“Don’t Try This at Home” by Kathy Brous

Mom Smile BabyMy Book: “Don’t Try This at Home”
Silent Epidemic of Attachment Disorder
Forward: The Day Einstein Feared
Chapter 1: Death and Taxes
Chapter 2: No Tears for Dad
Chapter 3: Thanksgiving in Cambodia

Traumatized little boy
Featured Topics: *Neurofeedback Works
How to Hire a Therapist
Adult Attachment Disorder, AAI Interview
Find an Attachment-based Psychotherapist
Developmental Trauma
Grief Recovery Handbook & Method
Healing with Body Work…and more…

Dan Siegel Podium w. BrainLatest Blog: *Healing Tools  EMDR  Tapping
Apr-May 2015 Brain Healing Webinars
Oct-Nov 2014 Trauma Webinars
Stephen Porges: Polyvagal Theory, Pts 1-3
“General Theory” : How Mammal Brains Work
Bruce Perry: How Your Brain Works 101
Allan Schore: What is the “Self”?

We highly recommend:

Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health CareCloud-Townsend ResourcesThe National CouncilAces Connection

From Kathy

Kathy Brous


That’s me above right in third grade, with a bad case of attachment disorder– and me today.  I didn’t know attachment disorder even existed until a few years ago — when it finally brought me to my knees.  This is my story of recovery and hope.  I’ll share the milestones on my journey, and the people, research, and programs that have saved my life.

A little Brain science

Brain DarkIs this a problem with your brain?  It was with mine, but Whu Nu? (He was first Prime Minister of Burma.)  I laugh now, but  parts of my brain were literally dark, and it hurt. These are three-year-olds’ brains:  Left: Normal;
Right: Attachment Disorder

Comments are encouraged with the usual exceptions; rants, political speeches, off-color language, etc. are unlikely to post.  Starting 8-22-16, software will limit comments to 1030 characters (2 long paragraphs) a while, until we get new software to take longer comments again.


Click for key update: Neurofeedback Works – Van der Kolk. Trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk, MD posted a webinar 8-9-16 which changes the map. He says Sebern Fisher introduced him to neurofeedback. “She showed me drawings that traumatized kids did (stick figures), how they developed after 20 weeks of neurofeedback (real people), after 40 weeks (an attached group). I was blown away,” he says. “Nothing I know of can do that.”

See The Girl Behind The Door: A Father’s Journey Into the Mysteries of Attachment, by the adoptive father of Casey, a Polish orphan with severe Attachment Disorder. Brace for heart break as you scroll down to a video of baby Casey in the orphanage. This is what the physical pain of attachment failure looks like.  So if we have severe emotional pain as teens or adults, we can stop condemning ourselves, stop stuffing it, and go seek healing.  Reality is, we human organisms are easily damaged before age three.

In the wake of his son Matthew’s suicide, Pastor Rick Warren, head of Saddleback Church,  said in a statement: “America’s mental health system is irreparably broken.” The system, he said, “failed Matthew with misdiagnosis and wrong treatments his entire life….”    See the July 26 post here.

#attachmentdisorder #donttrythisathome #KathyBrous

Brain scan source: Perry, BD and Pollard, D., “Altered brain development following global neglect in early childhood,” Society For Neuroscience: Proceedings from Annual Meeting,New Orleans, 1997  at https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/earlybrain.pdf   See also Footnote 5 here: Silent Epidemic of Attachment Disorder

64,457 total views, 30 views today

Share Button

55 responses to ““Don’t Try This at Home” by Kathy Brous

  1. I am curious about the photos that show black spots in the brain. If you can recover after these spots have formed, does that mean the black spots somehow heal?

  2. If there are no trauma Therapists available, then do you have any techniques for self healing. Like, crying sessions, feeling the feelings, diary writing, being in the company of positive people, etc?

