702: Treating the Invisible Trauma of Childhood Emotional Neglect with Adult Christian Clients
Ashley Jamison, Ph.D.
International Mission Board
3806 Monument Ave.
Richmond, VA 23230
Rikki Permenter, Ph.D.
Bent Tree Counseling
1706 Hwy. 63
Clinton, LA 70722
Clinicians often find themselves treating chronic anxiety and depression in adult clients with no notable trauma history. Treatment can continue for a long time without significant progress. Frequently, trauma is present but overlooked by both client and clinician. Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN) is an often-missed trauma. CEN is challenging to identify as it is the absence of necessary support rather than the presence of abuse. It is defined by a consistent pattern of emotional needs being disregarded, invalidated, or ignored by primary caregivers in the past. Emotionally neglectful parents can be well-meaning, yet they may not understand the child’s needs, may not be emotionally attuned to the child’s needs, or may simply feel overwhelmed by his or her needs. CEN impacts relationships with self, others, and God in the same ways complex trauma does. One’s view of self and functional beliefs about God are based on early experiences with primary caregivers. When primary caregivers do not care for children in a way that communicates value and worth, they will experience trauma as they become adults. Effective clinical treatment must address this trauma directly, not just the myriad of symptoms. This presentation will help participants identify and effectively treat the trauma of CEN.
• Identify past childhood emotional neglect and its impact on current relationships with self, others, and God
• Describe common symptoms and presenting problems that licensed mental health professionals should assess for childhood emotional neglect
• Outline biblical trauma treatment techniques and strategies for working on childhood emotional neglect from the past