House Calls Herald 07 – Spring 2010, V. 2

parentsThe Healing Power of Parental Love
By Billy Kaplan, LCSW
HCC President and Clinical Director

With Mother’s and Father’s Days approaching, I want to take the opportunity to thank each of you who are, or have become, the healing parents for children and youth with attachment-related problems. You are the parents they need and deserve. Your devotion, unconditional love, skills, and astounding energy make a significant difference in their lives, and are humbling to those of us who partner in their healing.

I was reminded of how critical your healing power is when I read The Irresistible Henry House, by Lisa Grunwald. I was just amazed that a piece of fiction could so accurately illustrate problems associated with a lack of a healthy attachment in early childhood. As Grunwald writes: “Expounders of attachment theory would suggest that permanent damage could be done to any infant who was denied the chance to form one reliable connection, even in just the first year of life.” Wow! An author who gets it! (Although, as a clinical social worker working to help heal those early developmental wounds, I disagree with the notion that the damage is permanent; it’s just very complex to turn around!)

Henry House is raised in the 1950’s by college women in a “practice house” as part of a Home Economics class. For a year, a different student cares for Henry on a rotating basis one week at a time. Then Martha, the house mother, decides to “keep” him and raise him as her own. The story is about how she raises him, and his reaction to her child-rearing. While Henry clearly shows attachment-related problems, he does not display the extreme symptoms that many of us living and working with children/youth with attachment-related problems see. Yet one of the other “practice” children in the story does display those extreme behaviors: poor boundaries, cutting, running away, and experiences of abuse and exploitation. The amazing, and horrifying, thing is that these “practice houses” actually existed on college campuses throughout the country as part of Home Economics departments! Can you believe it???!!!!

Click HERE for the rest of the article!

Bonding and Attachment in Maltreated Children
Consequences of Emotional Neglect in Childhood

By Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.

The most important property of humankind is the capacity to form and maintain
relationships. These relationships are absolutely necessary for any of us to survive, learn, work, love and procreate. Human relationships take many forms but the most intense, most pleasurable and most painful are those relationships with family, friends and loved ones. Within this inner circle of intimate relationships, we are bonded to each other with “emotional glue” – bonded with love.

Each individual’s ability to form and maintain relationships using this “emotional glue” is
different. Some people seem “naturally” capable of loving. They form numerous intimate and caring relationships and, in doing so, get pleasure. Others are not so lucky. They feel no “pull” to form intimate relationships, find little pleasure in being with or close to others. They have few, if any friends and more distant, less emotional glue with family. In extreme cases an individual may have no intact emotional bond to any other person. They are self-absorbed, aloof or may even present with classic neuropsychiatric signs of being schizoid or autistic.

The capacity and desire to form emotional relationships is related to the organization and functioning of specific parts of the human brain. Just as the brain allows us to see, smell, taste, think, talk and move, it is the organ that allows us to love — or not. The systems in the human brain that allow us to form and maintain emotional relationships develop during infancy and the first years of life. Experiences during this early vulnerable period of life are critical to shaping the capacity to form intimate and emotionally healthy relationships. Empathy, caring, sharing, inhibition of aggression, capacity to love and a host of other characteristics of a healthy, happy and productive person are related to the core attachment capabilities which are formed in infancy and early childhood.

Click HERE to read the rest of the article!

As Bipolar Diagnoses in Foster Children Rise, Informed Consent Becomes a Bygone
Psychotropics given to wards without state’s OK, Tribune analysis finds

By David Jackson, Tribune Reporter

Powerful mood-altering drugs were prescribed to hundreds of Illinois foster children without the required consent of state child welfare officials, a Tribune analysis of government data has found.

And increasing numbers of young wards were diagnosed with bipolar disorder and given a class of anti-psychotic medicines that some physicians consider risky for youths because they can cause such side effects as metabolic abnormalities and pronounced weight gain.

The number of Illinois wards diagnosed with bipolar disorder nearly doubled between 2000 and 2007, when roughly 9 percent of the state’s nearly 16,000 wards were diagnosed as bipolar, the Tribune found.

“This is a really concerning statistic,” said Dr. Michael Naylor, a University of Illinois at Chicago psychiatrist who reviews psychotropic medicine regimens for the state Department of Children and Family Services. Naylor said he worries that drug firms’ marketing efforts are driving the diagnoses.

Click HERE to read the rest of the article!

Revising Book on Disorders of the Mind
By Benedict Carey

Far fewer children would get a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. “Binge eating disorder” and “hypersexuality” might become part of the everyday language. And the way many mental disorders are diagnosed and treated would be sharply revised.

These are a few of the changes proposed on Tuesday by doctors charged with revising psychiatry’s encyclopedia of mental disorders, the guidebook that largely determines where society draws the line between normal and not normal, between eccentricity and illness, between self-indulgence and self-destruction – and, by extension, when and how patients should be treated.

The eagerly awaited revisions – to be published, if adopted, in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, due in 2013 – would be the first in a decade.

Click HERE to read the rest of the article!

How to Meditate

With the hectic pace and demands of modern life, many people feel stressed and over-worked. It often feels like there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done. Our stress and tiredness make us unhappy, impatient and frustrated. It can even affect our health. We are often so busy we feel there is no time to stop and meditate! But meditation actually gives you more time by making your mind calmer and more focused. A simple ten or fifteen minute breathing meditation as explained below can help you to overcome your stress and find some inner peace and balance. Meditation can also help us to understand our own mind. We can learn how to transform our mind from negative to positive, from disturbed to peaceful, from unhappy to happy.

Click HERE for the rest of the article!