Kurtz leads them into a description of how a child’s young brain functions, how young children – regardless of whether they have experienced trauma or not — live in their reptile brain.
“What’s the job of the reptile brain?” she asks.
“Survival” comes a response. “Yes, it’s fight, flight or freeze,” she says.
With guidance from adults, she explains, children’s immature brains develop neurons that build bridges to the rational part of the brain. The rational, executive part of the brain, she continues, is a place of calm, where we can plan, solve problems, and imagine how someone else interacting with us is feeling.
But if a child is in a state of terror, explains Kurtz, all bets are off. In that state, a child can’t hear what you’re saying or express herself in words, Kurtz says…
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