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Does anyone care?

I suppose the picture says it all (Note: The picture has been removed--it contained a Frederick Douglass quote, "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."). The useful thing about EMDR is that it is a good fit for kids who don't know quite how to put terrible experiences into words, or who would prefer not to re-live trauma or describe it in intimate detail. But EMDR is no substitute for an intact family and loving caregivers who love each other. The quality of communication and visible intimacy between parents is the key to a strong child who has positive relationships as an adult. Without these things, therapy for children (ANY therapy) becomes very difficult, and must often be preceded by family therapy.

In my opinion, as a result of this, the ultimate art of therapy is therapy for kids in foster care, especially because they almost always have many Adverse Childhood Experiences (see other blog entries on this), and usually complex trauma disorders along with these. And none of the above resources regarding a secure relationship with caregivers and modeling of appropriate relationships--usually they have the absolute opposite. See the blog entry on the "foster care to prison pipeline." It is shocking.

There is an inpatient facility in the Netherlands (PSYTREC--Google it) which has an 8-day program using EMDR and Prolonged Exposure for trauma disorders, including the most complex childhood trauma. They have a 91% significant improvement rate, a 78% PTSD cure rate, and a 30% total symptom elimination rate, and 6-month follow-ups show that this progress sticks. This change occurs in 8 days, and the research is published. I took their training use their methods in a limited, outpatient manner. This facility is paid for by their government with the cooperation of the Dutch military, and the cost is tiny (maybe $3,000 per person) compared to what our government spends on foster care ($1.3 billion in 2021) and prison ($8 billion in 2021) every year. Programs like this here for foster care kids would result in the closure of many prisons and a much more peaceful country. And foster kids without extreme behavior problems would be adopted much more often, as they would not need professional care.

I haven't even mentioned veterans, active military, and EMS--in my experience many more paramedics have PTSD than combat veterans, and the EMS culture is the most resistant to the idea of therapy. Paramedics die early, usually of issues related to work stress.

The ACE study shows that with 7 Adverse Childhood Experiences, the lifespan is reduced by 20 years on average. ACE's predict just about every disease (500% increase in heart disease at only 4 ACE's, 200% increase in cancer, for instance), and the suicide rate at 7 ACE's is 60 times higher. The only problem with effective therapy for kids, is that there would be more money spent on Medicare for older people! Not a bad problem.

Of course again, the best solution is promoting good parenting and healthy marriages, and providing no-cost, easy-to-get-to, enriching cultural and sports resources for children and adults. This is not expensive or difficult, and reduces overall government spending. It's already obvious, but no one seems to care. More of the emphasis these days is on legalizing drugs and defunding police, but as recent experience shows (most clearly in Oregon), this is a very bad idea, especially for minority communities.

About 90% of the recent intakes and diagnoses I've done for my organization (a second job I have) are poor people with severe trauma disorders related to parents who abuse drugs and alcohol. Around here in Eastern NC, the poor live in isolated islands of trailer parks with no transportation and nothing nearby. Participating in school or community activities usually costs money and requires a second car (and therefore a second parent who is free during the day). Mental health for the poor mainly consists of prescription drugs, often prescribed for disorders people don't actually have, ignoring ACE's and trauma. If therapy has been present, these new clients I evaluate have had a negative experience, or a different therapist once per month, and trauma has been ignored. 38% of foster children take powerful antipsychotic medications, but very few have seen a therapist trained in trauma therapy.

It seems like the only action anyone thinks they need to take is to have the right political views so they aren't "that other idiot" and can have a group of friends who tell you how moral you are. Instead, what if everyone had a little gratitude, stopped blaming others for their problems, and cared for their marriages and children? And actually thought about what would make their lives meaningful? Clean up your own life before you criticize the world.


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