During the growing stages of a child, the brain is also developing and its growth depends on daily experiences. If the experiences are traumatic, a person will have severe consequences in his or her childhood and adulthood. Physical and mental growth will delay because of traumatic events. Depending on the culture of people, some traumas are more prevalent than others are. Spiritual development can help a child cope with trauma through empowerment and impartation of positive beliefs (Roehlkepartain, King, Wagener & Benson, 2005).
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Effect of trauma on neural development
During the growth of a baby in the womb, neural development takes place beginning with a mere neural plate (Feldman, 2014). Any form of trauma generating from both internal and external sources is enough to cause extreme alteration in neural development. Neurons are cells responsible for making the brain. In the development process, neurons form webs that connect various systems. The brain controls all functions through these systems. The progress of these functions is sequential, implying that former experiences can influence future growth.
There is a particular stage of brain development in a child when traumatic experiences can gravely change the neural pathways. Brain development of a child influences all other growth including physical growth. Neural networks develop very fast and rely on the recurrence of experiences. Experiences shape the brain on how to react to different events.
When a child experiences traumatic events, the neural networks receiving the most application are those reacting to the trauma. As a result, the growth of networks responsible for adaptive behavior slows down. This can lead to impairment later when the child becomes an adult. During childhood, the brain is very malleable and therefore prone to change. Therefore, trauma can have adverse effects during childhood.
How spiritual development can counter effects of trauma
Spiritual development can transform the negative effects of trauma through application of faith. Faith is a strong belief of possessing something without necessarily seeing it. Through faith, a person can alter and stop the effects of trauma. There are different forms of faith and each is distinctive. When a child is two years and below, primal faith is established which is responsible for developing trust.
Adolescence to adulthood stage applies conventional faith to know God’s purpose and apply it for protection against bad experiences (Roehlkepartain, King, Wagener & Benson, 2005). Spirituality helps a person to believe in a greater power that is beyond his or her own ability. This will help a person have a meaningful life because of faith in a greater power who will bring comfort and love during trauma.
Factors that lead to developmental delays when a child is exposed to trauma
Development involves taking charge and control of personal experiences. Predictability is a factor that helps in understanding a traumatic experience. This helps a child in considering different helpful options when going through traumatic events (Feldman, 2014). When children have low predictability, their development slows down. This is because they have no capability to create their internal environment. Consequently, they have no ability to know the cause and effect of their traumatic experiences and their own involvement to what they go through. Without internal environment, they react rather than plan and so their growth slows.
Prevalence of different types of trauma and if they differ among different cultures
Culture affects the form of experience that people think to be traumatic. It also affects how they understand the significance of the traumatic experience. In addition, culture affects how societies convey traumatic responses. While responses to trauma are the same in all societies, demonstrations of reactions vary greatly (Feldman, 2014). Culture builds an environment through which the trauma victims perceive and decide their own reaction. A society can stigmatize the trauma victims because of their culture or it can aid in forming solutions for trauma victims (American Psychological Association, n.d.).
Major variations occur in the dominance of types of trauma among different cultures. For example, researchers observed that Latino children reveal dominance of domestic fights and less occurrence of sexual abuse when compared with Caucasian children. Particular external conditions have a connection to causing trauma in Latino children. Some of these conditions are drug abuse, stress from racism, lack of education, and poor living conditions (Feldman, 2014).
When a child experiences traumatic events, his or her brain responds by focusing highly on neurons that deal with the trauma and this cause neglect to other neurons responsible for other functions. This results to developmental delays of some functions of the brain. Spiritual development impact positive beliefs in a person, this empowers an individual going through episodes of trauma in his or her life. Culture also plays a significant role in dealing with trauma. This is because different cultures have different responses to trauma depending on their prevalence (Roehlkepartain, King, Wagener & Benson, 2005).
American Psychological Association. Publication manual of the American psychological association (current ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Feldman, R. S. (2014). Development across the life span (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. ISBN: 126962198X.
Roehlkepartain, E., King, P., Wagener, L., & Benson, P. (2005). The handbook of spiritual development in childhood and adolescence. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishing. ISBN: 9780761930785.