Menstuff® has compiled the following information on trauma.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study

Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Questionnaire Finding your ACE Score
What’s Your ACE Score? (and, at the end, What’s Your Resilience Score?) (25 pages)
Take The ACE Quiz — And Learn What It Does And Doesn't Mean
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) - CDC
CDC-Kaiser ACE Study Learn more about the original study including ACE definitions, study demographics, and major findings.

BRFSS ACE Data Learn more about the BRFSS ACE module including ACE definitions, study demographics, and major findings.

How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime
The Effect of Trauma
The Mechanics of Trauma
The 3 Steps to Healing Trauma
A Letter


Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study

How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime

Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
Physical or emotional neglect
Parental mental illness
Substance dependence
Parental separation or divorce
Domestic Violence.

1. ACEs are incredibly common: 67% of the population had at least one ACE.
2. 12.6% (1 in 8) have 4 or more ACEs.
3. Those with four or more ACEs their risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was two and a half times those with an ACE score of zero.
4. Hepatitis also 2.5 times.
5. For depression 4.5 times.
6. For suicidality it was 12 times.
7. A person with an ACE score of 7 or more had triple the risk of lung cancer and 3.5 times the risk of ascetic heart disease, the number one killer in America.


How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime | Nadine Burke Harris

Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.

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The Effect of Trauma

Trauma may be episodic, or it may be cumulative. I have always been aware of the former, but have discovered the latter only in recent years.

The most traumatic events of my life occurred on November 9, 1938. This was the day when my father was arrested and shipped off to Buchenwald in a cattle car. It was that night when I witnessed the destruction of my home by a gang of Nazi thugs, and when I was expelled from the school where I had been the only Jewish student. The moment that is permanently branded in my consciousness is the instance when an axe was swung over my head, with the words, “Your time has come”.

Almost 70 years have come and gone since that day. I have “dealt” with my past in ways ranging from extensive psychotherapy to reconciliation with the past. And yet I am acutely aware that the events of November 1938 continue to impact my life, that the memories evoke tears at unexpected moments.

Here’s an example. The absence of my father on that dreadful night, coerced though it was, have left an abandonment wound that will never completely heal. I felt betrayed, as children often do by parental suicide, yet I realized that it would be unfair to “blame” him for something that was not only beyond his control, but that exposed him to his own terrible physical and emotional ordeals.

Even today, certain physical features of men can trigger fear responses in me. I feel safer with dark haired men than with blonds, those with brown eyes than with blue ones. In circles of men who are unknown to me, I tend to seek assurance that I am not being excluded.

So, even though I have largely overcome post-traumatic stress, now and then a threat – particularly one delivered with a German accent – can catapult me right back to the “scene of the crime.”
Source: Richard Wiener,

The 3 Steps to Healing Trauma - Awareness, Expression, Resolution

I recently realized what was missing in many emotional healing techniques - a systematic and comprehensive approach that would ensure that the three key aspects of the emotional healing process would be properly handled.

Since early 2001, I have engaged in a dedicated and intense research project with a wide range of emotional healing modalities. I have participated in numerous workshops and conferences on healing approaches and modalities, read countless books and articles, watched dozens of training videos and been trained and certified in a number of these modalities. I have discussed the process and methodologies of healing with many experts in the field, and had the techniques applied to myself as well as applied them to willing "clients".

I have attended the MKP Warrior weekend and sat in an I-Circle for more than 18 months. Some of what I discuss here relates to those experiences.

Thanks to my other income streams, and unlike many people involved in the healing arena, I have not approached it as a way to gain a living, and this has enabled me to easily abandon techniques that do not work well in favour of those that do. I did not hang up a "shingle" as healer, mainly because I was not satisfied with the results in both myself and others with most of these systems.

Drawing on my background of more than 20 years in systems analysis, I watched for patterns and what underlying structures existed in these healing techniques. While I do not consider the research project complete, a clear picture has emerged concerning the emotional healing process and what steps are involved, in addition to how well many methods achieve their stated healing goals.

There are many excellent methods and processes which help people uncover their emotional pain and many that allow a good expression of that pain, but few properly addressed the final step - resolution of that pain, so one can live free of it.

My research reveals that there are three steps one needs to take for healing to be complete.

Step One - Awareness

Before one can remedy something, we need to know what it is that we are remedying. We need to be aware of it, and this awareness needs to be at a deep level, not just a surface-level idea of what is there. For example, if one feels fear arise around speaking in a group, it is important to follow that fear and see if it is linked to another emotion or feeling. Exploring that fear in depth could result in one finding that underneath that fear is a feeling of not being good enough to speak in public, or that he or she will be rejected as a person because his or her ideas will be considered inadequate, and then one will be abandoned by the group. This is just an example, but it does illustrate how stopping at the feeling of fear would mean one misses out on being aware of the other, related feelings of abandonment, inadequacy, rejection, etc..

