Mission statment

The mission  of  The Early Trauma  Institute  is to increase public awareness about infant and childhood trauma, its  effect on development,  and  the  implication of  this for society.  We   are  dedicated to continually reviewing  the research being  done in this  area,  providing  education to the public and treatment professionals,  and offering  support to those who have suffered  such trauma.  We believe that it is only by healing root causes that an individual can ever be made whole.


After working in the mental health field for over twenty years, I made the decision to focus on my work to uncover and understand the circumstances of my early life.. My father, Norman Holweger, was suffering extreme shell-shock from WWII. Although he was too ill to care for himself, I was left with him every day while my mother worked as a waitress. When I was thirteen-months-old,  I watched him die on the floor in front of my crib in a  pool  of blood.  I now have founded   The  Early Trauma  Institute, and published this book,   Healing the Wound That Won't Heal: the Reality of Trauma. 

I  am  now also working on understanding  my mother's cognitive limitations,  which  resulted in substantial  emotional and psychological neglect for myself and my sister. My mom, Dora, only weighed a little over two-pounds when she was born at home in 1930 in Kentucky.  A few years before she died,  I  began  researching how her brain  might not have developed fully.  I  believe  the  corpus collosum of her  brain was partially,   or completely, missing  (agenesis.).  This  is the bundle  of  fibers that connects the right and left  hemispheres of the brain.  In  the movie "Rain Man"  Kim  Peek  was portrayed   as being autistic.  In  the  1970's  an  MRI was taken  of his brain and it was discovered  that he was missing   the  corpus collosum.  In  the following photograph of Dora, she is displaying two of the traits of an undeveloped corpus collosum: she seems unaware that she should be looking towards the camera, and her left foot is turned inward. 




The girl not looking at the camera. .

alice miller:

Experience has taught us that we have only one enduring weapon in our struggle against mental illness: the emotional discovery and emotional acceptance of the truth in the individual and unique history of our childhood. 

Bruno Bettelheim:

What cannot be talked about cannot be put to rest. And if it is not, the wounds will fester from generation to generation. 

Sigmund Freud:

I believe we accept too indifferently the fact of infantile amnesia, that is, the failure of memory for the first years of our lives, and fail to find in it a strange riddle. 


There is now widespread agreement that the brain is a self-organizing system, but there is perhaps less of an appreciation of the fact that the self-organization of the developing brain occurs in the context of a relationship with another self, another brain. This other self, the primary caregiver, acts as an external psychobiological regulator  of the "experience-dependent" growth of the infant's nervous system, whose components are rapidly organizing, disorganizing, reorganizing in the brain growth spurt of the first two years of life.  


Reading the neuroscientists was like hearing a beautiful melody played on a violin, straight to my heart and mind, after a lifetime of discordant notes and chaotic noise. Simply by reading the theorists and then writing the papers, my brain began to configure itself in a new and more whole way. They validated for me that I am not crazy and wrong. The trauma I shared with my father has everything to do with the woman I became. 


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