  3. Where can I buy your book “Don’t try this at Home”?

    • My book will be out later this year. I’m delighted by the huge response to my website, and lots of meetings I’m addressing on trauma, but it takes so much time. Good news is, much of my “bottom line” of my book, is already here on my site. *For how I healed and most of my story, please see my reply to Vidar here: http://attachmentdisorderhealing.com/about/how-to/#comment-536

      • I read some of your stuff and thought wow. I have an awesome therapist who knows about attachment and is working with me. We check in every day via text outside of session and I can text him as much as I need to. Sometimes when we check in, I want to push him away and punch him (not really as I would never do that). It’s like come here, go away from me. Did you experience a lot of checking in too with your therapist and did you feel like this too?

  4. Dear Kathy, hello everybody, I wanted to give you a little update: Today I had my third trauma therapy session, I am very lucky to have found a very empathetic and kind woman trauma therapist, who is specialized in SE and Focusing and has experience with attachment trauma. Also today I had my fifth Neurofeedback session and I have to say, that my panic attacks decreased and there is more reactivity when a bad feeling appears. I started painting to soothe my soul and I started playing guitar again (I quit after the man, who has triggered my trauma 3,5 months ago, said that the songs I play are terrible, those were sad love songs….). I redecorated and painted my kitchen to override the bad memories I had in there (the man insulted me there very badly…). Also I have applied for cost participation at my health insurance for a clinical trauma treatment and wait now for the answer. The trauma specialized hospital has already given its okay to my treatment there. I hope it’ll work out, could need it…Big hugs,…

  5. I stumbled over your website and I am close to tears reading your story and all the great resources you provide. I (female, 38) just, after an ugly encounter with a man, found out that I also have this disorder. I was close to giving up on my life and still struggle hugely because I’m quite alone and see no light at the end of the tunnel. Your website brought back hope. Please publish your book. Thank you so much for everything. Yours, Ruth (from Germany)

    • Please trust me, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Please try to find a good attachment-based therapist. Here are links, put in your German post code: http://attachmentdisorderhealing.com/resources/attachment-therapists-directory/ Also study Healing Tools: http://attachmentdisorderhealing.com/resources/tools/
      & somatic healing: http://attachmentdisorderhealing.com/featured-topics/healing-body-work/
      Here is a great song about the light in the tunnel…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7V5t9ECZXo

      • Thank you so much.The whole day I read on your website, listened twice to your podcast and just devour every piece of your experience and knowledge. It’s so soothing especially because it’s difficult to share the suffering of having an attachment disorder/trauma. I’m looking so forward to further of your publications, especially your book…
        The most bitter aspect for me is the hopelessness of having my own family, will it take years to recover more or less from the trauma. This breaks my heart. There is such an amount of sadness, loneliness, emptiness and hopelessness, that I cannot believe that I can be happy one day… Life always seemed empty inside me, I never feel connected to anything I did and experienced, as if there was a hole in my soul, an emptiness of utter darkness. Any advice?

    • You are absolutely right, I need help… I’m arranging to go the trauma hospital next week. I don’t REALLY want to die, I want to live and be happy. But these trauma feelings – desertion, unloved, hopelessness – are so insufferable, I want to get them away no matter what.They are so bad sometimes, I think only of ending these feelings. I never met anybodywho experienced similar feelings. Most think I am sick or narcissistic. This adds up to the already felt loneliness. But after my breakdown this morning, I forced myself to visit a neurofeedback practitioner (she knows Bessel van der Kolk personally). Next tuesday my therapy begins. I have a session every day until I go to the trauma hospital. Also I organized meetings Monday and Wednesday with kind trauma therapist lady who uses somatic experiencing and focusing (Eugene Gendlin). I made a busy schedule until the hospital, so I don’t have bad thoughts so much. Did you also experience the bad feelings I wrote about?

