Here is the abstract for a paper that will be published over the next few months. A copy of the full text is available if you e-mail me at <email@example.com>
Healing Transgenerational Cascades of Distress in Disadvantaged Indigenous Communities; Challenges, Opportunities, and a Case Study.
Leon Petchkovsky 1 , Rachel Johns 2
1 Associate Professor Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia, 2 Mental Health Worker, Community Mental Health Services, Lismore, NSW, Australia
ABSTRACT: Aboriginal Australians especially in disadvantaged communities suffer disproportionately; with reduced life expectancy, high suicide, violence, and imprisonment rates, and a range of illnesses (Metabolic Syndrome) associated with Hypophyseal Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) Axis damage resulting from high maternal and infantile stress. Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders, Conduct Disorders and Learning Disorders are prevalent in the child population.
A substantive developmental neuro-psycho-biology research literature points to the centrality of early nurturance processes in facilitating the development of physical and psychological health and resilience.
The larger Australian community has failed to provide adequate repair despite interventionist programs deployed over many years. The authors argue that this rests in part on a lack of mindfulness (awareness of one’s own processes) and empathy (tuning into others), at every level: cultural, political, organisational, and individual.
Dan Siegel’s neuro-developmental insights into individual and organisational function are used to explore these concerns, and identify early (peri-natal) supportive intervention (nurturing the nurturers) as the most central strategy of repair.
But damaged nurturers are very sensitive. Attempts to nurture them can be counterproductive if political programmes, organisational cultures, and individual case workers themselves have not developed sufficient mindfulness and empathy to address these sensitivities. Recent advances in developmental neuroscience help fine-tune this process. Guidelines are offered, with an illustrative Case Study.
KEYWORDS: nurturance, attachment, disadvantaged, developmental neuroscience.