About Trauma

The Relationship Between Trauma and Attachment

  • Early traumatic experiences interfere with healthy brain development, including attachment functioning.
  • Persistent exposure to traumatic experiences can inhibit or even damage healthy attachment functioning.
  • Healthy, secure attachment helps to buffer the impact of trauma.
  • Persons with attachment weaknesses are more likely to be impacted by traumatic events, but the severity and frequency of trauma exposure makes anyone vulnerable.
  • Because attachment is based in TRUST, it may be difficult for those who have experienced trauma to trust others.
  • When the attachment system is activated (that is, when we feel stressed, unsafe, or threatened), our attachment behavior patterns begin to emerge automatically.
  • These split-second reactions occur faster than we are aware, making it very difficult to recognize or control unhealthy and unwanted thoughts or behaviors.
  • Our bodies have built-in mechanisms intended to react in ways that keep us alive and safe, but sometimes those subconscious triggers affect our perceptions regarding threat and safety.
  • The brain can adapt and heal at any age with specific therapeutic interventions offered at CATS.

How We Can Help:

  • Because our clinicians all have a solid understanding of attachment and trauma, we are able to implement specialized therapeutic strategies to help resolve trauma and strengthen attachment.
  • We also educate family members about the meaning behind the behaviors observed that seem to be prohibiting an attachment from forming.
  • The earlier a family receives support, the faster the healing process.
  • Optimal times for early intervention include:
    • A child being adopted
    • A child entering foster care
    • A child entering kinship care
    • Immediately following a trauma or loss
    • Birth trauma (for mother, father or infant) or NICU separations
    • Perinatal or postpartum depression or anxiety
    • At the first sign of family or individual struggle
About CATS About Attachment