Talking ACEs & Trauma: Favorite Videos

 

Oprah talked developmental trauma on 60 Minutes and introduced the world to the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study and ACE Quiz on national television.  

I’m still flying high and committed to 30 days of posts about developmental trauma from ACEs. However, it is time for some digital diversity and the brilliant and varied voices of ACEs experts.

These talks are all available online, for free, and can be understood whether one has a Ph.D. or PTSD – or both. Personally, I need to hear a lot of different people talking about the same subject before I can absorb and retain the content. All of this viewing and listening has informed me. I have watched some of these dozens of times. 

I find this information validating, motivating, shocking and kind of common sense as well – all at the same time. However, I’ve heard some find this information to be depressing, hard to listen to or accept.

Please know there are some links to resources below to further support your living, loving, parenting, and processing. Each of these experts has books, articles, websites, or businesses built around sharing ACEs science and research.

Persuasive Pediatrician: TedTalk: Dr. Nadine Burke Harris

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris with more time.

Go to the Source: Co-Principals of the ACE Study: Dr. Vincent Felitti / Kaiser Permanente

A tribute to Dr. Vincent Felitti can be found here and two talks given by him can be found here and here.

Dr. Robert Anda / Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) & ACE Interface

Dr. Survivor: Why ACEs Matter with Allison Jackson

“What if the largest public health discovery of our time, and maybe all time, was about the smallest of us?” Laura Porter on Neurobiology

Science Writer Talking Parenting & Healing from ACEs: Donna Jackson Nakazawa

Some hope?

Donna Jackson Nakazawa’s book Childhood Disrupted includes sections on parenting and healing as well as in-depth research about the ACEs study. If, like me, you are obsessed with research about ACEs and who is doing what and where with what Jane Stevens has coined ACEs Science, you want to go to ACEs Too High, the all-things-ACEs journalism site or join ACEs Connection (like Facebook for ACEs).

Disclosure:

I work for ACEs Connection. I have written for ACEs Too High. I continue to blog, speak, and write about ACEs because it inspires personal, parenting and system-wide social change that all of us need to be a part of. This is information parents, trauma survivors, and others are entitled to. 

We deserve the raw data, research and to hear from all kinds of experts - including each other. Too often, this content is made inaccessible. Too often these topics are discussed in clinical contexts or professional settings - as though it’s not stuff that impacts all of us in all parts of our life. YouTube and Ted Talks have helped changed that. Now, those of us who are living, breathing and dealing with past or present traumatic stress in our daily lives can hear directly from others all over the world. 

What we do with this information, once we have it, is entirely individual.

Maybe we’ll take the ACE quiz or share our ACE scores with loved ones. Maybe we'll bring it to appointments with medical providers or we will decide HELL NO and keep it private because we know... they can't even....

Maybe we don't trust providers enough to share our health and social history until we've developed trust in them or the larger system which employs them. There are reasons for caution. The system has often minimized, misunderstood, silenced and re-traumatized survivors.

That doesn't mean we can't use all of this knowledge. Maybe we’ll be inspired to do social change work or just eat better and go to the doctor more often. I know I've been changed for the better.

Maybe we'll get a crash course in systems change once free of the myth that we are just damaged and broken.

Maybe we'll learn to see how social justice issues become social determinants of health - which, for some of us, is shocking. And we'll understand that community trauma, structural and historical oppression are central to all conversations about ACEs and trauma. 

We can bring that work into our hearts, homes, families and communities.

I know we can all learn more about parenting and that no one has more power than parents to impact children.

We can also make it a social problem we address together, not just a personal one we "fix" in our families. We can help make it so that all kids can have the low-ACE advantage and live happier, healthier and longer – who doesn’t want for that??? 

Our individual impact, parent to parent, is unparalleled and having this public health knowledge in our hearts, minds, brains and families is change-the-world stuff.

Let’s keep the conversation going even after Oprah. 

#ACEs
#ToxicStress
#MeTooChildren

Note: This blog post is cross-posted to www.healwritenow.com

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Christine Cissy White posted:
Lisa Frederiksen posted:

This is terrific - THANK YOU, Cissy! 

To add to this conversation, an approach that was a huge help to my healing my ACEs was to track my family ACEs tree (parents, grandparents). It doesn't erase what was done to me, but it helps me appreciate that each and every one of them had their own ACEs and were parenting with ACEs, resulting in ACEs/trauma being carried across generations.

I'll be sharing your post widely!

Lisa

Lisa: I would love to see an ACE family tree graphic.  I was just talking with someone about survey as tool and how people can use it to consider how partner/parents might score. I agree, it is a huge shift to know that. Like you say, it does not change past but it does change things.... Or can  cis

I'm working on the ACE family tree graphic and accompanying post - it should be up soon

Lisa Frederiksen posted:

This is terrific - THANK YOU, Cissy! 

To add to this conversation, an approach that was a huge help to my healing my ACEs was to track my family ACEs tree (parents, grandparents). It doesn't erase what was done to me, but it helps me appreciate that each and every one of them had their own ACEs and were parenting with ACEs, resulting in ACEs/trauma being carried across generations.

I'll be sharing your post widely!

Lisa

Lisa: I would love to see an ACE family tree graphic.  I was just talking with someone about survey as tool and how people can use it to consider how partner/parents might score. I agree, it is a huge shift to know that. Like you say, it does not change past but it does change things.... Or can  cis

This is terrific - THANK YOU, Cissy! 

To add to this conversation, an approach that was a huge help to my healing my ACEs was to track my family ACEs tree (parents, grandparents). It doesn't erase what was done to me, but it helps me appreciate that each and every one of them had their own ACEs and were parenting with ACEs, resulting in ACEs/trauma being carried across generations.

I'll be sharing your post widely!

