Beyondpondering's Weblog

Northwest Arkansas Therapy

Fight, Flight & Freeze: Reactive Attachment October 26, 2008

After using all the traditional methods I was trained in, with my own child and at agencies ,,,I am now very much on the Post-Forbes line of thinking. It might be easier for others to understand The Stress Model because they may not have been brainwashed by all the mainstream methods like  I was.  I now consider the mainstream methods hurtful.  When the traditional mainstream methods are used, they keep getting more and more punitive.  It seems that at the time you are in them, you do not realize that it is getting more and more punitive.

“Our” kids get stuck at the emotional stage when the trauma happened. 1,2,3,4, years of age….  Even if they are 7,8,9 years old.  Interestingly enough, I have returned to my child development back ground.    A RAD child may be 10 years old but emotionally 2.  However, agencies want their people  to talk logic with an emotional child.  It did not work.  It would seem that society and many in the psychological world, forget about child development when it comes to RAD. 

When a child is in the middle of a melt- down,  explaining all the logical reasoning to stop the tantrum, or why they should not feel that way, or telling them to consider the consequences they might get,,,,,,meant nothing to them.  Only after the children understood that you sort of, kind of, or at least were trying to understand them… Could they calm.   After the child was calm, and the relationship strengthened ,,,,could you help the child consider something else.I have found that BCI methods are the most kind, loving, gentle,,, scriptural (if you are Christian), or peaceful and gentle ( if you follow a non aggressive faith system) approach I have been introduced to.   When did Jesus put someone in a restraint, a hold, or a forced sitting?   Did Gandhi? 



If you are not the religious type, the methods work anyway.To say a child has an attachment disorder, is negative and implies illness.  BCI would rather consider a child attachment challenged ,,,,as all of us might be……. Therefore, hope and healing is possible.

Post and Forbes use the principals of bio neurology in that the children are hard wired for survival, due to their circumstances.  They can be hard wired even while in the womb.  They are hard wired to be fearful, on alert, hyper-vigilant, and hyper-aroused.  They use  “fight and flight” which has been proven useful to the survival of mankind.  Why wouldn’t they use it if humankind uses it for survival?  Another stance more recently added it the “freeze” stance.  I have seen deer and rabbits use “freeze” in our valley.  They survive by being perfectly still, trying to avoid detection by avoiding movement.  Our kids use freeze by being hypo-aroused. 



Instead of hyper-arousal and fighting,…….. they shut down, tune out, go to sleep, delay, procrastinate, get depressed, or use that word all parents hate, “NO”.  They do not necessarily FREEZE as the deer do in my valley.  However, when something is too stressful or overwhelming from their point of view, they can become hypo-aroused as a way of surviving.  Their bio neurology responds to an emotional danger the same way they would react to a real life and death danger.  They are unable to perceive the difference in the two.

 So instead of using power against power, force against force, resistance against resistance, BCI uses a non- threatening approach to help the child feel safe.

And no,,,the child is not allowed to do just anything…However,  a child is valued more than material goods.  Child proofing a home and protecting animals is very important.  Nevertheless,  material goods are never as important as a human.  

BCI and myself, believe that a child has negative behaviors because they of overwhelmed, scared, and stressed.  Instead of “time out” the family does “time in”.  Time out places the child alone and in fear of being abandoned again.  Instead, the family brings the child closer and spend more one on one time together.  Children to not act out for attention, child act out because the NEED attention. They missed out on so much of it,,,they still need the attention they should have had when they were younger.For 99% of the children, anything works.  We are dealing with that 1% who need special understanding.

If I am able to do my job well,  eventually,  a family should be more and more therapeutic in their own home, and need me less.  A family repeatedly provides containment (not forced holding ).  They adjust the environment to reduce stimulation, reduce stress, provide safety and security.  Healing happens.  Parents are to consider their own fears so they can reflect about why their children keep pushing their “buttons”.  Parental calmness can calm the child.  When the child grows older emotionally,,,, they then child can be introduced to more stressful things.



One Response to “Fight, Flight & Freeze: Reactive Attachment”

  1. Check it out

    This is a great site

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