      • Bessel van der Kolk & Eugene Gendlin, the best! I’m so glad you found compassionate ladies who know trauma.
        Please be nice to my friend Ruth! Suicide is silly–it’s a permanent answer to a temporary problem.
        If you feel like self harm, or almost that bad, even on weekends you can find a local Al Anon or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting, or a meeting to stop smoking. Go immediately to be with other people who understand trauma. Go today. These groups meet 7 days in every country. You can find one today. “Go to 90 meetings in 90 days” to form new brain paths that we’re not alone.
        Of course I experienced your same feelings. Millions, maybe a billion people all over the world, experience the same feelings. Please “normalize” it, know that your feelings are normal, with the life experience you and I had. I think at least 10% of human beings have these feelings! People in OECD countries are consumed with money and achieving at work, school etc, therefore they must “look good” and so they are afraid to talk about these feelings.
        But in cultures with shamans like Native Americans, or some parts of Africa, India & Indonesia, people see native healers to cry out their feelings like you and I felt–to be understood, fully heard, and feel safe with another human being. They know to do this to release the feelings. Feelings must be felt to be released, or they freeze inside us, causing diseses.

  6. I’m still taking my neurofeedback sessions twice a week and probably will for awhile, but I’m already noticing a lower level of muscle tension which I believe is quite a good thing, and like your sources have indicated that tension could very well be that a lower level of cortisol is being demanded by a more relaxed amygdala. This gets me to wondering why to my knowledge a test for my current level of serum cortisol was never requested by my shrink (he did request a blood panel at one point, but he never said anything about cortisol). It seems like the only reason an MD ever tests for this is to see if there’s a sign of Addison’s disease (too low) or Cushing’s syndrome (too high). Now maybe by itself it wouldn’t indicate much of anything about one’s mental state but in the presence of another indicator (like maybe a high score on the alexithymia test) it could indicate a need to, say, at least evaluate that patient’s EEG rhythms. What do you think the therapy community would say about this?

  7. I would like the book, Don’t try… Can I order it from you? Barnes and Noble did not have it listed.

  8. Hi, Kathy. I’ve read your site off and on for over a year now. I’ve had an addiction since I was 4 years old or so. I’m 34 now. I gave up the addiction last year. I’ve been doing Somatic Experiencing since May and it has helped immensely. But now I have a Neurofeedback session next Friday. I’m excited and scared too. I literally live dissociated. Always have. Just didn’t know it. I have three children and one on the way, yet I’m terrified of my children. I pray that these sessions help with the dissociation and fear centers in my brain while the somatic experiencing helps discharge the bodily trauma. God bless you, Kathy

  9. Hi Kathy. I’ve known your blog for quite some time. I’m still just so confused…I don’t have a specific event which caused all hell for me. But I do know that I respond so violently anxious whenever I come across anything that speaks of a developmental impairment to create a human bond.
    I don’t know if it’s my mind that freaks out and makes it up or if it’s actually something deep down that resonates. Either way…I don’t know where to start looking. Talk therapy gets the surface level but I still feel this enormous anxiety that makes me feel like a fish out of the ocean unable to cope when I come across things like your EMDR blog… Would EMDR be a good place to start? It’s just so overwhelming I don’t know where to start!

    • I’m so sorry for your hurt; I had that deep anxiety for years, still have some. I feel bad because yes, my EMDR blog could trigger folks like you and me just by mentioning survival fear, processing trauma, and flashbacks. Also the pressure to do something when we don’t know what to do is awful. Honestly I’m sorry. I am so NOT a therapist. All I can do is tell my experience: Yes for me, too, I had no specific traumatic events, but when I first read of stress chemicals in the womb, infant developmental trauma and trouble with bonding, my body responded with fear. For me, the worst trauma began when the sperm hit the egg until I was 4, ‘cos I was locked up alone all that time. I had no words or thoughts before age 3. So when my thinking brain came on line later, it couldn’t remember any specific events. The only way I discovered what happened was reading about infant trauma and noticing my fear and anxiety resonating, like you. That does not prove you are like me, but it’s possible. Only an attachment-based therapist and infant trauma expert can verify; that’s why I got one 5 years ago. Plus I added neurofeedback, not EMDR, ‘cos neurofeedback calms the deepest infant brain oscillations where words don’t go. I listened to Sebern Fisher interviews on neurofeedback and it just felt right. My neurofeedback man takes insurance; copay $35. If we have those two pros to help us see what we actually suffered, we feel validated and cared for, and we learn to bond. That’s how I got the anxiety to stop.

