Single Paper or Case Study

“There Is a Little Voice Inside My Head”.“Invisible” Attachment Trauma and Suicide in Children, and Healing Strategies. a Case Study

Saturday, March 24
10:45 AM - 11:05 AM
Location: Logan

This case concerns a 6-year old girl with suicidal ideation. In this particular case, I considered the suicidal thoughts to be a symptom of “invisible” attachment trauma.

Although suicide is recognized as a global public health problem, little is known about suicide in young children.
There is recent research exploring the association between attachment security and suicidality in children.

It is the quality of parenting that influences the attachment security and when this quality does not meet some specific requirements like e.g. psychobiological regulation, mentalization etc., “invisible” attachment trauma develops.

Consequences of this “invisible” attachment trauma such as no affect regulation skills, anxiety etc., can lead to suicidal behavior that therefore can be seen as a kind of insecure attachment behavior.

Some data suggest that the parent-child relationship determines the development of internal working models about self and others.
When there is an underlying threat of abandonment due to the unavailability of the caregiver and the child's ambivalence towards the parent, the child becomes trapped between autonomy and enmeshment, leading to suicidal disintegration.
The psychobiological effect of “invisible” trauma has the potential to illuminate the pathway to future suicide.

These findings support the efforts to develop attachment-based interventions such as “ Watch, Wait, Wonder”, attachment-based play, improving the child's and the parent’s self-regulating skills, resource building, developing a sense of self etc., as a novel route towards suicide prevention.

Learning Objectives:

Doris D'hooghe

Director
Traumacenter Belgium
Gent, Oost-Vlaanderen

As a psychotherapist, I am trained in Gestalt therapy, Group Therapy, Transpersonal Psychology and my training in child therapy was based on the integrative psychology.
Later on I became intrigued by trauma and its effects and took trainings in psychotraumatology. These different courses turned me into a therapist with a broad vision on pathology, its causes and opportunities to heal.
As I felt deeply interested in attachment issues, I became specialized in early childhood trauma in an attachment relationship.
Up till today, I’ve been working in my own private practice for 26 years, where I work with children, adolescents, adults, parents and elderly.
My work is based on attachment and trauma theories, therapy and a blend of integrative psychotherapy and neuroscience.
In my work, I carry a strong belief in the uniqueness and healing capabilities of my client, and focus on the therapeutic relationship, as I find it an important tool within the work I do.
I am also the founder of Traumacenter Belgium, a unique project in Belgium that mainly focuses on working with traumatized clients, on short term or in the long run, to help them recover and reestablish their daily lives. (www.traumacentrum .be)

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Doris D'hooghe


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“There Is a Little Voice Inside My Head”.“Invisible” Attachment Trauma and Suicide in Children, and Healing Strategies. a Case Study



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