Wally Phillips' letter to Wyoming Governor Geringer, March 16, 2002

Dear Governor Geringer,

I am concerned that a progressive state like Wyoming would disregard the distinction between discipline and child abuse (Senate File 74). In my internship to become a psychotherapist, I am appalled at the notion that it is OK to use violence of any kind (and yes, I believe that spanking or hitting of any kind is violent) against any human being, especially children. It teachs us messages like, "If you can't get what you want, use violence", or "I'm not good enough" or "I'm a bad person". All very debilitating.

One area I work in with my clients is in early (childhood) trauma. We now know that childhood experiences are recorded in our brain neurology (See Dr. Bessel van der Kolk's research for more specifics) . Early trauma (like spanking or hitting) sets that trauma in to our brain neurology neurology and leaves us susceptible to depression and PTSD in adulthood. The emotional wounding I see every day as a result of "hitting discipline" is incipient but endemic and very profound.

I'm sure you will help us create a safe environment for children by treatign them with dignity and respect. They learn what we teach them by our deeds.

Wally Phillips
6 Woodside Way
San Rafael, CA. 94901

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