      • Thanks so much for the response. It just seems like you really tackled your healing. I’m having a hard time knowing where to look. I do feel like it’s hard for me to make bonds. Totally get you’re not a therapist so thanks for responding. I was just wondering how you went about trying to find the right attachment-based therapist with that type of knowledge. I’m in NYC which I’m guessing could be a good thing. My other question is…did you find In your experience that it had something to do with your relationship to yourself? That you had a dysfunctional relationship with yourself, I mean.

  10. How frequent are you neurofeedback sessions? Have you heard anything about LENS neurofeedback? Thanks again for keeping your ears open & bringing us things like this webinar.

    • We start twice/week, in a few months go to once/week. I’ve not heard of LENS. A practitioner with 5-10 years in neurofeedback + a cert from EEGSpectrum.com or EEGInfo.com + familiarity with attachment issues is a good place to start.

  11. Thank you! Has anyone gone thru Early life trauma EMDR clearing as a client and what was their experience?

    • Yes, here’s a client blog “How EMDR Helped My Early Trauma” http://attachmentdisorderhealing.com/emdr-early-trauma/
      BUT: psychiatrist and trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk, MD, posted a webinar on neurofeedback 8-9-16 which changes the map. He’s promoted EMDR, yoga & body work for decades. Now folks with early trauma can study neurofeedback too, before choosing. Van der Kolk says Sebern Fisher introduced him to neurofeedback. “She showed me drawings that traumatized kids did of their families (stick figures), then how they developed after 20 weeks of neurofeedback (real people), after 40 weeks (an attached group), and I was blown away,” he says. “There’s nothing I know that can do that, I thought. When you see something like that, you pay attention. Can my psychoanalysis do that? Can my acceptance and commitment therapy do that? Can my friends who do EMDR or Somatic Experiencing do that? No. Nothing I know of can do THAT. Time to learn new things.”

  12. Thank you for all the amazing work you have done. Do you know anyone doing early life trauma clearing by Katie O’Shea and Sandra Paulsen? I am very interested. Can’t wait for your book, too.

  13. Thank you for the link to the Daniel Siegel self-study lecture about the Adult Attachment Interview. It took me three days to get through it due to interruptions, but it went fast. Uplifting guy. Also, i just want to say, your website is amazing, so much stuff here and so well organized considering how much stuff. I wish you the best on the book, really look forward to reading it.

  14. Thank you so much for your blog. I look forward to your book. Only recently I discovered Bessel van der Kolk and now, thanks to you, I’ve discovered a lot more about what happened as a child, in my last 50 years, and what to do. My parents locked me in the drawer when I cried as a baby (they told me so when I was a teen). My repetitive dreams of being buried alive when I was a young child explained! My teen years were full of abuse. From my 13th to my 50th, with a break of 17 years from 29-46, I’ve been on heroin, alcohol and amphetamines. In my 17 years white-knuckle “clean,” I became psychotic a number of times (naturally) without meds. Now, I have a good therapist who disagrees with the DSM and lets me direct my therapy. I have a strong mindfulness practise, an aikido class, a great job and am clean for a year; this time I’m making actual progress. Talking won’t help; my body absorbed the trauma. It’s a long tunnel, I’m at the wrong end, but now I feel there’s light.

  15. Kathy has put together quite a body of information. In all my years of research, study, practices and experiencing of various trauma healing modalities, THIS IS THE BEST I have found so far. Dive deep, consider your self fortunate, and many well wishes towards your own healing journey, WITH a wonderful supportive aid and resource here on Kathy’s site. Keep going Kathy, thanks for sharing. Let’s do all we can to help her birth her book! Go!

