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Does childhood trauma affect your adult life? Healing the wounds of childhood (BOOK REVIEW)

A book that can help heal old wounds

Don St. John, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist, somatic-relational teacher, and a retired Hellerwork Structural Integration Practitioner and Trainer. He is the author of the award winning book “Healing the Wounds of Childhood: A psychologist’s journey and discoveries from wretched beginnings to a thriving life” – a very helpful and autobiographic material, combined with:

  • physiology
  • psychology
  • science
  • somatics
  • spirituality

Continue reading our review of “Healing the Wounds of Childhood” to learn more about Don’s life story and the importance of integrating the body (somatic therapies) when healing from childhood trauma. At the end, we invite you to post questions or share your feedback regarding this book.

Childhood trauma experiences begin early!

Our negative experiences (as well as positive ones) shape our mind, world-view, emotional expression, and our life as adults. But, it doesn’t begin in childhood! Our time in the womb and the birth experience can also affect us.

When we are born, as children we all have a need for someone who is caring and present, who will provide secure emotional relationships, someone we can bond with. Our early bonding experiences affect our relationship capacities further in life.

What will you learn from “Healing the Wounds of Childhood”?

1. You will learn more about how YOU CAN RESOLVE trauma.

Don had all odds against him as his story begins as an unwanted pregnancy, with a near-death experience at birth. Don’s traumas continued from infancy all the way through adolescence when he endured severe emotional and physical abuse. And the beauty of this book is that you can learn through his process. He introduces us to the concepts related to trauma and offers PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS and SPIRITUAL PRACTICES to resolve them.

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2. You will learn more about basic human needs.

At first, you will get familiarized with a universal human need to be:

  • engaged in life
  • healthy
  • known
  • loved
  • seen
  • validated

Most of all, we all wish to form committed relationships and stay closely connected with our partners. However, we never want to lose our sense of autonomy, and want our choices and interests to be respected.

3. You will learn how trauma affects the body.

Then, a great moment of epiphany: The wounds, stress and trauma do not only affect our mental and emotional health, but also influence our whole body structure. Every cell, tissue, and organ system is changed by such life experiences. That’s why it is important to address all parts of You when trying to heal. In fact, our body, mind, beliefs, and our relationship capacities are closely related.

4. You will learn about how trauma affects the brain.

The author then brings us closer to the way the brain, the nervous system, and the ‘heart brain’ work. He uses the term ’emotional nutrients’ and explains how not receiving those emotional nutrients can influence our development and make us incapable of building healthy coping mechanisms for stress.

Professional treatment and processes

After the childhood reflections and educational information that help you understand trauma and what it does, Don offers a set of different disciplines and treatments that have made a huge impact in his healing journey. More specifically, he integrates personal experiences and benefits from the following therapies:

1. Reichigan therapy of Wilheim Reich
2. Structural Integration of Ida Rolf
3. Continuum Movement therapy of Emilie Conrad
4. Somatic Therapy of philosopher Thomas Hanna
5. Somatic Experiencing (SE) of Dr. Peter Levine
6. Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy of Diana Fosha
7. Heart Consciousness of Brugh Joy

Most importantly, the author states that we always bear the potential in our lives for positive change and growth. After all, with our resilience and adaptability, we are capable of healing our wounds and continuing forward without any blockades.

3 main lessons of “Healing the Wounds of Childhood”

1. Gestation, birth, and bonding experiences in childhood and later in life influence how the brain, image of self, world-view, and our relationships are formed.

2. In order to heal from childhood trauma, we need to address every aspect of our being, including our mind, emotions and body.

3. It is never too late to heal, reach your full capacities and have a thriving life, regardless of your age and life experiences.

Why do we recommend it?

“Healing the Wounds of Childhood” is a helpful, hopeful reading that bestows motivation and hope in people who want to heal from childhood wounds and let love in. It’s a must read for anyone who wants to become whole, become a more coherent being and is on a journey of self discovery.

Don’s childhood story is full of suffering, which lead him to shut down and become emotionally numb. However, not only people with extremely traumatic childhood events have suffered of wounding. In fact, there are many experiences in life that we often tend to overlook, which later block our ability to be open to all emotions and let love in.

How can you act autonomously and freely, or engage in meaningful and close relationships if they have been wounded by traumatic events? Follow the author’s lead.

Do you have any questions?

If you would like to learn more about Don St John’s life story and treatment disciplines, you can get his book and read it. We also encourage you to post your questions in the section below and we’ll try to answer in a personal and prompt manner. If we do not know the answer to your inquiry, we’ll be happy to refer you to someone who can help.

Leave a Reply

2 Responses to “Does childhood trauma affect your adult life? Healing the wounds of childhood (BOOK REVIEW)
Sonia
7:25 am October 3rd, 2017

Sounds like a great book. I am wondering why one person in a family goes thru childhood trauma (sex abuse) by a molester, grows up and does well is successful at work and raising a family, yet another child trauma survivor with multiple sex abuse molesters grows up with mental illness,.multiple medications, hospitalizations, raises no children is on disability and cant work also having physical ailments like fybro myalgia and thyroid disease. Is the adult who survived child trauma by one molester more successful because their mind is stronger, and because their father was a loving happy positive joke-telling man and because they werent raised in a strict guilt/fear causing religion, whereas the other adult survivor of child trauma by many different molesters was raised by a strict critical perfectionist father who beat them when young called them names falsely accused them of things, and the adult survivor raised in a very strict guilt/fear based religion, then eloping with an extremely abusive man, survivor having mental illness and physical ailments? My question is why does one child trauma survivor succeed in their adult life but another child trauma survivor struggle emotionally mentally and physically as an adult?
Thank you

12:54 pm October 4th, 2017

Hi Sonia. Thank you for your excellent question.

Experts believe that genes carry up to 50% of the risk for addiction. Similarly, there are other factors that influence a person’s likelihood of ‘succeeding’ in life after experiencing any form of trauma in their childhood, and especially in early childhood. The same factors also influence a person’s risk of developing addictive behaviors. In addition to genetics, these factors are typically environmental or personal and may include the cultural and social environment where you lived and grew up, whether your parents or close relatives have a drug abuse history, the family unit dynamic, having a grown up role model, your peer group, whether you are suffering from mental health disorders or not.

The answer really is never straightforward and depends upon many variables. It is also very important whether a person got the needed psycho-social support from therapists and other well-meaning people in their life. Therapy can make a big difference for anyone who has went through any kind of a traumatic event in life.

About Ivana @ Addiction Blog

Ivana helps moderate Addiction Blog by providing helpful comments and suggestions to our readers. She is also an optimist and a dreamer. Ivana is inspired by books, travels, conversations and people and we are so grateful to have her on our team.

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