Tracy: I’d like to open by touching on the research showing how early childhood experiences affect brain development. Based on your own work in the field, can you describe why this is important to look at?
Megan: Absolutely. We learn how to self-regulate and cope with difficult feelings in an environment that enables us to do so. When evolutionary responses like ‘fight-or-flight’–which happen in the reptilian part of our brain called the amygdala–are piqued, it’s through the safety of healthy, reliable, and stable relationships that we learn how to manage those uncomfortable feelings and react to them in healthy ways. But if a child grows up in a home where abuse is the norm, or where there is neglect of the child’s attachment needs, then ultimately they develop while constantly feeling fearful, feeling anxious, or having that distrust response heightened