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Jump OUT of the Trauma Tornado- LYING {webinar}

June 18, 2017

I remember driving into work a few years ago, really mulling around and trying to embody the level of chaos that so many of my clients were dealing with in their day to day life.  It felt swirling, cyclical and self-sustaining – I can feel into it even now as I sit and write this.  Behavior, reaction, repeat.  Behavior, reaction, repeat.  Over and over again.  Like a funnel cloud.  An actual tornado- with that swirling intensity that has the capacity to destroy anything in it’s path.

The trauma tornado.

(Want to read the original blog post?  CLICK HERE.)

To be honest, I feel a bit awkward now about that metaphor.  It feels a little trite, a little catchy, a little silly.  But I keep hearing from families that the metaphor is anything but trite or silly.  It’s unfortunately extremely accurate.

There are so many different ways to help a child who has experienced complex trauma.  It’s what I find most exciting and most overwhelming about my work- the level of complexity.  The trauma tornado is just one metaphorical piece of the puzzle, but I have repeatedly found it to be a helpful metaphor – not only for understanding the WHY behind the behavior (critically important) but also because it gives us some clues about what to do about.

 

I’m kicking off a summer series of webinars in which we’ll look at several challenging behaviors through the lens of the trauma tornado.

Ready to register?  Interested in more details?  CLICK HERE.

In the first webinar on June 23, we’ll go in depth into the cycle of the trauma tornado, and then focus on LYING.  I’ll help you determine where and how you’re getting sucked into the tornado, which should then open up some ideas on how you can begin to jump out.  Because unfortunately, we can’t ask our children to be the ones who jump out; it must start with us- the parents.

Sound interesting?  Here’s the details.

WHAT:                Jump OUT of the Trauma Tornado- LYING (webinar)

WHEN:                June 23, 2017.  2pm eastern, 1pm central, 12pm mountain, 11am pacific.

But really, WHENEVER because everyone who registers will receive the recording.  You absolutely do NOT have to attend live.  The recording will be yours forever, to listen to as often as you like. 

WHERE:              Webinar!!!  Your home, or office, or the library, or your back porch.  With coffee, lemonade, or wine.  You decide!!!

FEE:                     $14!!!  Really.  Only $14.

 

There’s nothing to lose here!

Lying is probably the most COMMON frustration facing the families I work with, so I figured it was the perfect behavior to tackle first.

Ready to register?  Interested in more details?  CLICK HERE.

~

 

 

Like what you read here?  To get even more support, click here to sign up for my monthly (or less) newsletter!

Robyn Gobbel, LCSW is a child and family therapist in Austin, Texas specializing in adoption, trauma, and attachment counseling. She is the founder of the Central Texas Attachment & Trauma Center.

Movement & Music- a workshop for therapists

May 22, 2017

Are you looking for ways to weave movement and music into your therapy work with children?

You know about the importance of movement and music for lower brain healing, but aren’t sure how to bring it into the therapy room?

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHEN: June 30, 2017

WHERE: Sol Center for Healing & Wellness; 13805 Ann Pl., Austin, TX 78728

FEE: $145 (register before midnight on June 15)

$160 (registration after June 15)

CEUs: 6, including APT

Ready to register?!?!  CLICK HERE!

DESCRIPTION

Children who have experienced developmental trauma often present with unusual behaviors- both in and out of the play therapy room. This workshop will help play therapists feel comfortable leaning into nervous system dysregulation, reframing misbehavior as opportunities to soothe the limbic system through “bottom up” play therapy techniques involving movement and music.

This innovative and introductory training that will guide the attendees through the most current neuroscience research (including Bruce Perry, MD, Bessel van der Kolk, MD, Stephen Porges, MD, Peter Levine, PhD, and Daniel Siegel, MD) and demonstrate how to put theory into practice. Examples of creative ways to use music and movement in play therapy to shift the child’s emotional state, maintain regulation, and renegotiate traumatic associations without overwhelming the client will be explained and demonstrated. Participants will learn a framework (based on the Alert Program and Zones of Regulation) to help children develop the capacity to monitor (notice) and modify (change) their state of regulation or dysregulation.

