Three Quick Quotes and a FREE resource – 26 May 2021

Hi there

In this week’s email we have:

  • quotes from Elizabeth Howell, Bruce Perry and myself
  • a free psychoeducational resource: ‘Four Ways to Better Sleep’ poster PDF with brief explanation
  • my ‘snap of the week’
  • NO blog this week – I’m on holiday! (whoop whoop!)

Also, just a reminder that this week’s ‘Course of the Week’ is Working with Relational Trauma: Dealing with Disorganised Attachment. You can check out the course and our new page aimed at helping professionals working with trauma survivors here.

Please share this email with friends, colleagues and clients and ask them to join our community at where they can also get a free copy of our ‘Emotional Resource Guide’. And if you or they have missed any previous emails, there’s a full archive at

Stay safe!

three quotes

“What happens when the person for whom protection is sought is the same one against whom protection is needed? How does the child handle the danger of attachment loss when the parent or attachment figure is frighteningly punitive, overly neglectful, traumatically shaming, or is predatory – especially since danger intensifies the need for attachment? In such situations, the child’s ability to feel safely attached may depend on the dissociative compartmentalisation of parts of the self that hold memories, perceptions, cognitions, and affects, including terror and rage, that are contradictory to attachment.”

“The most traumatic aspects of all disasters involve the shattering of human connections. And this is especially true for children. Being harmed by the people who are supposed to love you, being abandoned by them, being robbed of the one-on-one relationships that allow you to feel safe and valued and to become humane – these are profoundly destructive experiences. Because humans are inescapably social beings, the worst catastrophes that can befall us inevitably involve relational loss. As a result, recovery from trauma and neglect is also all about relationships – rebuilding trust, regaining confidence, returning to a sense of security and reconnecting to love. Of course, medications can help relieve symptoms and talking to a therapist can be incredibly useful. But healing and recovery are impossible – even with the best medications and therapy in the world – without lasting, caring connections to others.”

Carolyn Spring
Traumatic Aloneness

“Trauma changes us at a fundamental, cells-and-organs, neurons-and-noradrenaline kind of a way.

But what about traumatic aloneness?

My contention is that at the moment of trauma – in the case of something like child sexual abuse, for example – one of the most traumatising, life-shattering parts of it is that we are entirely alone. We call out in the universe for someone to be there for us, and our call returns to us empty. We’re on our own. The proximity we have to our abuser (invading us, flannelling all over us in rancid, stinking malice) just makes things worse. We want a person, a human being, to be with us in the midst of this suffering, and all we get is this putrid, human-being-gone-wrong.

Our brain is not imprinted forever with the deliciousness of rescue, the sweetness of a savour. Instead it is imprinted with malevolence. We are alone in the universe apart from this evil.

That’s a tough gig.”

this week’s free resource

One of the most debilitating consequences of trauma is disrupted sleep. And ironically – in a vicious cycle kind of a way – sleep is exactly what we need in order to heal from trauma. It’s during the dream phase of sleep that emotions are processed and traumatic memories are stripped of their sting. But how do we get enough of this type of sleep – which preferentially occurs in the second half of the night – if trauma has disrupted our sleep? That’s what we look at in depth in our Mental Health and the Body: Treating Trauma course, and this is a handout from it. Resolving sleep issues is far from easy, but even marginal gains, even a little improvement, can make a big difference.

The full copy of ‘Four Ways to Better Sleep’ is available as a PDF by clicking here. Additionally, you can also download a print-friendly, low-ink version by clicking here.

snapshot of my week

Here’s a photo fresh from a deserted and immaculate Scottish beach! There’s no blog post this week as I’m away having some much needed R&R.

The weather has been changeable so far – more March than May – but there have been a couple of blue sky days in amidst a hard storm where I thought we were going to be blown into the sea from the gales and then drowned by the incessant, lashing rain. But once the wind died down it’s been so quiet, so peaceful, so beautiful … a real tonic for the soul.

It’s also the best way for me to get better sleep, despite the fact that sunset here on the north coast doesn’t currently happen until 10pm (and it’s light for a while longer after that!)

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