What does trauma treatment look like with a child?

What does trauma treatment look like with a child?

First conclude all the legal work, making sure that the necessary reports are in and forensic examinations and interviews have been completed. Tell the child the therapist has worked with children who have been touched or hurt on their bodies or on their private parts and have confusing feelings as a result. Give them permission to say as much or as little as they want. The younger the child the shorter the explanation is needed. Take them to the appointment the same way you would schedule a medical or a school meeting. Talk with them about the abuse in a normal tone of voice. Don’t over or underemphasize it. And then follow their lead unless they want to avoid all mention of it.


Pressuring a child to speak in therapy is not helpful, but nor is waiting for a child to ever mention what happened. Going with the child and opening up the conversation is helpful, and checking in with your child at home on a regular basis helps too.

When a child has been abused, some of the things we want to help them with are as follows:

  • regulate feelings, lots of mixed feelings and big feelings come up and need to be sorted out
  • feeling the painful emotions instead of keeping them all hidden inside
  • learn how to express feelings to loved ones, finding the words to use to talk about what happened, figuring out how to talk about it and learning how to have a voice is very important because often that voice has been silenced in abuse situations
  • decrease symptomatic behavior like withdrawing or acting out
  • desensitize the traumatic memories and also correct faulty beliefs about what happened
  • promote integration by helping them have a sense of cohesion in their thoughts, feelings and behavior
  • finding motivation to grow and succeed

John Bowlby said that people have to speak the unspeakable. Karp and Butler (1996) said:  “the child’s work is to gain the courage to go back to the frightening thoughts and images of the trauma and explore them in a safer environment when there is a better sense of control. The child must then gain the skills necessary to cope with what may be seen as a frightening world in which to grow up as a healthier adult.”

If children or adults are experiencing dissociation, we can help with that too:

  • Develop a language for dissociation: sometimes you go far away, what do you call it when you do that? Is that spacing out? Zoning out? Getting little? Going inside? Daydreaming?
  • Assess the use of the dissociative response, time of day, what’s going on before or right after?
  • Normalize it, explain that everyone can do this, how does it help them
  • Talk about the disadvantages, there’s time it’s not wise to do this, like during a school lesson, or riding a bike
  • Work on ways to intervene with unhelpful dissociation with the goal of heightening their ability to dissociate at will.
  • Establish a sequence of responding with dissociation, what happens behaviorally, physiologically, cognitively, affectively and sensory. Identify the earliest clue that it’s happening and this becomes the point of intervention.
  • Explore alternatives to flight, work on affect tolerance and modulation. Work on feeling parts of their bodies, knowing the boundaries of their physical and spiritual self, listen to heart beat, engage in physical activity, take snapshots, look in the mirror and describe what they see

Some of the books that are useful in trauma treatment, are the books by Chandra Gosh.

Once I was Very, Very Scared, Chandra Gosh

This book helps children and parents understand common trauma responses, using animal characters. You can even look on you tube for a reading of this story. It’s been helpful for me to give this to caregivers who are contemplating psychotherapy treatment and aren’t convinced that it is important.

Amazon Book

Mama’s Waves, Chandra Gosh

This book helps children put words to experiences of an adult who has substance abuse or mental health difficulties. So often these families have been through so much together, with their loved one and it’s very hard to help the child understand what the caregiver is struggling with. Again, we need to find words that are appropriate, and match the child’s developmental age.

Mama's Waves

You weren’t With Me, Chandra Gosh

Helping children to deal with separation, it was written in response to the forced family separation related to border crossing/immigration. This is a sad story in which a child expresses their fear and sadness to a loved one who was not there when they were hurt. It is difficult to hear, but is so powerful once a child says these words out loud and gives the caregiver a chance to respond and to take care of them one more.

You Were'nt With Me
The effects of trauma

The effects of trauma

Imagine an earthquake hitting a city. The city was beautiful and functional before, now it is mostly rubble. There may be areas that are unaffected, but it’s largely changed forever, it will never be exactly the same.

Trauma has a shattering effect, it can break you. It can break what you know. It can break what you had before, the world as you knew it. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t rebuild.


The benefit of rebuilding is that now you can build something sturdier and better than before.