  16. So glad you’re healing.The point of therapy is: we MUST get attached to the therapist! It’s the only way they can get deep enough inside us to heal.See “General Theory of Love” p.170-2 and 196-7: http://attachmentdisorderhealing.com/mammal-love/
    That’s why I was so upset at the therapist who “fired” you. Of course, if we go crazy and call them night and day, then they might need us to back off. But if you went to your paid sessions and called twice a week for brief talks, fine!
    I assume you researched this current one enough so that you planned to trust this current one. Ask them now: can I trust you with my deepest heart places to really attach to you? If you don’t like the answer or if you can’t trust them with your deep heart to attach to them, quit now and find another one whom you can trust. Share these quotes and ask them if they’re going to do this: quotes on attaching to therapists from ‘General Theory’ author Thomas Lewis, MD: http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/1503539.Thomas_Lewis
    See also my blog on this! http://attachmentdisorderhealing.com/resources/z-under-construction/

  17. Hi Kathy, I am just wondering if you could share some of your wisdom with me? With the help of a new therapist I have managed to heal from the trauma of my first therapist who actually sent me away. Now I am becoming attached to the new therapist. I don’t know if I should run or stay with it and try to work through it. The longer I stay the more attached I become. Any ideas?

  18. i’m 64. I suffer from extreme attachment trauma. After a life time of looking, I finally found a therapist 4 years ago who understands attachment trauma and is helping me. but it’s slow, hard work. I’ve never been able to find anyone else who is in this deep kind of therapy and for attachment issues. Do you know of any online site where people like me can compare notes, as it were?

  19. Thank you for all of your work. In my research as a Certified TRE® Practitioner (Trauma Releasing Exercises – the work of David Berceli PhD ) I came across your website. I wonder if you are aware of this work? It changed my life so significantly that I trained with Dr Berceli and now teach TRE® in my practice as Therapeutic Exercise/Wellness Coach. The more I teach it, the more excited I get regarding the results that I see. Mostly, I am interested if you are aware of this work. It is simple, yet profound. It basically resets the nervous system back into Parasympathetic function, releasing the fascia and deeply held tension patterns, as well as those dis-eases of chronic ‘fight or flight’ function. I would love to hear from you. Respectfully, Sandra Larsen MsT, Certified TRE® Practitioner

  20. Any news on when your book might be published? I’m really interested in getting a copy. I appreciate the work you’re doing. I recently started working through attachment issues with my therapist and the process is making my head spin.
    So far your website has had the most scientific-based information and I am very excited about what you have to say. I’ll keep watching your blog and Facebook posts. I hope this year brings you more health, strength and peace.

  21. Kathy, I know you’re probably busy, but I wondering if you could point me in a direction of how to start some kind of detachment disorder/Adverse childhood experience group to talk about this stuff with others. I don’t think there is one in my area in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I am enjoying reading your “Don’t try this at home” book. I couldn’t cry at my parents funerals either and was glad when they were over so I could get out of there. Thank you, Troy

    • Hi Troy, Sorry for delay, I just found your comment. Please check my Resources tab at top of my website, then click on Find a Support Group. Maybe see if there’s a local meeting of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (ASCA) which covers all varieties of abuse and neglect, including emotional abuse and neglect. If none yet ASCA helps us start a meeting: http://www.ascasupport.org/meetings.php. Or go to a local Al Anon and when it’s your turn to speak, briefly say “I had abusive parents and I’m looking for someone who wants to be my Grief Partner to work on healing these deep emotional wounds.” Keep going and repeat it at a few meetings, someone might get the message… On Grief Partner see Featured Topics tab, and under that Grief Recovery Handbook.

