Nobody Ever Called It Trauma

Nobody Ever Called It Trauma
August 31, 2023
6:00PM - 7:30PM

Colleagues & Conversations @ Yellowbrick

Nobody Ever Called It Trauma: Understanding the Neurobiology and Neuropsychology of Being Adopted

Thursday August 31, 2023 | 6pm-7:30pm CST

with Northstar Clinical Consultants

Conference Description:

Nobody Ever Called It Trauma: Understanding the Neurobiology and Neuropsychology of Being Adopted
Both the adoption and mental health fields have thought of adoption as being only about children, unaware that the greater complexities of their “adjustments” within the adoptive family are more likely to come in adolescence and young adulthood. Some of these complexities, however, are sequelae of the adopted person’s earliest experiences prenatally, but also postnatally at the time the child is permanently separated from the birthmother. Dr. Deeg discusses the in utero, neurophysiological ‘coding’ of the birthmother that becomes evident in the transference within psychoanalytically-based treatment of adopted patients: The transference involves four parents, not two. Dr. Sanders, a prominent neonatologist, explains the internal ‘events’ impacting the newborn, followed by comments on the adoption field’s preferred practice of placing infants for adoption soon after birth. Dr. Mayers will discuss her own personal experience as an adoptive mother who ‘received’ her son immediately after birth; he is now a young adult.

Learning Objectives:

As a result of participation in this event, participants should be able to:
  1. Discuss the relevance of the internalized relation of adopted self to birth parent in terms of overall psychological development, identity formation, and psychotherapeutic treatment.
  2. List 5 evolutionarily based biological expectations of the adult caregiver by the human newborn.
  3. Recognize the significant changes in psychoanalytic theory over the past three decades regarding early development and parenting and understand how they have impacted the actual lived experience of an adoptive mother.

Christopher F. Deeg Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist

Christopher F. Deeg Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist with over 35 years of experience in general practice and in working with adopted persons, families of adopted persons, people considering or planning on adopting, and birth parents who have previously surrendered a child for adoption. Dr. Deeg has broad training in cognitive-behavioral treatment approaches and completed post-doctoral training in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. He also treats and counsels couples. Dr. Deeg also provides consultation to adoption agencies.

Dr. Deeg is the author of several journal articles on the psychology of the adopted person including the issue of identity formation, as well as the psychoanalytic treatment of the adoptee. He is one of three editors for the Handbook on the Clinical Treatment of Adopted Adolescents and Young Adults which has recently been published by Routledge.

Dr Marilyn R Sanders, MD
Board-Certified Pediatrician and Neonatologist

Dr Marilyn R Sanders is a board-certified pediatrician and neonatologist caring for critically ill babies, infants, and their families and a Professor of Pediatrics at the UCONN School of Medicine. She also provides neurodevelopmental follow-up for babies and infants. Her scholarly interest is providing trauma-informed care to hospitalized newborns, infants, young children, and their families. Her focus is the impact of the autonomic nervous system’s sense of safety, danger, or life threat on our emotions and behavior. She lectures throughout the United States and Europe. Dr Sanders has authored papers and book chapters on trauma-informed care in the hospital setting. Dr Sanders’ book with her co-author, Dr George Thompson, The Polyvagal Theory and the Developing Child: Strengthening Systems of Care for Kids, Families, and Communities was released 11/16/21 by WW Norton. The book discusses implications of the Polyvagal Theory, for the well-being and development of infants, children, adolescents and their families.

Linda Mayers, PhD
Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalyst

Linda Mayers, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York City and has worked for most of her career with adoptive families and adopted people of all ages. She is an adjunct associate professor at LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York; Member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy and Editorial Reader, International Forum of Psychoanalysis . An ongoing interest is in the developmental complexities of adopted individuals throughout the life span.


Call Tracy Ashworth 847-869-1500 ext. 207

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