According to Crittenden there is a lot of work to be done in extracting learning information from the trauma. Do you think you’ve resolved your trauma? If you have, can you answer the following questions:

  • Have you extracted predictive and protective information from past danger
  • Can you apply this to future scenarios to help predict future danger
  • Have you developed preventive strategies in the event of danger
  • Can you parse out information about the past danger that is not relevant to future safety
  • Can you develop strategies to protect self in the future
  • Can you accept and accommodate to changes in self and others due to past danger
  • Can you transform intense negative feelings around complex emotional states and increase contentment with what remains
  • Can you accept that there is ambiguity and uncertainty inherent in life
  • Can you find some redeeming or satisfying outcomes that resulted out of what happened

That is a lot of questions, and that is a lot of work. It’s a little like a house that has burned down, and you have gone back once it’s no longer hot, and worked through all the debris, you’ve sorted what can’t be recovered from what can. You’ve sat and grieved in the ashes, recovered memories that were dear, and even started to dream about rebuilding, and what might be similar and what you might change.


Think of dissociation on a continuum. Suppression can be a wonderful thing. It can provide us with immediate relief! The downside to suppression is that it requires sustained effort to maintain and will get in the way of mastery and understanding needed to achieve closure. Imagine the effort that it takes to keep a large beach ball, under the water! Can it be done? For sure. Does it require effort, yes it does. Will it impact the rest of your system, yes it will.

That’s why in the world of emotional health, we believe that the best way to deal with painful memories is to acknowledge them and to understand them. To look through the rubble, and to clear out what needs to go, and to hold on to what needs to stay. Or organize it and build it back into place you can live and function in.


Trauma can remain unresolved. If it does, it could remain with you in these ways:

  • threatening information pervades mental processes, information is split, distorted, manipulated.
  • there is a preoccupation with the trauma or a refusal to acknowledge it. Preoccupation with trauma means that too much is taken forward. Everything in life is seen through the lens of the trauma. There is intense affective arousal and cognitive confusion.

I think of a time that a dear friend had died, and someone had asked me about my friend. I was happy for the opportunity to remember him and his influence on my life. But in the moment that I started to speak of him, I forgot where I was, I talked for a long time, and it was as if I was back reliving some moments with him. I because emotional, and later felt that I had overshared. This is just a small example of how the trauma can influence us if we haven’t processed it. In more extreme cases, it can lead to temporal confusion, confusion of person, erroneous placement of the self at the event, confusion around the causes or implications, overly simplified emotional responses, simplified reasoning about responsibility for the causes, irrational belief in the high probability of repetition of the event and hypervigilance.

  • there is dismissing trauma which means that we leave too much in the past. This can sound like someone being dry and unresponsive, dismissing the importance of the event, and leading to consequences in limiting feelings.

We could go as far as to omit the dangerous event, speak with extreme brevity about danger, have an absence of affect, make overt claims that the event had no importance to the self, believe that the self caused it or place the self as distant from the event.

Another very common response to unresolved trauma is called dissociation. When trauma produces dissociation, what do we do with this?

Do I really need to face my trauma?

Do I really need to face my trauma?

How can that possibly be an important thing to do when it’s so scary?

Trauma involves danger. Trauma happens in the context of danger, and the result is often maladaptive processing of information. When we are in a time of danger, our brain doesn’t fully function, our frontal lobe thinking is shut off so that we can use the mammalian brain to simply respond. This is an effective way for us to respond quickly when there isn’t time to think too much. After the danger is over, we need to go and process what happened, and then use our full brain to make sense of what happened, like doing an analysis or biopsy of what happened, so that we can organize it, learn from it, and make accurate meaning from the event. If we don’t do this, then we come away from this incident with the wrong kind of information, that then can put us on a trajectory for how we live out our life.


You are going to find a way to make meaning about what happened, and you could easily make inaccurate meaning. This happens particularly to children, who don’t have the ability to think abstractly yet.

So, with trauma, very often there is either too much irrelevant information taken from the incident, or too much relevant information is lost. And this will lead to unresolved trauma. This means that the trauma will continue to affect the way that you do life. This lack of resolution increases the risk for psychopathology and means that the threatening event has not been integrated.  Imagine that you are walking down a road that is long and straight and can get you to a lovely destination

But there was a rock fall, and now there is a large rock in the middle of the path. Now when you walk down the road, you get to the rock, and then veer off to avoid it. You end up walking on a different trajectory. If you don’t ever go back and take the rock away or carve a path around it to meet the original path, you will continue to veer off each time, and your pathway in life will land you in a different place than you were headed in before. Not taking that rock away or figuring out a way to move around it, will then create more opportunity for danger in the future.


