adverse childhood experience, childhood trauma, developmental trauma

Today, we talk about adverse childhood experiences and how we utilize the ACEs score in therapy.

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What does ACES mean?

  • ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experiences Scale
  • It’s on a 9 point scale 0-9
  • It’s a representation of a number of adverse childhood experiences you’ve been through
  • The score will know some of the health outcomes that are likely to present throughout life. 
  • There’s been findings between the ACE score and health outcomes. 
  • Our experiences in childhood have a direct connection to our physical health. 

Definition of Trauma

  • Something that’s too much too soon, too much for too long or too little for too long. 
  • This includes a broad scope of childhood experiences, including neglect and childhood abuse.
  • Check out episode 1: What is Trauma?

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris ACEs Study Ted Talk 

  • She began to see a pattern between children with trauma and health issues.
  • Here’s a link to the Ted Talk.
  • Traumatic experiences as a child don’t just cause mental health issues later in life, but severe health issues as well.
  • As the ACEs score goes up, so does the risk of health issues. 

Your ACEs score doesn’t mean it’s too late

  • The ACE score of a child before being adopted into a loving family can have a different, and possibly positive health outcome.
  • There’s still time for interventions for both the mind and body.
  • With the help of therapy, the amount diagnosed from childhood trauma can decrease over time.

8 Domains: 

  • Emotional abuse: Parent or sub parent used intimidation, swore at you, used insults, or made the child fear for their physical health.
  • Physical abuse: Parent or sub parent pushed, grabbed, slapped, or hit so hard it left marks on the child’s body.
  • Sexual abuse: An adult, parent, family member or stranger that’s at least five years older than the child ever touched their body in a sexual way, made the child touch their body in a sexual way or had any innappropriate contact. 
  • Incarceration of family member: A family member went to jail or prison 
  • Mother treated violently: watching a mother being physically abused (pushed, grabbed, hit or had objects thrown at her) 
  • Parental separation: Parents were separated at any point of time or divorced. 
  • Substance abuse in the household: This includes alcoholism, medical prescription abuse and street drug abuse.
  • Mental health illness or suicide of a member in the household.

In western culture, we decided to split the treatment of the mind and body. 

  • We created this idea. If we know how to think correctly, our mental health will be great. 
  • This was a wonderful attempt, but is not very effective in healing our mind because our mind and body are connected. 
  • Our bodies don’t know the difference between a physical wound or mental wound. Trauma can cause inflammation throughout different areas of the body. 
  • The link becomes obvious when we begin to work on our trauma.