This training will include didactic and experiential learning; participants should dress comfortably and be prepared to move and play. Activities will allow the participants to experience ways to incorporate music and movement into the play therapy process with children. Attendees will leave this training with practical tools, strategies and applications that enhance the client’s capacity to connect with others, process trauma without becoming overwhelmed, and facilitate healing.

Intentionally engaging the brainstem through movement, music, and play provides valuable practice coming back into a regulated state from a dysregulated state, deepens connection and attunement between therapist and client, models for the parent how to help their child through dysregulation, brings high level brain functions back online, and enhances learning. Attendees will be able to use music and movement in play therapy in a purposeful way that leads to more enjoyment in their play therapy sessions and works toward therapist goals of improved regulation and ultimately trauma healing.

Learning Objectives:

  • Attendees will be able to explain the importance of working through a client’s dysregulation in the play therapy room with connection and attunement instead of limits and consequences.
  • Attendees with learn how to incorporate music and movement into their play therapy process to help their client become more regulated in and out of session.
  • Attendees will develop play therapy treatment plans based on viewing challenging behavior as dysregulation of the nervous system as opposed to misbehavior.
  • Attendees with learn ways to invite the hypo- and hyper-aroused nervous system back into the window of tolerance using music and movement in the play therapy room
  • Attendees will learn a system to teach children through play therapy to monitor (notice) and modify (change) their inner state.

Ready to register?

CLICK HERE!!!

Don’t hesitate to email me with questions!!!!  I’d love to see you there!  We are going to have tons of fun!

~

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Like what you read here?  To get even more support, click here to sign up for my monthly (or less) newsletter!

Robyn Gobbel, LCSW is a child and family therapist in Austin, Texas specializing in adoption, trauma, and attachment counseling. She is the founder of the Central Texas Attachment & Trauma Center.

Untangling Disorganized Attachment

April 27, 2017

Children with early attachment trauma often have bizarre, confusing, and unpredictable behaviors.  In fact, one of the most predictable things about a child with a history of early attachment trauma is that they are unpredictable 🙂

UPDATE!!!!  This recorded webinar is now available for purchase on my website!!!  CLICK HERE!!!

The tragedy of disorganized attachment can explain much of these contradictory and oftentimes maddening behaviors.  Metaphorically, attachment trauma does to a child’s nervous system what you would do to a car engine if you kept  the gas and the brake both pressed to the floor at the same time.

Don’t try it.  It’s bad.

Making Sense

Understanding disorganized attachment can help you see your child behavior through a new lens and make sense of their seemingly nonsensical ways.  This is good for BOTH of you- you will definitely feel less crazy and your child will feel more connected to you.

I blogged about the tragedy of disorganized attachment a while back, and I then turned that article into a conference workshop.  NOW I get to share it with EVERYONE by creating a webinar!!!

Disorganized attachment can be a little confusing- so here’s a webinar that puts it all into plain English.  I literally guarantee that you will understand disorganized attachment when the webinar is over.  If you don’t- email me and I’ll refund you the $19.  Promise.

Untangle Disorganized Attachment

Once you understand disorganized attachment, you’ll start to see ways you can untangle it.  But just to make it more simple for you, I’m making this a two-part webinar.  Part two will be all about practical things you can do to  help untangle your child’s disorganized attachment.  The steps are actually quite simple.  Very difficult.  Yet simple.

Part 1 of the webinar will air LIVE next Wednesday evening, but EVERYONE who registers will receive a link to the recording.  Part 1 will put disorganized attachment into plain English, and when I send you the link to the recording I will also send a link to the prerecorded Part 2.  I’ve decided to prerecord part 2 and send it out with the recording to Part 1 so you don’t have to wait a moment longer for the practical tools.

This two-part webinar is only $19!!!!!!!

Are you ready to register?  CLICK HERE!!!

Details:

When: Wednesday May 3, 2017; 8pm eastern, 7pm central, 6pm mountain, 5pm pacific.  OR WHENEVER because you will receive a recording!!!  The link to the prerecorded Part 2 will be sent to you at the same time as the recording of Part 1.

Where: Your house!  No need to get dressed or get childcare!  You can wear your favorite jammies and sip wine or hot cocoa.  You can even sip loudly, because no one will hear you!!!

