The Trauma Model (Ross, 2007) is the foundation underlying the clinical case conceptualisation of CRM. The two core elements of the Trauma Model are the problem of attachment to the perpetrator and the locus of control shift. Infants must attach in order to survive, thrive and grow, and in a sense, we all have the problem of attachment to the perpetrator, meaning that none of us have absolutely secure attachment. Briefly, attachment to the perpetrator is defined as the paradoxical state in which infants and children are biologically driven to attach despite being hurt or rejected by their caretakers when doing so. We all love and hate our parents simultaneously, even if subconsciously, and this is simply a natural part of the human condition. (Ross, 2007). Ross’s model assumes, as does the neurobiology of CRM, that there are in fact two reflexes wired into individuals, the SEEKING to attach as well as a recoil from pain, the neurobiology of which is discussed further in Chapter 5 . Both CRM and the Trauma Model postulate that there is a built-in override of the withdrawal reflex by the attachment systems that creates a catalyst for the problem of attachment to the perpetrator, specifically that the child MUST attach at all costs regardless of chronic or acute experiences of pain and fear when doing so – and it is these split seconds of terror and conflict before fragmentation occurs that are targeted through CRM work. With all infants/children, there is approach, connection, attunement and the desire to be loved by the parents. Concurrently, particularly in those suffering from Complex PTSD, there is detachment, vacancy and avoidance if not outright abuse secondary to the wounded and unhealed state of the parents. In this situation, the child hates the parents and wants to flee. So while the child is wired to attach, they are also wired to take flight from the origin of the pain and rejection – the object of connection and fear being one and the same. This paradoxical truth of one’s life creates a deep, searing rift in the child’s very soul and is the origin of symptoms and the coping strategy of dissociation which CRM therapists have witnessed as being sourced early in development – antenatally, perinatally or postnatally. In order to solve this problem of attachment to the perpetrator and continue to seek connection, the child must see the parents as safe and good. If the parents are believed to be dangerous, bad or unstable, the child experiences their own existence as unimportant and the world as a whole as unsafe – a state of survival terror so profound as to be impossible to tolerate by children in very early stages of development.
In order for the child to see the parents as “safe enough” to continue to approach and to feel a sense of control and mastery, he/she must shift the locus of control from the reason or origin of the abuse (the parents) to him/herself. Colin Ross has coined this the “Locus of Control Shift” (LOCS) (Ross, 2007). One subconscious belief system that results is: “ I am bad and making the abuse happen, therefore the power to change this is inside me. All I have to do is be smarter, quieter, thinner and never ever feel anger, and I will be loved”. This thinking and subsequent behaviour is an attempt to solve the problem of attachment to the perpetrator as the parents are now seen as safe while providing the illusion of control inside the child. The bad feelings that are caused by the abuse prove to the child that he/she is in fact bad and reinforce the locus of control shift. Simultaneously, the shift preserves the idealised good parent, thereby allowing the attachment systems to stay up and running. Any normal physiological arousal caused by the abuse, or any positive feelings arising from the attention, prove that the child wanted the abuse, which proves he/she is bad, which proves it is his/her fault, which proves he/she is not helpless and overwhelmed, and is in control. The illusion of control created in the child’s mind attenuates physiological activation – and keeps attachment options open. That is, seeking attachment remains available as a survival option. Particularly powerful reinforcement of these cognitions and behaviours occurs in victims of sexual abuse who remember feeling sexually aroused during the abuse. The client feels that the body has betrayed the self and the self then responds by hating the body, resulting in a seemingly impermeable division between body and head (Ross, 2007). In CRM, treatment targets such as this are developed in the context of attachment to the perpetrator and the LOCS in order to access the original events that result in life-long avoidance of survival terror, grief, shame, rage and subsequent dissociation from the perceived worthlessness of the self and the physical body. Of utmost importance is attention to the profoundly deep grief experienced by most clients regarding not having the parents one wishes they had relevant to the truth of their life. The phenomenological, conceptual and clinical underpinnings of CRM activate the building of a relationship between ourselves and our intuition, allowing clients to assist in their own healing by trusting what their bodies are telling them. Building bridges between traditional psychotherapy, indigenous healing and contemporary bodywork promotes the goal of loving the self, of being in a healthy relationship with the self in a way that creates permanent change.
(Excerpted from) The Comprehensive Resource Model: Effective Therapeutic Techniques for the Healing of Complex Trauma, written by Lisa Schwarz, Frank Corrigan, Alastair Hull and Rajiv Raju, published by Routledge, 2017