Institutions Suck Sometimes

Why hello there fellow theo bloggers,

Its been a hard week, so we are going to lighten things up by addressing childhood developmental trauma and the institutionalized failure to address it based on larger political and corporate interests. Hooray!

I can tell by that look on your face that you don’t think this is a fun topic. Fair enough. Looks like we owe you a picture of an adorable pom pom.

There, that’s better.

This week we read chapter 10 of the venerable Van der Kolk’s, The Body Keeps the Score, in which we see how his research advanced our knowledge of developmental disorders and developmental trauma, its macro-societal effects, and ways to begin to treat our children more effectively with one diagnosis rather than the current average of 6.

When they submitted their vast amount of research to the APA arguing for the addition of developmental trauma disorder (DTD) in the DSM-V, the APA read it, gave a raucous hour long standing ovation, immediately included DTD in the DSM-V, committed millions of dollars for future research, and gave Van der Kolk a Nobel Medal in being awesome.

…just kidding...They actually responded,

“The notion that early childhood adverse experiences lead to substantial developmental disruptions is more clinical intuition than a research-based fact. There is no known evidence of developmental disruptions that were preceded in time in a causal fashion by any type of trauma syndrome.” -APA, May 2011

This is a rather confusing if not troubling response. It has been pretty well established that early childhood adverse experiences can lead to developmental disruption. Remember Mr. Robotic Monkey Mother Man? Or the work of Ainsworth and Beebe? Claiming that early childhood adverse experiences is not supported in the scientific literature showcases either an intellectual inability to grasp the research or biases which hold more power than the data.

Our talk as a group mostly involved us trying to figure out why the APA does not see DTD as a disorder. All of us were convinced by Van der Kolk’s argument of DTD. We posited a variety of influences including elitist bias, big pharma, political bias, and good ol’ bureaucratic failure. We also talked about our concern of the inadequate responses to current childhood developmental issues. Heather pointed out the the average ACE (adverse childhood experience) score of children today has doubled from the last generation, and Ryan pointed children explore their environment 90% less than previous generations. There are some real issues happening, and current research trying to figure out how to best address these issues is being ignored.

So, now that we have yet another example of systemic failure (seems to be a lot of that going around these days) we recommend giving up on humanity and spending the rest of your days living with the bears in the wild forests of the Yukon Territory.

Nah, as hard as things are, we can be inspired by the work of people like Van der Kolk and Bonhoeffer, people who address systemic failure head on who are not afraid to go against the voice of popular opinion and institutionalized bias. So hang in there. Change does eventually happen, life is never static.

Keep up the good fight.

Bodacious Bonhoeffers out

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