What is Early Relational Trauma?
Early Relational Trauma
The common umbrella for all forms of trauma occurring for infant and/or caregiver in the early developmental years is its relational nature.
Relational traumas of all kinds – namely anything that distorts or ruptures the ongoing care-giving responsiveness of the parent – exposes the infant or young child to repeated or unpredictable threat or overwhelming fear, during the most formative months and years of immune, cardio-vascular, and neuro-biological development (Glaser, 2000). Both the witnessing of frightening events, and being cared for by a frightening and/or frightened caregiver pose significant and enduring developmental risks within this fragile developmental ecology (Levendosky, Bogat, Huth-Bocks, Rosenblum, & von Eye, 2011).
Key to response is effective recognition of trauma symptoms in parent and/or infant (McIntosh, 2008) supported by validated frameworks of screening and response (McIntosh, Wells, & Lee, 2016).