By Dr Bruce Perry, adapted from the Foreword to his book, Life Story Therapy with Traumatized Children, by Richard Rose.
A fundamental and permeating strength of humankind is the capacity to form and maintain relationships – the capacity to belong. It is in the context of our clan, community and culture that we are born and raised. The brain-mediated set of complex capacities that allow one human to connect to another form the very basis for survival and has led to the ‘success’ of our species on this planet. Without others or without belonging, no individual could survive or thrive. This need is so biologically powerful that when an infant is given signals from his caregivers that he is ‘not wanted’ and does not belong, the brain’s neural networks will activate a ‘shut down’ response and induce a ‘failure to thrive.’