What: Untangling Disorganized Attachment

How Much: $19.  $19!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That’s it!!!!  For a two-part webinar with a therapist who specializes in working with children with complex trauma.  And for the recording to BOTH!!!  This is a great deal.

How to RegisterCLICK HERE.  You’ll be able to review the details and then register for the LIVE and RECORDED webinar.

REMEMBER!!!  This is a two-part webinar.  Part one will air LIVE on Wednesday May 3.  Within about two days, you’ll receive a link to the prerecorded part 2 as well as a link to the recording of Part 1.  This means you do not have to be available to attend part 1 live!

I can’t wait to see you there!!!

UPDATE!!!!  This recorded webinar is now available for purchase on my website!!!  CLICK HERE!!!

~

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Like what you read here?  To get even more support, click here to sign up for my monthly (or less) newsletter!

Robyn Gobbel, LCSW is a child and family therapist in Austin, Texas specializing in adoption, trauma, and attachment counseling. She is the founder of the Central Texas Attachment & Trauma Center.

Can you notice a moment of being OK?

March 6, 2017

{Written on Friday March 3}…At this very moment, I’m gazing at a lazy river in Central Florida- and it truly is the laziest river I’ve ever seen.  What a brilliant idea to have a moms retreat in Florida in the off season.  It’s warm and quiet, and I’m in my bathing suit, preparing to speak to a group of moms who have landed in Orlando from all over the country.

i-am-ok

I’m been given the privilege of being one of people who kicks off the weekend for the moms at the Beyond Trauma and Attachment (BeTA) Moms Retreat, and I’m going to take a stab at talking about how they can begin rediscover who they are.  I don’t know these beautiful ladies but I know a whole lot of moms who walk a similar path of parenting a child impacted by trauma.  I know how ups and downs of that journey, and I know how easy it is for moms to lose sight of themselves…to become virtually unrecognizable to themselves.

If I can connect to the hearts of just a few of them, I’ll have done my job to the best of my ability.

Really, we’ve got the concept of self-care all wrong.  Or at least I always have.  And most people I know, too.  I also know that most moms in the trenches scoff and roll their eyes when anyone mentions self-care.  As if there is time for that.

So if self-care isn’t working for the moms who need it most, it’s high time to redefine what self-care even is.

I’m going to encourage these moms to get present in the here and now.  That should be relatively easy this weekend, when they are cared for, when there is no chaos, when no one needs them for anything.  It will be a great place to start.  The thing about living in chaos is that we stop living in the moment because the moment is too hard.  I’m going to challenge these moms to consider- is it?  Is it too hard to be present?  Or could being present make hard things seem less hard??

My journey to Orlando has been relatively short but I’ve been closely watching myself, seeing if I can really walk my talk.

I’m technically at work- but I’m in a beautiful, quiet resort.  It’s 75 degrees, barely, and the sky is gorgeous.  I rode on an airplane- by myself.  So many opportunities for relishing in the goodness of life.

So I started soaking it all in when I was still at the airport.  I purposefully and intentionally enjoyed my morning coffee.  Someone else made it and it was delightful.  I enjoyed the quiet peace of the 2.5 hour flight.  I calmly reviewed my notes for today, noticing that I’m prepared.  Sigh of relief as I take that in.  These amazing ladies gifted me a massage.  I stayed present, yet relaxed, enjoying every moment of being cared for.  I’ve walked the grounds, enjoying the most perfect day imaginable- 75 degrees and blue skies?  Are you kidding?  And now I’m working.  In my bathing suit.  At a quiet, lovely pool.  Enjoying the shrieks of children having a blast, while also noticing that this resort must only be at 15% capacity.  It’s so peaceful.  A sweet lady just walked by and said “Wow, nice way to work.”  Yes ma’am, yes it sure is.

I mindfully and intentionally enjoy these moments and imagine them nourishing my mind and body.  This…THIS is self-care.  Taking this time to rest into the ease of life.

I’m lucky, I’m experiencing a whole lot of ease today.  A lot of quiet.  I know that might seem impossible for you.  I challenge you to look for what’s hidden right in plain sight- are there moments of ease you are overlooking?  It’s probably not a quiet pool in central Florida, but maybe it’s a quiet walk to the mailbox?  Or five minutes alone in a shower that is the perfect temperature.

