Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP

Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP

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

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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 […]

A common parent statement: “I can’t nurture her until she starts treating me right.”

It makes sense that  parents feel this way when they have experienced intense hurt related to repeated rejection and disrespect from their traumatized adopted and foster children.  However, there exists a real Catch-22:  When traumatized or hurt children do not trust adults as sources of comfort and security, they are unable to trust their authority.  […]

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 […]

Ghosts in the Nursery

Psychoanalyst Selma Fraiberg wrote a famous essay entitled “Ghosts in the Nursery” that enlightened professionals regarding the powerful impact of early experiences on parents’ relationships with their children. Most people think of the impact of childhood experiences on parenting as a problem of “role-modeling.” Indeed, one way we are influenced by our parents as we […]

Adoptive Parents: Talking with Traumatized Children About Their Lives

Over the years, I have worked with many adults who were adopted as infants or adopted from overseas or from the U.S. foster system. A common theme I have heard from every adult was, “No one ever talked to me about being adopted. No one talked to me about the things I had experienced. No […]

A Growing and Changing Field

After neglecting my website and blog for 2 years due to the business of my personal life as well as my work, I have decided to put new energy into blogging–something I have been planning to do for the longest time– with the hope of igniting some stimulating conversation and dialogue in the community related […]





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