In my work in Divorce and Custody Law, I have been involved, as well, with a number of Abuse and Neglect cases in Juvenile Court. Some of these cases arise out of an initial divorce filing, and a finding is made that there is active abuse or neglect occurring within a family environment. My law school alma mater, the University of San Diego, conducted a study that examined the efficacy of law intended to protect abused and neglected children.
From the study:
” Laws intended to protect children from abuse and neglect are not being properly enforced, and the federal government is to blame. That’s according to a study by the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law, which says children are suffering as a result.
The numbers are grim. Almost 680,000 children in the United States were the victims of abuse and neglect in 2013. ”
In my practice, identifying and remedying abuse or neglect situations is a first priority. I also feel it is important to be a resource for treating clinicians that can help families and children recover from abuse, as well as adapt to a changed family structure as a result of divorce, or abuse. Modern science now understands that a history of childhood abuse is not a neurological or psychological “sentence.” The brain has an amazing plasticity, meaning that it can be trained to respond in more healthy patterns even when a patient presents with PTSD, anxiety and/or depression.
Bessel van der Kolk MD has written anew book that addresses this issue, and illustrates new body based protocols to address PTSD. Dr. van der Kolk shows how these stress damaged brain areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including neurofeedback, mindfulness techniques, play, yoga, and other therapies. Based on Dr. van der Kolk’s own research and that of other leading specialists, The Body Keeps the Score offers proven alternatives to drugs and talk therapy-and a way to reclaim lives:
” It’s about becoming safe to feel what you feel. When you’re traumatized you’re afraid of what you’re feeling, because your feeling is always terror, or fear or helplessness. I think these body-based techniques help you to feel what’s happening in your body, and to breathe into it and not run away from it. So you learn to befriend your experience.”