Our Growth After Childhood Trauma by Ilana Simons PhD

Our Growth After Childhood Trauma

The content of my blogpost is mostly conveyed through my animated video, below – a claymation that touches on Marina Abramović, George Vaillant’s concept of “mature defenses,” and some personal musing. My words follow, too – but you can click on the 3-minute film here.


The video was inspired by work I did with a client whose childhood trauma led to particular strengths in adulthood. I was thinking about our positive responses to early pain, or what George Vaillant called “mature defenses.” These are character traits that emerge from wounds but lead to remarkable strengths, like humor, altruism, and focus on any substitute for the pain.