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ACE Scores: The Link between Physical Health and Childhood Trauma

If you are here on my blog, I assume you are interested in understanding preverbal trauma, PTSD or Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and ways we survivors learn to heal ourselves. If you haven’t yet heard of the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Questionnaire, it’s time you did, for it provides valuable, revolutionary information about how early trauma affects the development of the brain, mental health outcomes, and physical outcomes. Watch the TED Talk by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, a pediatrician, founder of the Center for Youth Wellness, and author of The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-term effects of Childhood Adversity by clicking on this link: <>.

The ACE score questionnaire, which Dr. Harris discusses, is available on the following link from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, “one of the largest and oldest judicial membership organizations in the nation . . . serv[ing] an estimated 30,000 professionals in the juvenile and family justice system” ( <>.

One concern that I have is that the ACE Questionnaire does not seem to address whether someone experienced preverbal trauma, such as an invasive medical procedure, a life-threatening illness, or a separation from his or her primary caregiver. Moreover, there is no ACE question that pertains to one’s understanding of the life of one’s mother while pregnant. I will, however, withhold judgment until I finish reading Dr. Harris’ book, for I see in Appendix 2 another questionnaire, the CYW ACE Questionnaire, which is “To Be Completed by Parent/Caregiver,” which may address my concerns. Stay tuned.


"Becoming a Trauma-conscious Society"

is slow, but we are moving in this direction. What do I mean by a trauma-conscious society? The phrase, coined by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk in his book The Body Keeps the Score, has to do with understanding that many individuals are suffering from trauma due to conditions and situations of all sorts and that punishment… Continue Reading

Re-enactment is Real

What is re-enactment?  Before I reach for Dr. Peter Levine book Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma to give the official definition, I’ll have a go at it myself. Re-enactment is an unconscious attempt made by someone with unresolved trauma to resolve it. For example, the date of one’s car accident arrives, an accident that resulted in… Continue Reading

Bessel van der Kolk on the radio: A Must-Hear Interview

Click on this link to hear a fantastic interview with Bessel van der Kolk (choose the edited version) about trauma and the need for treatment that reconnects a trauma survivor with his or her body. He is interviewed by Krista Tippett on the program “On Being.” I resonated with everything van der Kolk had to say… Continue Reading

Can We Free Ourselves from PTS Prison?

Talking with folks about PTS, those who have it and those who don’t, I get the feeling that, in general, people believe that those with PTSD will just have to live with it the rest of their lives. Or, folks are a tiny bit hopeful that they or someone can change but don’t really believe… Continue Reading