Five Implications of the Trauma Lens Paradigm Shift

Learn about the benefits of the Trauma Lens Paradigm Shift

Trauma Lens Paradigm Shift: Parental learning and the implication

  1. Parents see theirs and others’ fear driving problematic behaviors.
    1. A problematic behavior is a behavior that either fails to achieve the desired results or accumulates unacceptable side effects.
    2. Limbic brain goal of distancing self from fear triggers becomes a side goal, often unrecognized in every interaction.
    3. When unrecognized, this limbic brain side goal, can be prioritized higher in the behavior than more cognitive goals.
    4. When this process is recognized, we become better able to contain or resist it. (Exactly what we want the traumatized child to learn.
    5. Interventions designed to stop behavior must first address the fears driving them.
  2. Parents are responsible to help the child understand his or her beliefs system and how it affects his or her daily life.
    1. Children who have experienced early trauma, perceive themselves as broken, damaged goods.
    2. This perception inhibits their ability to change.
    3. Parents who define their children as good kids with a hurt part, enable greater understanding and promote the child’s ability to heal.
    4. By highlighting the hurt parts’ generation of unneeded fear, parents promote emotional recognition and pave the way to self-regulation.
  3. Parents must realize there is a paradigm present (new or default).
    1. The spoken or unspoken question “Why is my child behaving this way?” must be answered. Our parental response will be determined by this answer. The answer to this question will be generated by the paradigm in place.
    2. The child will ask the same question in a slightly different format. “Why am I getting a consequence?”
    3. The parent’s default paradigm usually assumes intention. The assumed intention results in a “You suck.” message to the child because “Only a bad person intentionally chooses bad behavior.”
    4. The child’s default paradigm is “I am bad, broken, and not valuable. Therefore, I do bad things. Adults are stupid for expecting anything different from me.” (NIWM)
    5. The Trauma Lens Paradigm Shift provides an explanation of “There is a hurt part in play that needs to be healed to keep from causing problems.”
  4. Parent’s emotional world will be changed after internalizing the new paradigm.
    1. One of the most fearful aspects of parenting traumatized children is the inability to understand why the behaviors are occurring or going unchanged. We instinctively understand that without this knowledge, we have little chance of stopping that behavior. This initiates the downward spiral to the more profound fear that “This will never get better.”
    2. The new paradigm sets the stage for a more functional grasp of the child’s behavioral motivations which reduces our fears.
    3. Living with less fear allows our brains to calm. With clearer thinking, parents develop more effective interventions. This initiates the upward spiral of healing and growth.
  5. Parent’s brains will develop new neural pathways when using the new paradigm.
    1. When using the new paradigm, parents are more aware of their own and their children’s emotional world. To be successful, they must have self-care, emotionally regulate, and co-regulate with a dysregulated child. Each of these processes, lead to growth—including new neural pathways. 
    2. Our brains develop new neural pathways in three ways
      1. Repetitive thoughts (thinking about the new paradigm)
      2. Repetitive verbalizations (narrating the new paradigm)
      3. Repetitive actions (acting in accordance with the new paradigm)
    3. The results of new neural pathways are
      1. Faster, more functional responses
      2. Clearer understanding of ours and our children’s emotional world
      3. Increased transmission of this understanding to our children

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