Because you haven’t learnt as much as you can from what happened before. You don’t have the added skills from having to move that rock away, haven’t learnt to uncover your original path, or had to work your way back to it. There is learning that you are losing out on. Now you might be so scared of any rocks, that as you’re walking down the road, you are constantly scanning for rocks, and you’re scanning so hard for them that you end up missing the snake lying in the road right in front of you.

Resolution from trauma means going back and looking for identifying signals of danger and learning self-protective responses. What did I miss, what signs were there that I wasn’t aware of before, what can I look out for now in the future. How can I prepare myself for future risks and potential danger. What skills can I learn to be in a better position is this happens again. Knowing what to look out for, and having the skills to potentially deal with it, will help us feel more relaxed and confident, and when we approach our road in this way, we are more likely to see the array of signals in front of us because our whole brain is online.

What is Trauma and why does it affect some more than others?

What is Trauma and why does it affect some more than others?

The word Trauma is used so lightly these days. I have referred to many incidents as traumatic myself, that certainly don’t meet the true definition. The Diagnostic Manual for Mental Health  defines trauma as “an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury, or other threat as to one’s physical integrity, or witnessing an event that involves death, injury, or threat…”

I think the dilemma with trauma is that you have had or seen something awful happen, which then gets “stuck” in your brain. To heal, you have to get it out, talk about it, process it. And yet to even think about it and remember it affects you so deeply. You are terrified to think about it, and so how do you get “unstuck”. It makes sense that people push these experiences and memories down, and yet keeping them suppressed takes so much energy, it can be exhausting and affect your health. Some quotes in the trauma world, I’m not sure who said them first, but they are catchy and express the terrible bind that trauma ties us into: we have to “feel it to heal it”, we have to “name it to tame it”, and yet feeling the trauma and even naming it seems so scary to do, there’s a sense that naming it means that it comes alive again!


Van de Kolk 1987 refers to trauma involving “a debilitating loss of control”.

This blog series will talk about some resources that help us more easily put words to these experiences, help us normalize that these things have happened to others too, and will explain a little about why it’s important to even try to bring the trauma out into the open.


So why are some people affected by things that others are not. The same experience can happen to 2 different people and one can end up with trauma and then other not. In the mental health field, we talk about risk factors and protective factors. So, if you add these up in different columns, it explains why an incident could cause 1 person to topple over, while another could keep on standing. Remember that human beings need a certain amount of stress in life to actually get anything done, this optimal amount of stress is called Eustress. If there is no stress, we’d lie around all day and not do a thing. On the other hand, too much stress is debilitating. And so much stress that it actually drains all of our resources and puts us at a deficit leads to trauma – we can lose ourselves, trust in ourselves, we feel like we have zero control to even protect ourselves. Unfortunately, once this has happened to you, it can then more easily happen in the future again too. Trauma begets trauma.

Take a look at this table from Eliana Gil’s book, and see what the factors are that influence the impact that a traumatic event could have on you:

Table: Individual characteristics that may influence whether the traumatic impact of a stressor is high or low


  • Inability to cope
  • Coping strategies lacking or unsuccessful
  • Internal resources unavailable
  • External resources unavailable
  • Expressive ability is lacking
  • Symptoms persist
  • Helplessness persists
  • Personal control is lacking
  • Existential crisis can’t be resolved
  • Trauma can’t be resolved or is negatively resolved


  • Coping develops and grows
  • Coping strategies succeed
  • Internal resources available
  • External resources available
  • Expression is achieved
  • Symptoms decrease
  • Hopefulness increases
  • Personal control is restored
  • Existential crisis can be resolved
  • Trauma can be resolved

When it comes to how children are affected by these potentially traumatic incidents, you want to consider the variables related to childhood. These are the type of trauma, the level of trauma, the duration of trauma, the child’s age at the time, the child’s previous level of functioning, the caretaking support available and if the child had a past trauma history.

You could also take into account other trauma-related variables like the number, and extent of secondary adversities and stressors. These could include contextual variables like socioeconomic status, current life stress and family support.


For caregivers you want to consider their past and current psychopathology and their trauma history.

For the caregiver-child relationship it depends on their relationship quality and their perception of child.