Get present.  Notice those moments.  Over time, these small moments really do add up.

~

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Like what you read here?  To get even more support, click here to sign up for my monthly (or less) newsletter!

Robyn Gobbel, LCSW is a child and family therapist in Austin, Texas specializing in adoption, trauma, and attachment counseling. She is the founder of the Central Texas Attachment & Trauma Center.

What’s MY Attachment Got To Do With It?

February 23, 2017

Attachment.  If I opened up every book I own about attachment and searched for a definition, I’d come up with at least 100. (Um, gulp, I really do own that many books about attachment!  Is that a problem?! Nah, I don’t think so…it’s fine…).  One time, I actually started to do this…but I quickly realized that there are as many definitions as there are books, and in some circumstance I actually found multiple definitions in one book!!

UPDATE!!!!  This recorded webinar is now available for purchase on my website!!!  CLICK HERE!!!

Webinar on Parent Attachment!!!

Want to cut to the chase?  I have a new webinar all about adult attachment.  It will air next Wednesday but EVERYONE will get a recording so you definitely do NOT need to attend live.  This sneak peak into how our own attachment experiences impacts our parenting journey is a must have for all parents, but this webinar will be especially for parents of children who have been impacted by a trauma, loss, or attachment disruption.  You can click here to jump to the registration page.

Thfbadimage_1e Space Between

Attachment is hard to define because it’s an embodied experience- like love.  Can we capture love with words in a book?  Can we capture attachment with words in book?

Attachment happens in the ‘in between’ space.  The space between you and me that is created ONLY by you and me together.  The we.

Attachment needs two.

Since it needs two, we really can’t talk about our kid’s attachment without getting curious about ours.

We know that 80% of the time, a child’s attachment patterns mirror their parent’s attachment patterns.  And somehow super smart researchers are able to determine that this is not genetic.  Who knows how they know this, but I trust them.

So we must open up the attachment conversation and look at ourselves.  Us. Parents.

This brings me to my next webinar!!!!

This is a HUGE topic!  We could talk for days about how our attachment experiences impact our parenting and we would STILL just be scratching the surface.  So how about we start with just one hour??

Next Wednesday the 1st, I’ll be hosting another webinar, this time all about OUR attachment.  Us as parents.

Luckily- attachment patterns are always changing.  With mindful intention, we can shift our own attachment patterns toward more security, allowing our children to also shift toward more security.

Attachment: How Ours Impacts Theirs.

This will be an introductory look at adult attachment-  It’s only one hour, after all 😉

AND….I had such a great turn out with my last webinar that I’ve decided to stick to a super lower price of $14 per household.

Details:

When: Wednesday March 1, 2017; 8pm eastern, 7pm central, 6pm mountain, 5pm pacific.  OR WHENEVER because you will receive a recording!!!

Where: Your house!  No need to get dressed or get childcare!  You can wear your favorite jammies and sip wine or hot cocoa.  You can even sip loudly, because no one will hear you!!!

What: Attachment: How Ours Impacts Theirs

How Much: $14.  $14!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That’s it!!!!  For a one hour webinar with a therapist who specializes in working with children with complex trauma.  And for the recording!!!  This is a great deal.

How to RegisterCLICK HERE.  You’ll be able to review the details and then register for the LIVE and RECORDED webinar.

UPDATE!!!!  This recorded webinar is now available for purchase on my website!!!  CLICK HERE!!!

See you then!!!!

~

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Like what you read here?  To get even more support, click here to sign up for my monthly (or less) newsletter!

Robyn Gobbel, LCSW is a child and family therapist in Austin, Texas specializing in adoption, trauma, and attachment counseling. She is the founder of the Central Texas Attachment & Trauma Center.

Step 2: How Did Your Child’s Trauma Impact THEM??

January 30, 2017

Step 2 in the Super-Powers of Adoptive Moms and Dads.  How did my child’s trauma impact their brain?  (In step 1, you learned about trauma and the brain, just in general.  In this step, you start to personalize it to your child.  Theory becomes personal.  This can be hard!!!)

