Categorie: News

23 apr 2020
What we can do about toxic stress

What we can do about toxic stress

Building resilience and strength in families and communities is one of the most important investments we can make as a society. But what does that mean?

Experiencing stress that doesn’t let up can be harmful to people’s lifelong health and wellbeing, especially if it begins when they’re young. Without supportive relationships, it can become what scientists call “toxic stress.” Nobody knows this better than those who have experienced it.


But that’s not the whole story.
With the right supports, toxic stress doesn’t have to lead to bad outcomes. We all know that everyone copes with stress differently— even children. Understanding how stress affects each of us is the first step toward making changes in our communities and our own lives that can help everyone thrive.



Toxic Stress Can Feel Like a Heavy Weight, But Communities Can Share the Load.

As adults, the effects of stress caused by things like experiencing violence, or not having enough food or a place to live, can feel heavy, like a burden that makes it hard to get through life. This stress can put a person into a constant state of “fight or flight” response, which makes it unusually difficult to plan or follow  through, or to stay calm. Feeling this way can override a parent or caregiver’s ability to provide the supportive relationships children need, or even to do things that help relieve the burden.


Just as a truck can only bear so much weight before it slows down or stops moving forward, challenging life circumstances can weigh caregivers down and make it hard to do the things they need and want to do. And just as carrying too much for too long can cause a truck to break down, people can wear down from being overburdened without support.


But just as we can remove cargo from an overloaded truck, we can provide supports and services that allow caregivers to focus on caring for themselves and their children. And just as we can do regular maintenance to keep a truck in good shape, regular access to these services can help families manage the load  during challenging times.


Supporting Each Other, Building Resilience

Under this kind of stress, it can be difficult to focus on the fact that the most important thing your children need is love, affection, and attention, along with clear limitsetting. Spending more time playing and snuggling with them, talking to them, or taking walks and exploring together are tools you can use to help connect.

If your stress is making it hard to do these things—if your truck is just too overloaded— reach out for help. Resources like food pantries or free activities can help lift stress. Connect with parents, friends, or family who care, or seek help from a professional so you can get back to nurturing your kids. And when you’re out of crisis, you can help others in your community, by letting other parents know that their loving attention can make the biggest difference for their kids, or
joining in advocacy to expand family supports.

The threads that connect us all can grow stronger when taking on difficult challenges, and those ties can lessen the burden of toxic stress. No person is an island; everyone needs the help of others in difficult times. And toxic stress is not the end of anyone’s story.


For more information:

The Center on the Developing Child Harvard University

16 apr 2020
What is COVID-19 and How Does it Relate to Child Development?

What is COVID-19 and How Does it Relate to Child Development?


Doctors first discovered coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) at the end of 2019. It is an illness related to the lungs. It’s caused by a virus that can spread quickly from person to person and can be picked up from surfaces. In some people, it can be severe, leading to pneumonia or even death. Since COVID-19 is new, there is no cure or vaccine for it at this time.

Because the virus spreads so quickly, many places have banned large groups of people. Schools, houses of worship, and workplaces are closed.
Children can’t go to school or daycare. Families may lose pay because adults can’t go to work. These changes can be very stressful. That’s why it’s important to learn how stress can affect us. We can also learn what we can do about it.


Protecting against infection and toxic stress

Losing a job would be stressful normally. So would having to homeschool at the drop of a hat. But these things are even more stressful when there’s a dangerous virus in the world. It’s important for all of us to stay away from others physically. This will help keep the virus from spreading in our communities. But it’s also very important to stay connected to people we care about. This is true for children and adults.

Video chatting with a friend or loved one is a good example. Or saying ‘hello’ to a neighbor who’s more than six feet away. These connections can make the  stress feel easier to bear.

Taking a minute to close your eyes and breathe in and out can also help. That’s because slow breathing tells your body’s stress system to ease up a bit. This can help you respond better at even the most difficult times.

When we as adults feel better, it can help us connect better with the children we care for. This connection can help protect all of us, adults and kids, from the effects of stress. It also supports kids’ healthy growth.

A worldwide virus is a stressful time for everyone. But the stress gets worse for those who were already dealing with things like poverty, racism, or violence. There are still resources that can help in these challenging times:
crisis hotlines, food banks, and relief funds. There is no shame in seeking help if you need it.


We all want to build up the long-term wellbeing of children and families in our communities. That’s why we as a society need to support responsive caregiving everywhere. This includes caregiving in homes, schools, and childcare centers. Together, this will allow us to weather whatever storms we come up against, now or in the future.


For more information:

The Center on the Developing Child Harvard University

09 sep 2019

Victor Kouratovsky op CCE Podium

We zijn allemaal cultureel ‘ingewikkeld’
Augustus 2019.

Door culturele verschillen te ervaren als gegeven in plaats van als probleem, kan stress worden teruggebracht en grote winst worden geboekt.

Victor Kouratovsky, klinisch psycholoog en CCE consulent, spreekt hierover op CCE Podium.
Bekijk hieronder zijn presentatie.

Bron: We zijn allemaal cultureel ‘ingewikkeld’ – Victor Kouratovsky – CCE Podium from CCE

Download de Powerpoint-presentatie hier: An attempt at integrating- Envelopment



11 apr 2019

Knowing when to act

Calligraphy especially made for ExpatPsy by Tiehan Leng, Beijing,
October 2018.

See photo:  

Calligraphy: Wu Wei, knowing when to act
Wu Wei, knowing when to act
05 dec 2016

Expatica Article: experience with diverse people from all over the world

December 2016;

Dr. Victor Kouratovsky, a certified clinical specialist, discusses his experience with diverse people from all over the world with varying backgrounds, upbringing, culture, and personal histories in different countries.

In my understanding of the importance of culture, cultural background, and the effects of a migration from a mental health perspective, I coined a way of thinking I have called ‘envelopment’. Envelopment provides a buffer and protection against stress by creating patterns and rituals, with proven effects on biological and (sub)conscious levels. When adequate, envelopment enables adjustment, health and growth through care of the family and of the self. A change of setting, however, stressful by itself, can leave one unprotected. I use swaddling, an millennia-old custom in all parts of the world, as a metaphor for envelopment.

Example of swaddling:



Being born is probably the biggest change of environment and the most significant ‘migration’ of our lives. In the womb, we are already influenced by culture, not only by the speech we hear from our mother and father, but also by the way our mother is treated, her experiences, and even the experiences of our grandparents. But after being born, all kinds of different cultural environments and practices help us to protect against overwhelming situations and stress. Swaddling can be understood as one way of envelopment by providing holding and support after leaving the womb, and as a metaphor for dealing with new stressors encountered in life.

Why special care for expats?

Expats are, generally speaking, strong and resilient people, but we all have our vulnerabilities.

Life as an expatriate means adjusting to a whole new set of different circumstances, starting with different sounds, smells, tastes, and ways of being. Making adjustments requires energy, while family and life events, coupled with living and work conditions, might make life difficult.

In cases where life’s predicaments lead to imbalances and to lesser mental and physical functioning, having quick and direct access to a specialist and expert might prove very cost effective and welcome for oneself as well as for one’s family. Expat failure is a costly affair for all parties concerned. and something one really wishes to avoid.

Without contracts with third parties like insurance companies and municipalities, ExpatPsy is free to offer consultation concerning adjustment issues and preventative issues, all without branding persons as ‘disordered’. Adapted to the needs of expats, ExpatPsy can be consulted outside office hours. ExpatPsy also makes use of an international network of specialists.

Read original Expatica website article here >>