Trauma is an interesting phenomenon. There are scary things that happen in the world and the impact that they have on us affects us differently. Some people topple over, and others remain standing in the face of dangerous events. It depends on the tools and resources that we have, to cope with the incident and danger.

Will I Experience Trauma After This COVOID-19 Crisis?

Will I Experience Trauma After This COVOID-19 Crisis?

Will this COVOID-19 Crisis Bring Trauma?

Many of us are concerned about getting traumatized by this crisis. People who have already experienced PTSD in their lives are more susceptible to additional trauma, while many
of us have no prior experience with it and are wondering if something like this could cause long term effects. These are important questions!

So, let’s learn about what trauma is and more importantly, how we can prevent it.

In the simplest of explanations, trauma occurs when our resources are completely overwhelmed by our stressors, and we are powerless to do anything about it. This leaves us without control, and we are hurt as a consequence. Think of it as a continuum between calm on one side, stress in the middle, and then trauma on the far end. Stress can be good and bad for us. Eu-stress activates us, it gets us going, it motivates us. But too much stress starts to overwhelm us. If the stress continues, we can feel traumatized. Some people experience this and develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, while others are able to bounce back.

An environmental stressor like COVOID-19 need not traumatize us, as long as we keep up our resources and don’t get into a situation where we feel completely powerless. An antidote to trauma and stress is finding ways to stay in control, and to find meaning in what we are facing.

If you are religious, you might find yourself asking, “God, what would you have me learn during this trial?”. Others challenge themselves to focus on what they can walk away with as a result of the trial, “There is much that I can’t control, but I can control what I eat, how I exercise, my immune system, whether or not I leave my property.” Generally speaking we have control over ourselves, our outlook, our behaviors, our bodies. Focus on these things.

The other determinant in what becomes traumatic, is the kind of support you have. So that if you have felt completely overtaken by the trial or stressor, you are able to find someone to talk to about what you have been through. Or if you do get very ill, and are overcome by feeling weak and powerless, you are able to find emotional and social support after the fact.

Think of trauma like being forced to eat a heavy meal of rice and beans and meat. These are foods that generally don’t digest well together. They sit in your stomach and feel heavy, and they cause a bad case of indigestion. You have to adjust yourself, you lie down on the couch for hours, you eat Tums, and you moan and groan during your belly aches. The question is whether or not your stomach acids will be able to break down this very heavy meal or not. So you give yourself space and time, and give your body every resource to aid in the digesting of this meal. If something has overwhelmed your resources, do everything you can to digest it emotionally: Talk about it, write about it, process it slowly until you can look back at it and learn some lessons from having gone through it.

Finding meaning in spite of what has happened is the key to bypassing trauma. This is when the experience no longer owns you, but you own it because you have learned and grown because of it!


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Is It Okay to Challenge Yourself During a Time of Crisis?

Is It Okay to Challenge Yourself During a Time of Crisis?

My answer to this is: Only deal with what challenges are truly needed during a time of crisis.

The only thing absolutely necessary right now is getting through this time period! This is your foremost job, to survive this crisis and to come through it as well as you can.

Adjusting your life to take on this job is most important. This is a time to lay other projects aside, unless taking those on serves you in some way, like a distraction or giving you something that you can control amidst an especially chaotic time.

It isn’t a time to dig up old injuries, or to work through more than you need to. It’s a time to be kind and gentle to yourself, and to build yourself up as much as you can.

Are you one of those people who loves a challenge? When the going gets tough, the tough get going. You are goal-oriented, and if you have something to work on or to achieve, you are in a happy place. When you are in a time of crisis, you get tougher and you take on an additional challenges to keep you in a place of feeling a sense of purpose.  I’m one of these people. During this crisis, I’ve taken on the challenge of transforming my garden. I’m using my time off to destroy the weeds in my garden, and to claim back our beautiful land. When this is all over, I am determined to be appreciative of this time taken to transform my amazing garden!

What helps you to feel strong and in control?

Maybe you are just in need of a goal to focus you during this time of crisis. I personally find that I do better emotionally on the days that I exercise, eat well, sleep well and check off some of those goals. If you find yourself in a similar space of needing to challenge yourself, perhaps you can redirect that challenge into something beneficial. I would love to hear about any fun goals you may have for conquering this quarantine time, either personally for yourself or with your families! Don’t worry about it being anything cool or fancy, as I said, the most important thing is to get through and stay healthy!