I recently guided a woman through a healing session in which she started off feeling sad. As she healed the sadness, other emotions naturally arose without prompting (feeling hurt, not being able to forgive herself, feeling guilt) until we uncovered a feeling of shame. This shame was linked to an early childhood incident, which she had suppressed thinking or feeling about for close to 50 years. Once she healed that feeling of shame, a great feeling of release came over her - she had been holding onto that shame feeling for so long and now it was freed. The other feelings still needed to be healed, as they had only been identified and partially healed on the path to uncovering that feeling of shame.

(I have had the same results with men doing their healing work, so this phenomenon is not gender biased, although women are often seen as having easier access to their emotions. The men in my I-Circle have just as easy an access and some of them have used the approach mentioned here with great results.)

Fortunately, there are a number of good approaches to exploring our feelings, and as long as they are respectful of the timing, safety, and support that we need to delve into these sometimes murky and potentially scary places, most of them allow us to identify the primary feelings and those lurking underneath, no matter how long that discovery process takes.

A common question that arises is why anyone would want to get rid of feelings or fix them. Unfortunately, that's the wrong question, as it assumes that there is a desire to be free of emotions. The real question would be, "For how much longer do you want your emotions and feelings to overwhelm you and prevent you from living your life in the manner that is most resourceful to you?"

There is a world of difference between eradicating emotions and feelings, and having a healthy relationship with them, where they arise and subside naturally, without causing you excessive distress. This is also different from suppressing or denying them, which is often the underlying approach to techniques that talk about "controlling your emotions".

Step Two - Expression

Once we have identified a specific feeling or emotion that we want to work with, it is often helpful to express that emotion, both as part of the awareness deepening and the acceptance of it. Being able to talk to ourselves about a feeling is a good first step. We feel fear, for example, and instead of trying to avoid or deny that feeling, we notice that fear. If next we express it out loud, this can be a very powerful act. Just looking ourselves in the mirror or facing another man and saying the words "I feel fear", can be very liberating.

Taking this process of expression further, we would then express the words that describe the feeling to someone else. We need a good, patient listener who is not going to judge what we say, react to it, try to fix it or otherwise get involved in our experience of expressing the feeling.

As well, the importance of a safe environment to do this work is paramount - this would include a comfortable quite place where we will not be interrupted. If we feel safe enough, soon after the words start to flow will come other expressions of that feeling, which could include tears, shouting, sobbing, body sensations, etc..

Again, there are a number of methods which provide a safe context in which to express feelings.

Step Three - Resolution

The third step in healing an unresourceful emotion or feeling is to achieve some resolution around it. This resolution would include the following elements - a full exposure to the feeling, a diminishing of the intensity of the feeling to a level that is first comfortable and then truly absent, a feeling of peacefulness around the event or subject that triggered the feeling in the first place, and some insight into what was going on for us.

Most of the emotional healing methods I have examined and explored do not achieve all of these markers of success. Some try to immediately get an insight as to what caused the feeling and then use that insight to "think away the feeling", which is pretty close to willfully suppressing it. With this approach, it will almost certainly arise again another day.

Some try to put whipped cream on the cow patty, by "reframing" a painful incident through rationalizing about it, verbally minimizing it, putting a positive spin on it, etc. - this again merely shoves the feeling into a storage place, from which it will probably emerge at a later date.

Some methods place a lot of value on the expression phase, having people scream, punch pillows, kick their feet, etc. etc., but then do not actually resolve the underlying feeling. I watched in one workshop as a woman screamed at 5 different representatives of her pain - 5 people who played the role of her antagonist. By the end of the workshop she was exhausted, but her issues remained unresolved. The facilitators confused exhaustion of the participants after intense expression with resolution of problems.

Some methods attempt to quickly reduce the intensity of the feeling by use of physiological actions - having clients do lots of slow, deep breathing, for example, which is known to reduce tension in the body and induce feelings of relaxation and calmness. An effective method of curbing symptoms of distress is taking a deep breath and forcefully blowing out through a small hole in your mouth, letting your cheeks puff out. This puts pressure on the vagus nerve, which is one of the most important nerves in the body, and tells it to reset to a normal (calmer) state. But, this only provides temporary relief.

Attempts to "speed things along", which can include constant prompting of the client to "find another (deeper) feeling", often result in temporary relief but not resolution. The problematic feeling eventually returns.

I once filmed a "master healer" running a number of healing processes and declaring each to be successful. Unfortunately, in each case the client's problem returned within a few weeks, as the process actually only resulted in temporary relief.

Other techniques take advantage of the normal human desire to avoid pain and our built-in defense mechanism, disassociating, to simply further disassociate the client from the feeling. Again, this does not resolve anything, but just shoves it down further into the person's hiding places for uncomfortable feelings.

