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This article presents an expanded paradigm for understanding the pervasive impact of subtle parent-child interactions that cause experiences of shock, trauma, and stress during the first three years of life. Drawn from quantitative, qualitative, applied evidence-based practice, case formulation research methods, and a comprehensive review of related research, it uses the term “developmental trauma” to describe these early experiences. The article also places shock, trauma, and stress on a continuum and charts their impact on the development of individuals, couples, and families. It also describes the Weinholds’ clinical model for healing developmental trauma.


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Weinhold, J. & Weinhold, B. (2011). Healing developmental trauma: A systems approach to counseling individuals, couples and families. Denver: Love Publishing.

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JOURNAL OF PRENATAL AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HEALTH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published quarterly since 1986, is dedicated to the in-depth exploration human reproduction and pregnancy and the mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child.

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