Discussing Fear and Family Preparedness During COVID-19

Discussing Fear and Family Preparedness During COVID-19

Is fear normal right now? What hard conversations should we be having with our families?

To answer those questions – Yes, I’d be surprised if you weren’t at least a little fearful with all that’s been going on. We should all be concerned about COVID-19, not only for our own lives but also for keeping those around us safe.

Fear motivates us to action. It gets our blood pumping so that we can move if we need to, it causes us to focus our thinking about the threat at hand. And essentially fear is rational when there is a real threat that we are facing. Fear only becomes Anxiety when it shows up at the wrong time, for the wrong reason, and for the wrong duration.

So what is the difference between Anxiety and Fear? Fear is rational and necessary, Anxiety is not. Fear activates us in a necessary way, whilst anxiety drains our resources. They both put you into a state of fight, flight and freeze, only this isn’t needed when you’re only facing a perceived fear.

Now, you might be both worried and anxious about this virus. Worried for a good reason – but probably thinking about it too much. This virus is real, and it requires attention to how we manage our lives as a result.

In fact, there are very important conversations to be had in our families at a time like this. If you are living in a larger family system, conversations might center around the kinds of boundaries and rules you are all going to engage in. Is everyone comfortable with the social distancing that the others are doing? If your loved ones continue to expose themselves, have you let them know how their decisions affect you? Have you talked with them in an honest and vulnerable way about your fear of losing them? Sometimes thinking about your worst fear, enables you to know what needs to be said now. If your worst fear was to happen and you lost them, what do you wish you had said to them?

If you have people who are high-risk in your family, have you talked with them about safety planning? Do you have medicine on hand for them? Do you have an area in your living quarters that you will use as a sick-bay? Do you know where to find their passwords or other information in case they are unresponsive? Do you know that you might not be able to accompany them into the hospital should they have to go? These are the realities that we are facing, they are problems that have to be solved. And fear helps you to think these through and to come up an action plan. It helps you to be as ready as you can be.

Tell the anxiety that comes up that you are in control. You have taken the threat seriously, you have an action plan, and now it’s time to rest and relax so that you’re ready when you need to be. 

Once you have this plan in place, then it’s time to make sure you don’t get anxious. No need to cause yourself unnecessary worry and drain your resources. If you do find yourself start to meander into anxious territory, I have a blog with an Anxiety Journal Template as well as Breathing Exercises to Help with Anxiety should you need those resources. Myself and many therapists are offering Telehealth services right now during this pandemic. I invite you to set up an appointment. Thinking of you all during this especially fearful time, please take advantage of available resources – you are not alone.

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Withdrawn Strategies for Coping in Crisis

Withdrawn Strategies for Coping in Crisis

While some deal with stress and crisis by using Anxious Coping Strategies, some go in a different direction still, and use more withdrawn coping strategies.

People with withdrawn strategies are able to compartmentalize and bury their feelings deep inside, so much so that they may come across as preoccupied and emotionally vacant. They are likely to get very busy with something tangible that keeps them away from relationships and from any feelings. They may focus on things that give them a sense of control. If you ask them how they are doing, they might seem overly bright, positive, and encouraging because they are so far removed from their feelings that they think that everything is just rosy. They are unlikely to want to talk about any feelings related to this crisis. I think about a loved one who would likely say “Nothing is going on”, or “I’m fine” if I inquired about how they are doing.

If you are parenting a child with a withdrawn strategy you are likely guessing how they are doing, or you’re thinking that they are just fine. The distance that they put in their relationships is helpful for them to keep intensity and feelings at bay. You don’t have to feel something that you aren’t experiencing after all.

So how do you support someone then when they’re using these withdrawn strategies to cope?

  1. Let them begive them space, respect that talking about it and feeling it makes it worse for them.
  2. Let them stay busy in ways they choose to do so – give them tasks, focus on things outside of themselves like games, chores, work.
  3. Focus on thoughts instead of on feelings. If you need to talk about your feeling and vent, keep it short and sweet, or contained.
  4. Keep things simple, superficial, less intense. If you need to talk about something serious do it while walking or while cooking, or while playing a game.
  5. If you need to communicate something personal and serious, consider doing it in a text or an email. This way they have space to consider it without feeling the additional pressure of answering you in the moment.
  6. Give then opportunities to be successful. Try asking them to strategize and to fix something.
  7. Be specific about what you need help in. Those who use this strategy especially like to get things right, and to be helpful.

