Is that right? You mean traumas during early childhood determine how our genetic legacy turns out. Did I say that? Are they saying it too? Then we agree and we have the clinical experience and research results to confirm it.
The researchers found that children who had been badly treated had more of the “Marks” or “Traces” of methylation on the genes, meaning trauma, that dictates health and sociability later in life. This methylation, as I have written many times, is one key biochemical mechanism that cells use to control how genes are expressed or not expressed.
And that means how we evolve, how we behave, how and when we get sick. How our lives turn out, in short. I have seen it clinically for over fifty years and now independent sources are supporting what we know clinically, not only do we not grow out of childhood trauma, nor do we forget it and leave it behind, but that traces are embedded for a lifetime in our brain system and physiology. To get well we must deal with the methylated imprint. There is no more discussion of this point. We have treated thousands of patients over the decades and observe it constantly. Nurture does change nature, and seems very important in our evolution.
The difference we have now is that scientists can measure the degree or severity of the imprint. And we are beginning to account for how much pain drives us and how much does experience account for all this; that is, how much experience changes the biology of our genes. We know this from many studies, not the least of which is found in recent autopsies of depressives whose feeling brains were heavily methylated. (M.S. Korgaonkar, et al. “Early exposure to traumatic stressors impairs emotional brain circuitry. “ Plos One Sept 13, 2013, see http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0075524) With trauma they have found a less developed feeling brain, including the amygdala. It turns out that a great deal of the feeling brain is affected. And science is beginning to see the origins of Alzheimers disease associated with increased methylation.
So when kids are having trouble in school or have constant anxiety or attention problems we need to look deep in the brain and deeper into their early experience. When there are constant allergies, are they correlated with methylation and how much? In other words, we need to stop intellectualizing and search into our history and early history. What I have been reiterating for decades is that the seeds of later heart disease, breathing function, blood pressure, epilepsy and migraines can have origins even while we live in the womb. And soon we will be able to measure the lessening of methylation and the undoing of repression. Imagine that; a means to measure neurosis and its eradication. Wonderful. believe it is no longer possible to ignore all this and pretend to do proper psychotherapy. It means that end of doling out pills to suppress the pain, but on the contrary, to allow its expression and stop hiding it. It means final liberation: pointing to a number and saying, “ you are this much less neurotic now. You are this much less likely to be addicted again or have high blood pressure again. Wow.