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. https://www.amazon.com/Healing-Wound-That-Wont-Heal/dp/1523601442
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. .
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.
What cannot be talked about cannot be put to rest. And if it is not, the wounds will fester from generation to generation.
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.