As you learn about how trauma impacts the brain, it’s important to start personalizing that information and weaving it into your child’s story.  Was your child raised in a securely attached home, only to have tragedy impact their parent’s ability to care for them when they were older?  Was your child’s birthmother a victim of severe domestic violence while your child was in utero?  Did you child experience severe neglect in their first months of life, rarely held, snuggled, or even looked at?

Is this your first time reading about the 4 Super-Powers of Adoptive Moms and Dads?  If so, head over to the article where I give an overview of these amazing super-powers and how they developed.  The 4 Super-Powers of Trauma Mamas (and Dads too).

how-did-early-trauma-impact-your-childs-brain

Think first about the developmental level they were when the trauma began.

In utero?  First few months of life?  Toddler?  Preschooler? School age child?  And think about the areas of the brain that were developing at that time.

Children who experienced in utero trauma and early early life trauma often have brainstem dysregulation, which leaves them chronically dysregulated.  Even their body systems like sleep, appetite, and heart rate can be irregular.  These children can have negative beliefs that are focused on how bad they are or if they even exist, or have the right to exist.  You are having a hard time staying connected to this child because they are literally almost always dysregulated.  This child can be extremely impulsive and seems to be operating at warp speed without using their thinking brain much to help them make decisions.

Children who experienced trauma before they had words or explicit memories may have an overdeveloped amygdala/limbic area of the brain.  The amygdala helps the brain know if your are safe or not safe.  It is scanning for danger four times PER SECOND.  When children live in a chronically unsafe environment (due to neglect, abuse, or other trauma), their amygdala remains on high alert.  It determines they are NOT SAFE more than SAFE and this keeps their system in a chronic state of fight/flight.  This was necessary for survival, but it also left them with an overactive amygdala that is oriented toward the catastrophic.  The brain develops around what it uses the most, so if the most used part of your child’s brain was the part that determined the environment was unsafe, well….that’s the part that gets developed.  These children may be constantly in a state of fight/flight- hypervigilent, always assuming the worst.  They have great fears about safety.  They are easily triggered by the most innocuous things because their overactive amygdalas believe everything is a threat.  This child might have beliefs about how they are not safe, or that the world is not safe, or nobody can protect them.

Or maybe your child experienced profound neglect in those early years and lacked the necessary adult/child interaction that babies need to help their nervous system mature.  Your child might be extremely shut down, and when they get stressed they dissociate instead of acting out.  This child learned that the world was so unsafe, their only refuge was to go away in their mind.  They might not have a lot of clear negative beliefs that they can articulate because the dissociated mind isn’t thinking.  Whether they can articulate them or not, their negative beliefs are about how they are bad, unsafe, and will always be left.  A parent who is physically present isn’t enough.  What about the parent who was too depressed, too checked-out, or too high on drugs? A child left without adult face-to-face interaction experiences adults as always leaving them.  They may go back and forth between the fear that they will be left again AND just giving up, hoping to be left again because they are sure it’s inevitable anyway.

How did your child’s trauma impact THEM?

Notice your child’s negative beliefs about themselves.  Notice their triggers.  Make a list.  Compare this to what you know about their trauma.  And remember to include traumas that might not seem like traumas to you.  Witnessing domestic violence (or hearing it in another room) is just as damaging- and maybe more so- than experiencing violence.  Not getting enough eye contact or presence from a parent- even one who was physically present.  Even coming to your family was a trauma.  It’s easy to overlook this because it was a joyful occasion for you, and your child might even have seemed happy.  But when they came to your family, they lost something- even if that something wasn’t very good.  And their brain had to be on high-alert until it figured out that you were OK.  Because their brain didn’t know you were OK.  Most adults weren’t.  You had to prove that you are.

It might be frustrating that I’m not telling you how to fix this.  Remember!  This is just step two!!!

And this four-step cycle isn’t necessarily about healing your child’s trauma- though it is a non-negotiable piece of it.  When you develop these super-powers, you enable yourself to stay more present and regulated in the face of your child’s dysregulation.  Meeting dysregulation with regulation is crucial.  Is it enough?  Not always.  Is it necessary?  Yes.

In the next two weeks I’ll tackle step 3 (understanding how you participate in the trauma tornado) and step 4 (heal thyself).

