Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP

Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP

Author, Mental Health Therapist, Researcher, Expert in Attachment Trauma

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Archive for Therapy

When feelings are the trigger…

Children (and adults) who experienced inadequate comfort and nurturing as infants and toddlers are frequently unable to manage any sort of emotion – positive or negative – without becoming dysregulated. Early deprivation leaves inadequate connections in the prefrontal brain.  The prefrontal brain is like Grand Central Station, connecting the higher and lower regions of the […]

Dissociation is a normal and self-protective response.

Dissociation is a normal human response to intense emotions or even to boredom.  Everyone dissociates to some extent, but children who have experienced multiple traumas are high risk for dissociative disorders.  As children or adults, they may regularly shut down or space out, or they may become hyper and extremely silly or behave in other […]

Mindfulness is a Lifestyle

Relaxation and meditation are extremely beneficial for reducing stress, reducing cortisol and inflammation in the brain, and calming reactivity.  But mindfulness involves even more than activities that change consciousness.  Mindfulness involves staying present to all of our experiences, including feelings of sadness, anger, hurt, loneliness, or any other emotions.  The practice of mindfulness includes staying […]

I Never Would Have Guessed….

A child I was working with was having multiple tantrums every day, shortly after her adoption day.  Her mother brought her in, fatigued, defeated, and confused.  The mother said, “I think she is testing us to see if we really love her!”  Certainly, this was a possibility.  But I wondered about grief.  After working with […]

Integrative Team Treatment for Attachment Trauma in Children: Family Therapy and EMDR

Treatment Manual for Clinicians.  Read reviews and more here.

Adoption is Not the Problem.

Adoption is not the problem.  Adoption is a win-win for adoptive parents, children, and birth parents.  Adoption is not a problem, but early attachment losses and traumas are indeed a problem.  Even preverbal trauma leaves an imprint in the limbic brain of young children and creates entrenched feelings of rejection, abandonment, hurt, mistrust, fear, and […]

Do You Believe In Love?

The title of the song by Huey Lewis and the News makes me think about children with a history of attachment trauma.  And the answer is frequently no.  They do not believe in love.  Parents can tell them they love them and they don’t believe it, because they don’t know what it means.   Anyone […]

She said, “I Think I Have Read Too Many Books on RAD.”

A mom in my office today had an epiphany after her adopted son beautifully verbalized his deep-seated belief that he is unloved and unlovable. She said, “I think I have read too many books on RAD (reactive attachment disorder) over the years that told me that RAD kids manipulate and parents must stay in control […]

Why is EMDR Important in the Treatment of Children and Adults with Early Trauma?

Early trauma experienced in the home impacts the brain and overall mental health of the developing child. When parents are behaving in a manner that frightens their children, their children are in a double-bind: “The person to whom I wish to run is at the same time the source of my fear.” With no way […]

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