Assessing Children with Complex Trauma and Attachment Disorders
Arthur Becker-Weidman, Ph.D.
This two-DVD set (approximately three hours) explains how to assess children for complex trauma and disorders of attachment.
There is a large body of literature describing the effects of early maltreatment on later child development, behavior, and functioning. Children reared in orphanages show a significant cognitive delay of eight IQ points when compared with similar children who are placed in foster care or raised with their biological parents. “These results point to the negative sequelae of early institutionalization,” (Nelson, Zeanah, Fox, Marshall, Smyke, and Guthrie, 2007, p. 1937).
Children with histories of maltreatment, such as physical and psychological neglect, physical abuse, or sexual abuse, are at risk of developing severe psychiatric problems (Gauthier, Stollak, Messe, and Arnoff, 1996; Malinosky-Rummell and Hansen, 1993). These children are likely to develop Reactive Attachment Disorder (Lyons-Ruth and Jacobvitz, 1999; Greenberg, 1999) and may be described as experiencing Complex Trauma. When the trauma experienced is caused by the abuse or neglect inflicted by a primary caregiver, the normal development of secure attachment is disrupted. Such children are at risk of developing a disorganized attachment (Lyons-Ruth and Jacobvitz 1999; Solomon and George, 1999; Main and Hesse, 1990). Disorganized attachment is associated with a number of developmental problems including dissociative symptoms (Carlson, 1988), depression, anxiety, and acting-out symptoms (Lyons-Ruth, 1996, Alpern, and Pepacholi, 1993).