Regarding the discussion over whether using the ACE form could possibly be detrimental unless there is adequate access to treatment, the ACE assessment has been part of my intake paperwork for over 15 years and no one, civilian or military, has ever made a negative comment about it. Rather, they've stated it's a relief to finally understand the blueprint of cause/effect holding them hostage to emotional patterns, triggers, panic attacks, phobias, addictions, hoarding, obesity, and all manner of destructive and hurtful relationship auto repeats. Knowing, often for the first time, that "it's not what's wrong with you it's what happened to you" is the essence of empowerment especially for complex PTSD clients and combat veterans. In rural areas where conventional treatment may be limited, there is highly effective online treatment available by experienced providers, many of whom are also conventionally trained and credentialed, at To review the research, click on the Resources tab.  


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Yes, I'm familiar with those techniques and have successfully used some of them and EMDR. The point I was making was that the trauma timeline looks like it could be useful for people who have had one or a handful of traumatic experiences. I don't see how it would be useful for survivors of traumas that are too many to recall.

Hi Darby,  I'm sorry this happened to you. In cases like yours, you would put down maybe 2 or 3 charged memories using the ACES categories as a guide. The charge on those would be treated to a zero or as close to zero as we can get at the beginning. Then treatment would move to other memories that come up, and when the charge is down significantly, treat the pattern, such as "All the times and all the ways I never felt safe" or a statement like that. Cases that meet the criteria for complex PTSD need to be handled slowly so as to avoid re-traumatization, which is common with techniques such as EMDR and Prolonged Exposure that the VA uses. I use a 3-step protocol starting with EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, which is acupressure tapping, that releases the trauma gently and permanently. What's fascinating about EFT and the other methods in the field of "energy psychology," is that we don't have to treat every single memory. Often, treating 2-4 will collapse the entire circuit on a particular traumatic theme. If you're not familiar, take a look at some of the EFT videos on YouTube. EFT is self-applied, however, people dealing with complex trauma should have an experienced practitioner to guide and support them. You can find a practitioner at

Eric Gentry, Ph.D., LMHC, the co-author of the Trauma, PTSD, Grief & Loss: The 10 Core Competencies for Evidence-Based Treatment (PESI, 2017) articulates the use of trauma narrative in a similar manner as the timeline and he has an impact of event scale (IES) that I find helpful when combined with ACE assessment.

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