  22. Dear Kathy, I just stumbled across your blog (by way of Stephen Porges, one of my heroes) – brilliant, and if it’s ok with you, I want to put links to it in mine at some stage. I’ve only just started – have a look, but be patient, because I’m struggling with all sorts of technical issues at the moment – but I want to point people in the direction of interesting things, and your blog certainly is interesting, and VERY comprehensive! Thanks – you’re an inspiration! –Zoe

  23. I’m in Alberta, Canada and writing my personal story. Central to my story is the issue of attachment disorder. I am very interested in the possibility of your book being published and have been looking for it in the book store. I spoke with my bookshoppe this morning and we had a lengthy chat regarding the possibility of you coming to speak to us or arranging an online conference with you and other related speakers presenting their perspective on attachment disorder and dissociation. Thank you so much. –Donna

  24. Hi Mike– YES honestly it does happen — and please take encouragement paradoxically, from being exactly where you are. You describe below exactly what it feels like when we’re about to make a huge breakthrough into a brand new emotional place we’ve never been before — which will feel SO MUCH better you will never believe you used to feel as you do today. I’ve been through exactly this, and this is what my fantastic fourth therapist (finally found a good one) said to me when I was where you’re at. Take heart the way an athlete does — but take HEART emotionally, not bull through physically/intellectually/macho. Now’s the time for emotional courage. Since you’ve got this far, you have it in you.

  25. Thanks, Kathy. I’ll keep on with my therapy. It’s so crazy hard right now. I’m paralyzed emotionally. I can hardly work. It really feels like I’m stuck this way. Like the trauma and the false self I created are just too huge and then the life I created from that false self in terms of work and relationships jjust made it all worse and I can’t go back, so it feels like I’ve got nothing and I’m totally starting over. Does healing, real transformation, really happen?

  26. Glad you have good therapists. Non-traditional can be the way to go; I used “Healing Trauma” by Dr. Peter A. Levine. Check him out; he’s got the “body work” part that’s crucial. Levine’s student Lawrence Heller has a book called “Healing Developmental Trauma.”

  27. I read your book page and found it very helpful. Where I am temporarily stuck is I really get how development trauma has affected me, but I’m not able to let it all go just yet. I am in therapy with a gentleman here in Portland, Maine using non-traditional techniques to make changes to neuronal networks. I’m also working with a man in London via Skype. Thank you for telling your story and for any additional guidance you can provide.

  28. Please see my reply to Pam above for Find a Therapist page.

  29. You mention your blog with information on how to find a really good trauma therapist and the other resources needed to heal. Where can I find this information? Thank you.

  30. Hello ive been searching everywhere for help with attatchment disorder,I adopted my daught when she was 3yrs, she is now 36, she has struggled all her life .she suffered every kind of abuse as a child , she had 17 foster parents before the age of 3ys.her life has been a catalogue of disasters, abusive relationships resulting in dreadful life experiences, playing out the same senarios again and again.she deserves so much better but I feel so helpless.

    • I have been in that pain of attachment disorder as an unwanted pregnancy and adoption can be more difficult. It’s no one’s fault but babies need to attach after birth to the body they were developed inside of. Please also know: there IS HEALING! The day CAN come when your daughter and you feel GREAT! But it will take feeling through a lot of pain first, and a lot of courage. Healing exists, and it’s powerful. Please check my book: http://www.AttachmentDisorderHealing.com/book/
      But my book is called “Don’t Try This at Home” because:
      1. We DO need a really good trauma therapist.
      2. We do need a really good trauma support group.
      3. We need to study and meditate and develop our minds.
      We really can not do it ourselves. Please see if she will use my book and the footnotes as a start. Then see my Find a Therapist page and my Find a Support Group page.

  31. I’m interested in buying your book. Is it not out yet? When will it be available? Thank you and Happy Holidays.

  32. The discussion on the cortisol system is fascinating and has major implications for children in previous generations whose parents were told they’d spoil children by picking them up and holding them when they cried. I was even told that and ignored it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available