Thursday, 27 August 2015

A biopsychosocial understanding of childhood adversity

 How early emotional experiences influence our psychological and physical resilience:

(image taken from

 Growing Pains stock photo

I just read this compelling article by Donna Jackson Nakazawa on Psychology Today's website. So many people who seek medical attention with a myriad of chronic illnesses have experienced adversity (poverty, neglect, abuse) in their childhood lives. Anectdotally, all healing professionals could site countless examples of this. This takes the 'nature versus nurture' argument in whole other direction, because, of course, they are connected. I often say that emotional well being and coping skills (emotional regulation) are something that we learn in part, much like reading. When we are reading we learn that symbols have sounds, and that those sounds then join to make words. With emotions and coping how we learn is based on how our early emotional needs, for security, for strength, for being understood, for attunement, are met by our caregivers. These experiences are like symbols and sounds that we put together. If we need soothing, for example, but are further frightened by our caregiver this 'sets up up' more greater emotional vulnerability. This explains why some people are hyper-sensitive to criticism and internalize this (as in depression) and how for some people relatively benign stressors are fear -provoking (as in anxiety).  There are of course long term consequences from this stress on the mind and body  I have shared the article below:

Part II of the article - not yet posted - includes the phrase "How we come back to who we really are" in the title. I would bet that this includes self inquiry and self care. 

I hope you found this research as interesting as I did! 


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