early relational trauma is a term that describes the chronic exposure of young children to experiences of maltreatment and neglect within the parent–child relationship. Such trauma can have a negative impact on children’s mentalizing capacity and play, which are essential for their psychosocial development. Mentalizing is the ability to understand one’s own and others’ thoughts, feelings and intentions, while play is the ability to use imagination and creativity to explore reality. early relational trauma can impair these abilities by disrupting the children’s sense of self, security, trust and emotion regulation.

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