56 [Healing Series] Foster Care and Complex Trauma with Jeanette Yoffe, MFT

Jeanette Yoffe, MFT addresses the psychological and emotional impacts of growing up in foster care, including multiple placements and the layers these can add to adoption trauma. She helps us understand complex trauma and gives us a variety of practical healing exercises. This episode is educational and full of tools you can start implementing today to move forward on your healing journey.

Show Notes

Topics We Discussed

  • Jeanette shares a brief look into her personal story and experience with foster care
  • We get to hear about the moment that encouraged Jeanette to pursue a career working with foster and adopted children
  • Jeanette addresses what are the psychological and emotional impacts of growing up in foster care
  • Jeanette defines “complex trauma”, implicit vs. explicit memories
  • Foster-adoptees tend to self-blame; they cannot separate themselves from their experience
  • Multiple transitions means multiple relationships and attachment trauma
  • Jeanette does a lot of Attachment-Focused therapy
  • Hyper-vigilance for the 7 non-verbal cues: eyesight, facial characteristics, tone of voice, posture, gestures, timing and intensity of response
  • Learned helplessness and powerlessness “I couldn’t even help my family, how could I help myself?”
  • Ambiguous loss
  • Creating a question box
  • “We are having a normal response to an abnormal event”
  • In adulthood these unresolved issues will show up as a lack of confidence, fear of risk-taking, sensitivity in ourselves, difficulty developing attachments and trusting others
  • Develop a daily practice to honour our experience. “We don’t have to, we get to heal”
  • Protective mode vs growth mode
  • Coming Home to Self by Nancy Verrier
  • What happens when you first address your primal wound, and how it decreases in intensity, frequency and duration
  • Jeanette defines shame vs guilt
  • Sandwich metaphor: I love you, here’s the feedback, and I love you; emphasis on the behaviour only. “You’re a good person, the mistake is a mistake, you’re learning, I love you.”
  • Hawaiian prayer ho'oponopono: “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you”
  • The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
  • “We get to meet these needs and reparent ourselves today”
  • PACE Yourself:
    • be Playful, lessen the harshness we have on ourselves; laugh at ourselves
    • be Accepting of ourself; we are doing the best we can
    • be Curious about what you’re feeling in your body (trauma is stored in the mind and body and can be soothed through the body); be a body detective
    • have Empathy for ourselves
  • Healing and change - is like changing the direction of a whirlpool. The more we do it, and push through, we can have a new found sense of healing and relief.
  • Be the archaeologist of your primal wound
  • Grounding exercise - cord from your belly button to the centre of the planet
  • Sign language for adoption is two hands pulling, as though uprooting a plant

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