Dr. Paul Hegstrom is the founder of Life Skills International. His program helps people who are having trouble with
♦ Emotional Abuse
♦ Love and Family Bonding
♦ Managing Stress
♦ Developing Trust
♦ Mother/Son Relationship
♦ Respecting Self and Others
♦ Domestic Violence
♦ Awareness and Processing of Feelings
♦ Learning to Forgive
♦ Accepting Responsibility
♦ Building Lasting Relationships
♦ Parenting Skills
♦ Father/Daughter Relationship
Integrity Life Skills offers a weekly program for twenty-six weeks to men and women in a group atmosphere. In the case where an individual or couple needs assistance before a class is available, we will refer them to the The Stepping Stones Clinic in Aurora, Colorado. This clinic involves five days of intense one-on-one work with therapist, Dr. Debra Bussey.
Dr. Hegstrom went through a great deal of stress developing this program. Because of a huge childhood trauma, he was an emotional child in an adult’s body.
He could not control himself. He beat his wife many times. After each time he hated himself for doing it. He promised that he would stop. Sometimes an hour later he would end up being mean to his wife again.
After facing 15 – 22 years in prison for attempted murder of his wife, he decided that he would have to make a radical change.
After 16 years of domestic violence, Paul Hegstrom and his wife got a divorce. Then, as Dr. Hegstrom learned what he had been doing and why, he “rewired his brain”. The process took three years.
He and his former wife got remarried. After 23 years in the new marriage, there has never been a single case of domestic violence.
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Outside of his home, people really liked Paul. That was because he was such a nice guy. But, inside his home he was abusive to his wife in every way including physically and emotionally.
He hated himself for that. He thought he was dirty and damaged. He kept saying that he would change. But, his behavior had control over him.
He eventually started a research project trying to find out how to make himself into a decent person. He found out how to “rewire his brain”.
Paul had been sexually abused at age eight. That had been a big part of the problem.
Some types of prepubescent traumas cause the body’s adrenalin producing system to be on high alert.
He found out that there are three chemicals (dopamine, seratonin and norepinephrine) that could not be produced in sufficient quantities at the onset of puberty. The extra adrenalin prevented that from happening. As a result, part of him remained like a nine-year-old boy.
(The five types of prepubescent traumas that can put the adrenalin-producing system to stay on high alert are:
- ♦ Rejection in the original family,
- ♦ Incest,
- ♦ Molestation
- ♦ Emotional abuse and
- ♦ Physical abuse.)