Lisa

You said it privilege does help mitigate the effects of ACEs. 'Not being in the child welfare, criminal justice, social service, mental health system' may have been the reason why I was able to pull myself out and heal.  In some ways, I feel fortunate that at least I had a home even if it was not always safe.  What about those kids who have to contend with not having a home or parents on drugs. One inspiring TED Talk that always lifts me up is 'Homeless To Havard' by Liz Murray. That's true grit.

Hi Cissy,

Yes, Yes, Yes to all you say. I like the NOT being in welfare, jail, institutions, foster care etc really are another layer on the protection side of the equation - the side in which the "absence" of traumatic things is actually helpful and it's not just about the presence of positive things. 

Let's be in touch and brainstorm. That would be great.

You can email me veronique@chronicillnesstraumastudies.com and we can exchange phone numbers or whatever works best

Veronique Mead posted:

Another great post Cissy, along with some resources I hadn't known of.

I've been contemplating creating a more detailed ACE survey for all the kinds of subtle trauma that are rarely recognized and that few think have happened to them but that are still risk factors for chronic health conditions and chronic illness. I have had some concerns about asking people to go down a potentially long list of traumas with such a survey. From a trauma-informed perspective, such a thing can be quite triggering.

But just as the 10 question ACE survey ends up being so eye-opening and therefore empowering to many, I keep coming back to the feeling that we need to know. Everyone needs to know. 

The more we all know, the more choices we have, the more we can make a difference - in our personal lives, our work lives, in our culture, our medical care, our judicial system and so much more.

And as you've mentioned in other posts, one of the reasons it's so helpful to know is that there are a lot of tools for working with / addressing / healing the effects of trauma and ACEs and minimizing or decreasing risk because of what's happened in the past.

I especially like what you say re:

"We deserve the raw data, research and to hear from all kinds of experts - including each other. Too often, this content is made inaccessible. Too often these topics are discussed in clinical contexts or professional settings - as though it’s not stuff that impacts all of us in all parts of our life. YouTube and Ted Talks have helped changed that. Now, those of us who are living, breathing and dealing with past or present traumatic stress in our daily lives can hear directly from others all over the world. 

Thank you!! Have fun with your 30 day series / challenge!!

Veronique:

I'd love to talk to you more about this and brainstorm. Wearing my Parenting with ACEs hat, I think there are ways to present the info. as info., based on the ACEs survey but which allow for expansion and including more and that it's important and can benefit people even when shared on social media.

I think including more of what people live with and through as kids is great. I think we can't assume that people will make the connection that all types of loss, grief, not feeling safe in skin, home and community are stressors and the more cumulative and constant, the more of a burden. I say that but I actually did assume that we could all just extrapolate and make some assumptions based on the robust research and all the follow-up research done. Many have said, NOPE, not true. So, having a more comprehensive survey or info. sheet makes sense. I'd LOVE to see what you come up with if you move forward on this.  

To me, it's even more important to have the wider context in which people experience ACEs as kids and adults made clear. Some of us have high ACEs but also privilege which protects us from being in the system as kids and adults and impacts how we were treated. Not being in the child welfare, criminal justice, social service, mental health system - for a lot of people - is actually the most protective thing possible because it spares one of having hard be harder, bad being worse and trauma turning into further re-traumatization.

Many are dealing with the developmental trauma of childhood, which is really hard, but not the piling up and layering of betrayal by many systems on top of it. Those are not the same experiences and I think we have to deal with that, first, and far more often, rather than worrying as much about who is triggered by the ACE survey or how much. Power differentials and past history are way more triggering, obvious, dangerous and rarely stated, noted or acknowledged. But all that shapes if/how people open up, how people hear and share. To create more to create trauma-informed care, communities or framework I think it's professionals who need to get a fuller understanding of all childhood ACEs, of course, but even more so the ways the system has so often failed to be fair, just or healthy for so many.  I think we might only be changing what we call the work of systems rather than doing the work of changing systems. 

At the same time, in the meantime, and ASAP, we still get all of the ACEs-related research and data directly to people. We do it deliberately outside of the systems as well, allowing parents and survivors, especially to do with it what we will (or not) and create our own narratives (or not) about what it means. For us, we already are living with the impact as survivors and have incredible power, as parents, to limit the reach of the past. We don't have to wait for systems to change to use the data and research to change ourselves and the system. 

That was super long and said only as my opinionated self. I appreciate your work so much and am grateful to dialogue with you in the comments! Cissy

Another great post Cissy, along with some resources I hadn't known of.

I've been contemplating creating a more detailed ACE survey for all the kinds of subtle trauma that are rarely recognized and that few think have happened to them but that are still risk factors for chronic health conditions and chronic illness. I have had some concerns about asking people to go down a potentially long list of traumas with such a survey. From a trauma-informed perspective, such a thing can be quite triggering.

But just as the 10 question ACE survey ends up being so eye-opening and therefore empowering to many, I keep coming back to the feeling that we need to know. Everyone needs to know. 

The more we all know, the more choices we have, the more we can make a difference - in our personal lives, our work lives, in our culture, our medical care, our judicial system and so much more.

And as you've mentioned in other posts, one of the reasons it's so helpful to know is that there are a lot of tools for working with / addressing / healing the effects of trauma and ACEs and minimizing or decreasing risk because of what's happened in the past.

I especially like what you say re:

"We deserve the raw data, research and to hear from all kinds of experts - including each other. Too often, this content is made inaccessible. Too often these topics are discussed in clinical contexts or professional settings - as though it’s not stuff that impacts all of us in all parts of our life. YouTube and Ted Talks have helped changed that. Now, those of us who are living, breathing and dealing with past or present traumatic stress in our daily lives can hear directly from others all over the world. 

Thank you!! Have fun with your 30 day series / challenge!!

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