Cutting Edge Psychology

Childhood trauma

Posted on March 25, 2015 at 12:20 AM

We live in a culture which is in a state of denial about the endemic nature of trauma. Instead, we have had decades of marketing branches of big pharma telling us that emotional problems are the result of aberrant brain chemicals (which obviously require their drugs to 'balance'). Why is our culture so reluctant to acknowledge trauma? Part of must be to do with the remnants of British Victorian era stoicism (which probably resulted from upper class kids being brutalised and sent off the boarding schools at young ages- these kids ended up running society and setting the overall tone of what is 'normal'). And highly relevant to the centenary of WW1, it became apparent during the war that most men were adversely affected by mass murder in the trenches. Initially, the military and government were curious about "shell shock", however, as the numbers of victims reached into the millions, governments/military decided to shut down the discussion, fearing the risk of a massive compensation bill. They turned their backs on the psychological victims of industrialised warfare- and as a culture, we were meant to deny and suppress trauma as well. This changed in the aftermath of the Vietnam war, which coincided with larges scale social changes such as the counter-culture movement, and the womens movement- we became more open to other people's suffering, and the extent of suffering in the Vietnam vet population was undeniable (it is a fact that more American vets suicided after the Vietnam war than were killed there). As such, the study of trauma began relatively recently. Emotional/psychological/psychiatric problems do not result from aberrant brain chemicals, or dodgy genes. These are myths that have been popularised by the marketers of big pharma purely for money. People suffer from bad treatment, especially when inflicted during childhood. We want a sane world? look after the kids.

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