Individual Counseling To Heal From Childhood Emotional Neglect

Individual counseling is the best way to identify and treat the lasting effects of childhood emotional neglect.

Individual counseling is the best way to identify and treat the lasting effects of childhood emotional neglect. Childhood emotional neglect is when a primary caregiver consistently fails to provide the emotional interactions a child needs for healthy brain development. 

The brain develops to 80% of its adult volume in the first three years of life. During childhood most of the systems and structures that will determine all future emotional, behavioral, social, and physiological functioning are built. These structures are formed by experiences of nurturing, connection, and coping provided by caregivers. If those emotional interactions are absent or inadequate in these years, the brain does not form the optimally to maintain secure relationships.

It is important to recognize that emotional neglect is different from abuse. It isn’t something a caregiver does to a child, but rather what they fail to do. It frequently results from the caregiver(s) themselves dealing with heavy emotional struggles, stress, or trauma. Beyond that it is largely an issue of education, as most parents don’t even realize when they are neglecting their children, much less how it can affect them for the rest of their lives.

The Lasting Effects Of Neglect

People who experienced childhood emotional neglect often struggle with relationships throughout their lives. Kids learn how to manage their emotions through relationships with primary caregivers, so impaired bonding results in other common issues like dissociation and emotional reactivity.

Effects of childhood emotional neglect that last into adulthood may include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Struggles regulating emotions
  • Inability to request or accept help or support from others
  • Greater sensitivity to rejection
  • Dissociative tendencies
  • Inability to describe feelings
  • Shame or guilt around experiencing emotions
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships
  • Relationships that are distant or disconnected
  • Distrust of others
  • Persistent feelings of loneliness, guilt, or shame
  • Inability to deal with emotions of self or others
  • Sabotaging relationships or opportunities in order to avoid rejection
  • Heightened risk of anxiety disorders and depressive disorders

How Individual Counseling Can Help

Childhood emotional neglect results in difficulty understanding emotions and relationships, so healing from it must include actions like developing emotional intelligence, learning appropriate coping skills, and building and maintaining healthy relationships. These are all skills that can be learned in individual counseling with a therapist experienced with attachment, trauma, and neglect.

Healing from childhood emotional neglect takes time and work in therapy with a trained mental health professional. For a person to heal, a good therapeutic alliance built on trust and mutual respect is crucial. Knowing that their counselor is safe and will not abandon them is one of the most basic needs for someone who has suffered childhood neglect.

For more information about individual counseling in Johnson County, KS, call Take Charge, Inc. at (913) 239-8255. To schedule an appointment, click here.

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