Healing Is Possible

 

I devoted half of my book, Childhood Disrupted, to science-based interventions on how individuals can heal from the effects of ACEs. Here are some of the basics.

Here are some really important healing steps we can all take – which the science shows can help reverse the changes to our brains and DNA that might have occurred, growing up with ACES

Writing to heal. Research shows individuals who write about emotional upheavals and stressful experiences for 20 minutes each day, over a period of four days need less medical care, have fewer doctor’s visits, show positive changes in immune function they also have improved stress biomarkers, improved cardiovascular health, reduced symptoms in asthma, reduced pain levels in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis -- and students’ grades even improve.

Practicing Mindfulness Meditation is perhaps the best method for repairing the brain. Patients who practice mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindful breathing show increased gray matter concentration in the hippocampus, as well as in other brain regions involved in learning and memory, emotional regulation, their sense of the physical self (somatic experiencing and pain), emotional perception, interpretation, and perspective.

They also show changes in genes that regulate the stress response and oversee output of inflammatory hormones, which is pretty amazing.

Other important mindful practices include Loving-Kindness and Forgiveness Practices. Movement Practices -- Yoga, Exercise, Tai Chi, Qigong – also help shift the stress response in helpful ways.

But often we need the help of an expert to unpack our story, and find a new healing narrative. Therapeutic modalities including Talk Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, Neurofeedback, EMDR Therapy are all great therapeutic approaches ...

Everyone finds what works best for them. These approaches can help take the charge out of our memories and increase our ability to be present and mindfully aware – while helping us to create new, healthier ways of reacting to the world.

Half of my book, Childhood Disrupted, is devoted to how we can heal, including stories of the over a dozen people I followed for two years, who had experienced high #ACEs in childhood, who did find extraordinary healing, despite childhood trauma. 

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The main point is this: no matter how old you are – or how old your child may be, there are scientifically supported and relatively simple steps that you can take to reboot the brain, create new pathways that promote healing and come back to who it is you were meant to be.

This piece I wrote may be helpful too.“8 Ways People Recover from #ACEs.” New research leads to new approaches with promising benefits. https://www.psychologytoday.com/…/8-ways-people-recover-pos…

Here’s one easy thing to do. Research shows that simply taking the ACE Survey, finding your own ACE Score, understanding the relationship between your past childhood adversity, and the role it may play in your present adult health struggles, can change people. How?

Research done by Dr. Vincent Felitti, who is the original co-author of the ACE Study, has shown that simply taking the ACE Survey can help set a healing response in motion.

In Felitti’s study of 125,000 patients, those individuals who were given the ACE Survey by medical practitioner and whose medical practitioner listened to them as they shared the emotional pain they’ve lived with all their lives and acknowledged that patient’s emotional and physical pain, and validated the link between their past trauma and their current chronic conditions, showed a 35% reduction in doctor’s visits, and fewer hospital stays.

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Many people with ACEs have never had their pain validated. And understanding that there exists a biological connection between what they experienced in childhood, and the physical and mental health issues they face now, can help set them on a healing path, one where they begin to find new ways to take care of themselves, and being new healing modalities. I’ve shared everything I learned in three years of researching and reporting on #ACEs in #ChildhoodDisrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How You Can Heal.

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I hope it’s helpful to those who are suffering and who feel they are swimming against a seemingly impossible tide of physical and mental health issues. Help is out there.

healis

For more Information:

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Donna, thank you for your post. I was wondering if you could provide more information on this paragraph: 

"In Felitti’s study of 125,000 patients, those individuals who were given the ACE Survey by medical practitioner and whose medical practitioner listened to them as they shared the emotional pain they’ve lived with all their lives and acknowledged that patient’s emotional and physical pain, and validated the link between their past trauma and their current chronic conditions, showed a 35% reduction in doctor’s visits, and fewer hospital stays."

I often hear from people I work with (am providing training to) that they are concerned about asking about ACEs because they fear it will cause more harm than help. I am always looking for research to counteract that argument. If you have a specific journal article that this was in, that would be really helpful! I would love to be able to cite this statistic. And it is important to recognize that it was practitioners who listened and validated the patient experience that saw an improvement in outcomes.

Dear Donna,

I now realize (after reading your post) that the mere fact of finding out my ACE score, has set in motion my own healing process. I’ve just written my thesis about attachment in the Netherlands, and it’s relatively new there. I hope to be able to order your book soon.

Thank you for knowing and sharing!!

Your book was the first time I felt ACEs knowledge pulled all together for me and I’ve referenced it repeatedly during my doctoral work. It’s such an important message- to know you can heal. Thank you.

What I want people to know about Neurofeedback, specifically:  it is non verbal, with zero "efforting."  No retraumatization through retelling. 

Very early trauma is often stored in the right brain where TF-CBT will not reach it.  Therapies like Neurofeedback, Somatic Experiencing, and EMDR are entirely different than "talk" therapy. 

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