What is our common Language???


Hi All: In the Media section Val submitted a graphic called ACE-Network__Circlegraphic. On the Right she has a large circle entitled "Whatever you call it".  It that circle are multiple terms that potentially could be used by various groups to describe our common Language... I wanted to get a better discussion of how we should organize our common language so we can easily speak to each other and to others new to the subject.. Wondered what you all would think of and for suggestions so we can get a common language going... In a bit today I will put together some thoughts I have. Thanks Tina

Original Post

Okay here is my first attempt at a reply:


1. I believe there is a difference between whether we are discussing single onset trauma versus early onset chronic severe persistent trauma beginning in childhood.

  • Single onset adult trauma (such as a car accident ) or single onset childhood trauma (car accident or tornado) would result in classic PTSD (assuming the individual had not otherwise suffered past persistent chronic childhood trauma). 
  • Single onset trauma like a natural disaster would express itself differently whether the individual has a past hx of chronic childhood trauma. Rape in an otherwise well and non-abused adult female would likely produce PTSD not chronic re-victimization (and rape would also be much less likely in an adult without a history of childhood trauma).  
  • Individuals with a hx of chronic childhood abuse or adversity are at risk for adult rape or multiple other types of adult traumatic re-victimization and I do not consider this to be PTSD but a direct effect of what Dr. Bessel van der Kolk and Martin Teicher attempted to define as Developmental Trauma Disorder (only as an adult these things would be the adult manifestations of Developmental Trauma.  
  • The tx for DT is NOT the same as for single incident trauma -- PTSD.  That is where I believe there is a huge problem in language.  We cannot have a language when there is no word to define what is occurring. Thus with chronic, persistent, childhood onset trauma -- I call this developmental trauma. 

2. There is also the issue with adversity, adverse childhood experiences, stress and toxic stress. 


Will get back to this in a bit but wanted to start a discussion and my own thinking about the organization of this important topic. 








Thank you for this important post! I developed the circle graphic for ACEs Connection (posted by Val) along with the chart and spectrum attached here (for the AHWG Trauma & Resilience Toolkit Module). I would love to work with you more on improving these types of tools.


Ideas or examples from other members?


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Karen Clemmer (ACEs Connection Staff)