Hopefully diving into these three most commonly used coping strategies this past week will be useful information to better know those you love – and utilize these tips when communicating and dealing with especially stressful situations. As you know, everyone handles things differently, and knowing how to approach a topic and what best soothes your loved one, can make all the difference.

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Anxious Strategies for Coping in Crisis

Anxious Strategies for Coping in Crisis

In our last post, we identified Secure Coping Characteristics. While some may fall under that category, chances are yourself or someone else in your family naturally utilizes anxious coping strategies during stressful and scary situations.

Those who use anxious strategies to cope in crisis are likely to feel extreme amounts of pain and fear, and are likely to demonstrate this visibly through feeling anxious, getting loud and possibly angry, gesticulating.

Basically, they wear their heart on their sleeve. And yes, they experience feelings more intensely than others do. They are easily overwhelmed with their emotions and need help soothing themselves. They look to others to help them to do so.

Anxious children may get overstimulated, overexcited, be more boisterous or active than usual. I think about a family member who could easily give me a long list of grievances if I asked her how she was doing right now. If you are parenting a child with an anxious strategy, you probably feel like they need a great deal from you, and you might be exhausted in your attempts to comfort them. If there is something to be fearful of, this person will be the one to pick it up. Often times, we associate terms like “Worry Magnet”, even possibly “Drama Queen” with this anxious coping strategy.

So how do you support someone who has Anxious Coping Skills?

  1. Physical Contact –  Give hugs, massages, or encouragements to run off the energy.  A couple good exercises for this are: “I’m so upset with you, let’s stomp the ground as hard as we can”, “Give me all your worry and pain right now by hugging me as hard as you can”.
  2. Opportunities to vent – Give them a grumble session. Some good exercises for this may be: “If you could grumble for a minute as much as you could, what would you say?” “If you could change 1 thing right now, what would it be?” journaling is helpful (how I feel; 0 – 10 how intense is the feeling; what am I thinking; what am I doing; something I would change; who am I telling about it).

After you’ve had a good talk, it may be helpful to refocus them onto something else, using phrases like “Wash your face with cold water and then let’s find something else to do”. Encourage them to focus on something that they can control: “You have control over your mind, your thoughts, your behaviors, your immune system, and certain parts of your environment.”

Sometimes it just takes someone to come alongside them in their struggles of anxiety, to show them some ways to deal with it in a healthy way, and give them tools to move forward. This can be incredibly helpful training for identifying emotions and redirecting to healthy secure strategies later on in life!

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Secure Strategies for Coping in Crisis

Secure Strategies for Coping in Crisis

We all have inherent strategies for coping. Coping Strategies are especially important in times of crisis, because they keep us feeling safe and in control of our feelings.

One of the most underutilized tools in relationships is knowing what your loved one’s strategies are.

If you know their strategies, then you will be able to work out how to support your loved ones in this time of crisis. Comfort will look different to different people. Chances are you’ve already talked to your loved ones about how they handle stress, as we talked about in our last post. Click here to view great conversation starters to talk about stress with your families. But learning coping strategies adds another tool in your toolkit to help you better understand your relationships, and so that you know what to do to be effective and helpful in the emotional lives of your loved ones during this time. There are 3 more common strategies that I want to discuss with you briefly. We will have a blog breakdown of each of these, with this first one going over what a secure coping strategy typically looks like in relationships.

The 3 Common Coping Strategies Are: Secure, Anxious or Withdrawn.

Some folks have Secure Strategies which means they feel a range of feelings, but to a more limited degree than those with anxious strategies. They tend to be more hopeful and to have better problem-solving abilities as well as abilities to be creative when things are tough. They feel confident in sharing openly how they are doing, and they tend to have people that they can talk to in times of distress, and so they get more comfort and support. They are also soothed more easily and more quickly. They “bounce back”.

I think of my youngest daughter who will easily jump onto my lap and say exactly what she needs in that moment, for example, “Mommy, I need a hug”. But then the moment she feels better, she’ll be on her way again. If you’re a parent to a secure child, you are likely to know exactly how they are doing and this is because they let you know. Just because they are a have a secure coping strategy, doesn’t mean that they don’t have times they experience the other range of feelings and deal with crisis in negative ways. The secure strategy is the most flexible one, so people with secure might sometimes withdraw and other times be anxious. But overall they are able to find balance.