Working with the Developmental Trauma of Childhood Neglect : Using Psychotherapy and Attachment Theory Techniques in Clinical Practice book cover
1st Edition

Working with the Developmental Trauma of Childhood Neglect
Using Psychotherapy and Attachment Theory Techniques in Clinical Practice

ISBN 9780367467777
Published August 31, 2021 by Routledge
196 Pages

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Book Description

This book provides psychotherapists with a multidimensional view of childhood neglect and a practical roadmap for facilitating survivors’ healing.

Working from a strong base in attachment theory, esteemed clinician Ruth Cohn explores ways therapists can recognize the signs of childhood neglect, provides recommendations for understanding lasting effects that can persist into adulthood, and lays out strategies for helping clients maximize therapeutic outcomes. Along with extensive clinical material, chapters introduce skills that therapists can develop and hone, such as the ability to recognize and discern non-verbal attempts at communication. They also provide an array of resources and evidence-based treatment modalities that therapists can use in session.

Working with the Developmental Trauma of Childhood Neglect is an essential book for any mental health professional working with survivors of childhood trauma.

Table of Contents

1. Ancestral Roots 2. Seeing What Isn’t There: Recognizing the "Child of Neglect" 3. The Therapeutic Relationship: Entering a One Person World 4. "But Nothing Happened to Me!" What’s the Story? 5. Emotion: Teaching a Foreign Language 6. Sexuality: Unraveling the Conundrum of Need 7. Regulation of Giving: From Resentment to Reciprocity 8. Transforming Shame with Grief and Compassion 9. GPS 10. Beyond Words. Conclusion.

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Ruth Cohn, MFT, practices psychotherapy and sex therapy and specializes in work with survivors of childhood trauma and neglect. She is also the author of Coming Home to Passion: Restoring Loving Sexuality in Couples with Histories of Childhood Trauma and Neglect.


"Repairing the profound damage of early abuse, neglect, and deprivation is as infinitely complex as the healing of any injury to the human organism. In this beautifully written work, Ruth Cohn describes in spellbinding detail the multiple modalities and skills that a therapist needs to bring to the table to make this work possible. She demonstrates the need for a creative use and activation of all our senses, combined with patience, compassion, humility, and hard-earned self-knowledge. This book provides clinicians and curious consumers with a roadmap to finding both a voice and a spine. A true guide to healing." — Bessel A. Van der Kolk, MD, president of the Trauma Research Foundation, professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, and author of the # 1 New York Times bestseller The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

"Ruth Cohn has written a beautiful book on the neglected topic of neglect, filled with insight and compassion. I highly recommend this book to every therapist." — Sebern Fisher, author of Neurofeedback in the Treatment of Developmental Trauma: Calming the Fear-Driven Brain

"Ruth Cohn presents a moving account of what treating neglect is like for both the client and the therapist. Using case examples, Cohn presents elegantly how to approach the clinical complexities of neglect using an integrative approach ranging from psychodynamic principles to neurofeedback and sensorimotor therapies. This book will give hope to all who continue to persevere in reaching the restoration of the self in the aftermath of agonizing attachment wounds. A must read!" — Ruth Lanius, MD, PhD, author of The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease, The Hidden Epidemic, and Healing the Traumatized Self: Consciousness, Neuroscience, Treatment

"In this wonderful integration of theory and compassion, Ruth Cohn brings together clinical experience and psychological curiosity grounded in neuroscience. Chock full of stories that illuminate the theory, Ruth Cohn’s book makes the implicit experiences of childhood neglect tangible. More importantly, she gives us a clinical framework to effectively transform the pain people live in." — Deirdre Fay, MSW, author of Becoming Safely Embodied and Attachment-Based Yoga and Meditation for Trauma Recovery

"Ruth Cohn achieves her aim of making the psychotherapy of clinical states resulting from early neglect both fascinating and rewarding. With numerous vignettes from the wisdom of her years immersed in the psychotherapy of neglect, she illuminates the most important qualities needed by the therapist. Although this book is primarily for therapists, many patients may find their experiences mirrored in a way that promotes their understanding of how they came to their difficulties in regulating emotions, in forming secure attachments, and in having a sense of the body-based self." — Frank Corrigan, MD, author of The Comprehensive Resource Model: Effective Therapeutic Techniques for the Healing of Complex Trauma and Neurobiology and Treatment of Traumatic Dissociation: Towards an Embodied Self