauma, and place it on the discovery of scientifically tested strengths and their growth, and on identifying and growing the ever-present resiliency of the person.
Time is a great healer, when that time is filled with a focus on “can do”, “can be”, “can care”, “can give”, “can achieve”, “can find meaning”, “can find purpose”, “can contribute”, can learn one’s strengths, and can love others.
We are more compelled by the future than we are bound by the past.
Evolution depends on that truth!
We will never create the perfect world where mothers only pass on to their children high vagal tone, more resistant to trauma.
We can, though, teach their offspring that mother is not to blame, and that resiliency to trauma and recovery are within our grasp.
© Dr. William K. Larkin