Contemporary theorists insights into trauma recovery


There are the more current writers and researchers such as Stern (1934-2012) who introduces important ideas around mother and infant constellation and the need for attuning and amplification that needs to be present in therapy. Green (1927-2012) who explores the internalization of external objects that leads to an understanding that if a child that’s never had the experience of consistent enduring care therefore needs to be able to experience that, if he is to become someone who can show that care himself.

There are other significant contemporary thinkers such Fonagy, Cairns, Music, Trevarthan who are all continuing to build on elements of the importance of this early relationship.

We also need to ensure that we contextualise children’s development. Bronfenbrenner’s (1917-2005)work on understanding the ecology of development has made an important shift in how we view development. It is critical that attachment and the impact of trauma and future resilience is seen in the broader context of the child’s life so we can move beyond individualistic views of recovery and resilience for these children. All psychodynamic approaches need to be complemented by sociological insights.

Trauma recovery work is not simply an adult ‘doing something’ to a child to facilitate their recovery but helping the child to move from being a victim to being a survivor. This is a process that therapists would often refer to as ‘co-construction of a new narrative’. It transforms the narrative from being focused on shame, fear, pain and insecurity to one that has confidence, healing, security, self-awareness and hope.