House Calls Herald 01 – Summer 2009


Welcome to the very first issue of The House Calls Counseling Herald! Our aim is to inform you on the latest research and general information pertaining to our areas of specialization: trauma, attachment, and child welfare; as well as keep you up-to-date on what’s happening with us here at House Calls!

We hope you will find something in this newsletter of use to you … Enjoy!

Love is a Battlefield

It can be hard for many of us to understand what an Attachment Disorder is really all about. What is it like for the parents and the child? The NPR show “This American Life” did a wonderful job answering that question on August of 2007 with its show entitled “Unconditional Love” which shares “stories of unconditional love between parents and children, and how hard love can be sometimes in daily practice.”

The first segment after the prologue, called “Love is a Battlefield,” is hosted by “Alix Spiegel (who) tells the story of a couple, Heidi and Rick Solomon, who adopt a son who was raised in terrible circumstances in a Romanian orphanage, unable to feel attachments to anyone … and what they do about it.”

Click here to listen.

What is Life Like as a Foster Child?
Debra Cruz, former foster child

We are helpless, afraid, alone … we are the foster children. For some of us, our lives began in turmoil, and for some, the turmoil started like a menacing fire and burst into a terrible flame. Our childhood is ripped from us. Then comes foster care.

We start out in foster care already broken. Why are the foster parents so amazed when we don’t act like normal children? What are they thinking? We have been torn away from everything familiar and thrust towards people we don’t know. It was the behavior of adults that caused us to be taken in the first place, and now we are given to another set of adults. What are we supposed to do? We don’t trust anyone anymore, and we are given like property to strangers? The fear is unbearable. The loneliness a black void. The insecurity is a dark cloud that follows us from home to home, from adult to adult. We have no place to call our own, no real belongings, no hope, we are not loved, and we are so aware of that.

Read the full article here.

When Trauma Happens, Children Draw
Cathy Malchiodi, Art Therapist
Psychology Today Blogs

people_child_drawingAfter a disaster, children’s art and play provides a window into the experience of trauma. And this innate impulse to communicate through creative expression is more than just another picture or just “pretend”-it reflects the neuropsychological nature of trauma itself.

Children relive their traumas not only in their minds, but also through their actions. In part, their actions are often attempts to regain mastery over events that have disrupted their lives. Art, play, and imagination are ways children naturally express the unspeakable and circumvent “talk” that is difficult or temporarily unavailable.

Read the full article here.

Pregnancy and Parenting Among DCFS Wards and Emancipated Youth
Christina Bruhn, Ph.D.
HCC therapist

people_pregnant_bellyWhile most people have a sense that DCFS wards might be at increased risk for pregnancy and parenting as compared to youth in general, very little publicized information helps us decide whether that is actually true or not. This article reviews research about pregnancy and parenting among DCFS wards.

The conclusions that can be drawn from this review are that youth in foster care are at greater risk of becoming parents than youth who are not in foster care, and the risk of teen pregnancy and parenting rises sharply with age.

Read the full article here.

Developmental Issues for Young Children in Foster Care
PEDIATRICS Vol. 106 No. 5 November 2000, pp. 1145-1150
Committee on Early Childhood, Adoption and Dependent Care

people_child_musclesThe developmental issues important for young children in foster care are reviewed, including: 1) the implications and consequences of abuse, neglect, and placement in foster care on early brain development; 2) the importance and challenges of establishing a child’s attachment to caregivers; 3) the importance of considering a child’s changing sense of time in all aspects of the foster care experience; and 4) the child’s response to stress. Additional topics addressed relate to parental roles and kinship care, parent-child contact, permanency decision-making, and the components of comprehensive assessment and treatment of a child’s development and mental health needs.

Read the full article here.

Adult Attachment Styles
Cassandra Firkins, LCSW – HCC Therapist
Clémentine Malta-Bey – HCC intern

people_parents_baby“Attachment” has become a buzzword sprawled all over parenting magazines and used to market a plethora of baby products, from baby carriers and slings to co-sleepers. However, the trendy new concept of “attachment parenting” has little to do with Attachment Theory, which was developed by psychologists to explain how and why infant attachment to a caregiver affects human development.

Read the full article here.