Laurie A. Couture is a licensed mental health counselor and the author of Instead of Medicating and Punishing and Nurturing and Empowering Our Sons (in press). She is developing The Couture Protocol, an evidence-based, whole-child program of treating developmental and generational trauma in children, youths, and their families. Laurie provides consulting, presentations, training, and research reports to industries, agencies, and programs that directly serve children, youths, and families.
Laurie discovered early in her professional career that our society's institutions are out of alignment with nature's intent for children's developmental and attachment needs. What concerned her most was that the institutions in which she worked--behavioral healthcare, education, social services, and juvenile justice--generally reacted to children's alarm signals with labels and behavioral/biochemical interventions that caused more developmental distress. She observed that boys especially suffered and withered in these institutions, as their needs and natural alarm signals were met with denial, hostility, or punishment.
Early on, Laurie's independent research took her far beyond her training in psychology and behavioral science into the worlds of:
As a specialist in developmental trauma and attachment problems, Laurie focused most of her clinical years treating kids (ranging from toddlers to early 20s) with Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), gentle attachment-focused family therapy, alternative educational placements, and advocating for additional neuro-somatic and holistic interventions. She was sought-out by state and private agencies to treat severe trauma and attachment disorders in adoptees and in children in the foster care system. Her whole-child treatment protocol had rapid and enduring success at reducing distress and healing families, as it is aligned with nature's intent and nature's own processes rather than working against them.
Laurie was featured in the documentaries, The War On Kids and Class Dismissed and she has presented at conferences around the country, including at the American Public Health Association Expo in 2019. Her award-winning writing, child advocacy, and artwork have reached an international audience, earning her the Manchester Union Leader's Forty Under 40 honors in 2010 and The Temple Grandin Award in 2014.
In 2005, Laurie adopted her beloved son, Brycen from the foster care system when he was 11-years-old, and shortly after, mother and son embarked on a dynamic journey of unschooling--a child-centered form of homeschooling--through Brycen's graduation. This involved Brycen running two businesses, sharing his story at conferences to help other children, volunteering in his community, and living his lifelong dream of being a performing singer and songwriter.
Prior to his adoption, Brycen had suffered a history of severe and chronic abuse, neglect, and trauma that included rape and multiple foster, respite, and residential placements during the first 11 years of his life. Brycen thrived for many years in his forever family, experiencing unconditional love and intensive support for his insatiable creative passions and talents as well as for his formidable mental health issues--especially Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with dissociative features, as well as autism, sensory issues, and medical challenges.
Unspeakable tragedy struck in 2017 when Brycen went missing for a week at age 23 and was found deceased. Overwhelmed by a spiral of personal stressors, and suddenly pulling away from his strong support system, he had lost his long battle with chronic suicidal ideation--a battle that went back to a documented suicide attempt in his therapeutic preschool.
Laurie's own sensory and neurological challenges with autism, a history of life-threatening Crohn's disease and asthma, and personal tragedies have shaped, informed, and continue to grow her nature-aligned, needs-centered approach to helping humanity. Since the devastating death of her son and loss of her granddaughter who was born after Brycen's death, she has survived by keeping her promise to Brycen of carrying forth his story and his gifts to the world. Laurie is addressing the young male suicide epidemic within the context of preventing early childhood developmental trauma and protecting the natural rights of young fathers.
While Laurie has held many professional titles across multiple fields, she is most proud of her titles of Mom, Auntie, and Nana. She also previously mentored two DHHS-involved teens.