I’m also plotting out an online parenting course that will give us the opportunity to really dive into these four steps.

There.  I said it.  It’s no longer just an idea, one I can choose to abandon.  I’ve put the idea out to you, and will hold myself to it!  I’m imagining a multi-week course- possibly starting in the spring- focused on these four steps and helping you put them into action.  What do you think?  ONLINE!!!  So anyone anywhere can access it! Interested?  If so, be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you can stay up-to-date on my online offerings.

Sending you peace.  You’ve got this.

~

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Like what you read here?  To get even more support, click here to sign up for my monthly (or less) newsletter!

Don’t want to miss my next article?  Don’t forget to follow my blog!

Robyn Gobbel, LCSW is a child and family therapist in Austin, Texas specializing in adoption, trauma, and attachment counseling. She is the founder of the Central Texas Attachment & Trauma Center.

Attachment Trauma Changes the Brain

January 23, 2017

A couple weeks ago, I revisited my observation about the amazing talents that adoptive parents have honed over the years of parenting a child with complex trauma.  These talents seem pretty universal among parents who are working to help their child heal from complex trauma, and honestly, they are pretty impressive.  So much so that I decided I think they are actually super-powers 🙂

attachment-trauma-changes-the-brain

A quick recap of these impressive super-powers that adoptive parents don’t intend to develop, but do so nonetheless.

  1. Understanding the neurobiological impact of trauma on the brain.
  2. Understanding how your child’s specific trauma impacted their specific brain.
  3. Understanding how you participate in the trauma tornado (what are your triggers?).
  4. Trauma Mama (and dads…), Heal Thyself. Do the work.  Face those triggers and heal.

How DOES trauma impact the brain??

I want to introduce you to a groundbreaking article written by the brilliant clinicians over at The Trauma Center, Justice Resource Institute, in Boston.  The Trauma Center is THE place researching and getting their research out to clinicians and the public.  WAAAAAY back in 2005, they published “Complex Trauma in Children and Adolescents,” kicking off a new era in how we treat children who have experienced early attachment trauma and loss.  The full text is about 40 pages, but you can click HERE to read the shorter, nine-page summary.

The Trauma Center identifies SEVEN domains of impairment in children with complex trauma.  SEVEN.  Did you learn that in your adoptive parent training?  That your child’s experiences prior to adoption would impact their entire system?  Most parents I work with were pretty blindsided by this when their child came into their family.

7 Domains of Impairment

  1. Attachment
  2. Biology (medical problems, sensory integration, neurotransmitter imbalance, brain development)
  3. Affect (Emotion) Regulation
  4. Dissociation (including traumatic memory disintegration)
  5. Behavioral Control
  6. Cognition
  7. Self-Concept

Why does this matter?

Why do I think it’s helpful…maybe actually necessary…for parents of children with complex trauma to understand how trauma has impacted the brain and nervous system?  Well for one, if we understand what the problem is, we are more likely to be successful at fixing it.  If my car doesn’t turn on, do I need gas?  A new battery?  A new transmission?  I want to figure that out, or there could be a whole lot of (expensive) trial and error.

But also, with understanding comes compassion.  If our brain can figure it out, we can let go of some of the fear and bring in compassion.  Understanding is NOT excusing.  Understanding WHY our children are struggling doesn’t mean we excuse the behavior.  Understanding the why helps us know what to do to actually promote HEALING instead of just behavior management.

Here are a few of my previous articles that will help you understand just a bit more about how trauma has impacted your child’s nervous system:

Trauma Doesn’t Tell Time   

What’s Regulation Got To Do With It?

Trauma Is Contagious

When the Cycle is Broken

The Tragedy of Disorganized Attachment

 Attachment & the Impact of Developmental Trauma

Why Good Times can Suddenly Turn Bad

 

Keep on keepin’ on, moms and dads.  You’re doing amazing.

~

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Like what you read here?  To get even more support, click here to sign up for my monthly (or less) newsletter!

Robyn Gobbel, LCSW is a child and family therapist in Austin, Texas specializing in adoption, trauma, and attachment counseling. She is the founder of the Central Texas Attachment & Trauma Center.

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