The Simple Guide to Emotional Neglect: What It Is and How to Help

Author(s) : Betsy de Thierry, Illustrator : Emma Reeves

Part of Simple Guides series - more in this series

The Simple Guide to Emotional Neglect: What It Is and How to Help

Book Details

  • Publisher : Jessica Kingsley
  • Published : July 2023
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 128
  • Category :
    Child and Adolescent Studies
  • Catalogue No : 97340
  • ISBN 13 : 9781839976759
  • ISBN 10 : 1839976756
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What is emotional neglect? How does it affect children and the adults they become? What can we do to help?

In The Simple Guide to Emotional Neglect, Betsy de Thierry provides clarity and guidance on the complex subject of emotional neglect, including how it impacts emotional connection and behaviour in the children who experience it. Betsy de Thierry has spent years working with children and adults impacted by emotional neglect from all walks of life, and combines her experience with the latest research evidence to provide you with a concise overview of what emotional neglect looks like, and the issues it can create, including its impact on the developing brain, the development of trauma-based behaviours and challenges to forming emotional connections.

The practical advice in this book guides parents, carers, and professionals involved in child welfare on how to provide informed and empathic support.

Reviews and Endorsements

Never more urgently needed, Betsy confronts this invisible but insidious issue. Offering hope and recovery, this essential read addresses, compassionately and practically, the profound need in every human heart to be seen and known.
Nicki Rosser, Clinical Lead TRC Bath

Betsy's warm, wise book comes from deep knowledge of what really matters for children. Emotional neglect can be scary territory for parents and practitioners to explore and this book will support courageous conversations without shame, helping children to be seen, heard and loved. i recommend this book to everyone involved in supporting families to recover strong loving relationships.
Mary Glasgow CEO, Children 1st

Highly recommend to any adoptive parents, foster carers, guardians, teachers and any adult with children in their care. Reading this book was like a big hug, I didn't feel so alone anymore, I could relate and so much of it made sense to me. It gave me a greater understanding, knowledge and reminder of what is really going on for my children along with encouraging tools on how to move forward and make such positive change, which is possible. With life overwhelming anyway, I really love the fact this book really is a 'simple' read and easy to absorb. Betsy breaks it all down perfectly into various chapters which makes it easy to jump back into at point to refer, remind and refresh myself to be the best we can be for our children.
Clare Davies, adoptive parent of young siblings

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dr Karen Treisman

1. An Introduction to Emotional Neglect
How our brains are built
The continuum of emotional neglect
Emotional trauma
The experience of emotional neglect
We aren’t shaming and blaming – but we are acknowledging the impact
What is ‘good enough’?
What kind of specific experiences could be emotionally neglectful?
The child being seen and heard
What do children need from their parents?
The need to provide emotional availability for children and teens
Emotional neglect occurs across all socio-economic family backgrounds
Generational emotional trauma zig zag
Reflection points

2. The General Impact of Emotional Neglect
The impact of not having a secure attachment
The impact in adulthood
The impact of lack of soothing
The distress of relationships that have insecure foundations
The impact of the lack of ‘enough’ emotional attunement
The impact of emotionally shut down parents
The impact of the child worrying about their parent
Possible consequences of not enough emotional connection from parents
My formal description of the neurobiological impact of emotional neglect
Reflection points

3. The Impact of Emotional Neglect on Relationships
Being invisible
Not being a person, not taking up space
Being responsible for too much
Not feeling a sense of belonging
Not able to be self-regulated
Being the scapegoat
Over-achieving or compliance to find acceptance
Independent and self-sufficient
Intimacy and sex
Needing attention
Reflection points

4. The Impact of Emotional Neglect on the Emotions
Emotional regulation
Anger and defensiveness
Terror and powerlessness
Depression or feeling tired
Reflection points

5. The Impact on the Body and Brain
The impact of touch
Sensory sensitivity
Food and eating
Stress for a baby
Challenges in communication
Reflection points

6. The Impact on the Sense of Self and Identity
Social context
Not knowing what you are good at
The mess of the inner self
Feelings of low self-esteem
How to help a child develop a healthy sense of self
Reflection points

7. What Does the Recovery Journey Look Like?
Psychoeducation and modelling externalization
Relationships and trust
Changing self-neglect into self-nurture
Noticing negative core beliefs
Noticing the body sensations and movement
Exploring safety
Reflection points

8. Activities to Help an Emotionally Neglected Child Heal
Strengthening the corpus callosum
Self-soothing activities
Vestibular practice
Relationship strengthening
Communication of emotion

Appendix: Some Legal and Official Definitions of Emotional Neglect

About the Author(s)

Betsy de Thierry is a mum of four brilliant sons, a practising psychotherapist and a qualified primary school teacher. With almost 30 years of experience and knowledge within the field, she is a trainer in trauma recovery and the founder of the Trauma Recovery Centre, a charity specialising in recovery from complex trauma. She is also the CEO of BdT Ltd ( Trauma Training, Consultancy and Leadership, which supports professionals who work with traumatised children and families in the UK.

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