Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP

Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP

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

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When I walked into the office this morning…

I conducted a training along with my wonderful colleagues Stefanie Armstrong and Cathy Schweitzer here in Omaha yesterday, and the entire group became involved in a discussion regarding how traumatized children and adults over-read anger on faces.  Even facial expressions that exhibit sadness, boredom, or fatigue can be easily read as anger or disapproval.  Voice […]

Adoption allows me to experience success as a trauma therapist.

Last week I was in Hong Kong training and consulting for a group of dedicated and talented psychologists, and I discovered that the abused children in their care had an additional obstacle to their healing.  Adoption is not a part of the culture in Hong Kong. Although I don’t have statistics regarding the prevalence of […]

“Now that I understand this is dissociation, I’m not mad at him anymore,” said his mother.

Dissociation in children is poorly understood. I have always had mixed feelings about speaking with parents about signs of severe dissociation in their child, because I have been afraid that the discussion would lead the parents to pathologize the child.  Yet, this is a real phenomenon, and when dissociation is not recognized, affected children can […]

What are your child’s triggers?

Homework?  Being told no?  An angry face or voice tone? Bedtime? Getting up? Holidays?  If you can identify his triggers, you might be able to make an educated guess regarding the negative beliefs driving his or her behaviors. Some children have the stuck belief, “I never get what I want!”  Children who have suffered losses […]

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 […]

Anger Management Is Not the Answer

Many folks tend to think anger management is the answer when it comes to problems with anger and aggression.  Sadly,  I have never found anyone suffering from high levels of anger who benefited much from anger management skills.  I think it’s all about finding what emotions and thought processes are driving the high level of […]

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 […]

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