One truly unfortunate thing about techniques that do not provide resolution is that the client is often held responsible for the success or failure of the process. People are told things such as "you are not ready yet to heal this", "you are resisting the process", and "you need to do something else first before you can heal this".

There are a small number of techniques that I have found that incorporate processes to facilitate complete resolution of the unresourceful or excessive feeling.

Getting to resolution

Having watched hundreds of people try various healing processes, with varying degrees of success, I boiled down the results to these four essential elements of a long-term successful healing process. They are simple, practical and easy to look for:

* The client experiences full exposure to the feeling, for as long as it takes for resolution to occur - they remain fully associated. As this can be seen as counter-intuitive, given human nature to avoid pain and the large number of relief methods being promoted on the basis of being "quick and painless", one must overcome the tendency to run away from the feeling or pop back into your head and think about it instead of honouring it.

Having someone else guide you through a fully-associated process a few times makes it easier to eventually be able to do it on one's own, if desired. " Fully associated" means you feel the feeling, and are looking out through your own eyes, not watching yourself as if watching a movie.

* The feeling will diminish in intensity, first to a level that is comfortable and then dissolve completely. Many relief oriented processes stop once a comfortable intensity is reached. However, stopping prematurely can lead to the feeling being re-triggered, as it is not gone from the system, much like cancer can continue to spread if not eradicated.

* The amount of time needed for a feeling to diminish can vary tremendously, so patience is important and the classical 50 minute therapist's hour is often not conducive to complete resolution in a single session - it might take hours. There are techniques such as AER (Awareness Expression Resolution) which can assist in releasing traumatic feelings in a very short period of time, typically less than 15 minutes.

An important element here is that there is no attempt to make the unresourceful feeling go away or change - it is accepted for what it is, in each moment, and allowed to run its course until it dissolves of its own accord.

* Once the intensity of the feeling has been reduced to null, a new sense of peacefulness around the event or subject that triggered the feeling in the first place is reported. If that peacefulness is not present, it is likely that related feelings are present, and each in turn would be handled like the first, until the peacefulness arises.

* Some insight into what was going on for us, what meaning we can give to the fact we had strong feelings about an incident, can and often do arise after holding oneself in the peacefulness for a while. Trying to "figure out" the reason for a feeling before it has been healed is a purely mental exercise and does not address the actual feelings involved.

If the healing process you are presently trying does not give you long- lasting resolutions (the problem keeps resurfacing, despite the temporary relief you experience), you may want to look for someone to guide you through a properly run, fully associated session of a process such as AER. You may also "get lucky" with one of the processes that make you feel better temporarily, using "reframing", lots of deep breathing and other feel-good whipped cream, but true resolution comes from true honouring of the feeling, and that means staying in it until it dissolves of its own accord.

Many of the existing healing oriented methods could be improved and provide long lasting results if the concept of full association with the feeling was incorporated into them. As I continue this research, I find that positive results grow in number and intensity, so long as I keep present the three steps of complete healing and ensure that resolution is reached in each case.

At the same time, I am not surprised by the resistance to this concept of resolution I have encountered from some practitioners of traditional cognitive oriented therapies. The historical evidence supports the notion that emotional healing must take a long time. Of course, this is true because the methods being used generally pre-suppose a long period of healing and it then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Newer approaches, especially those which combine insights into the healing process from a number of fields, produce solid and long-lasting results in minutes rather than months. There are a growing number of these methods available and the proof is in the pudding - once one tries one and gets good results, it is easier to adjust the belief system. Remember to stay with the healing process until healing is complete, remaining in the feeling as fully as you possibly can.

It is often difficult for an emotional healing practitioner to watch someone else be in the depths of their pain without their own pain being triggered. However, once we have healed our own pain, it becomes far easier to patiently support those doing their 3 step healing work.
Source: Copyright Robert S. Vibert 2006/2007, all rights reserved. First published on May be freely distributed with this copyright notice intact.

The Mechanics of Trauma

New research reveals more about how the brain processes the kind of traumatic memories that result in posttraumatic stress disorder. Could these discoveries lead to better drug treatments?

What if there were a drug that could prevent the development of PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) in those at risk? A study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers new insight into how the brain processes traumatic memories. Researchers say these discoveries could lead to just such a treatment.

Scientists at McLean Hospital near Boston found that the surge of noradrenaline, a neurotransmitter released during stressful events, can cause the brain to consolidate traumatic memories in a way that can result in the vivid flashbacks that plague victims of PTSD. This information may be the key to developing a drug that interrupts that process and stops the disorder from taking hold in the minds of those at risk--like recent rape victims or soldiers who've experienced devastating battlefield events.

Newsweek'sTemma Ehrenfeld spoke to Vadim Bolshakov, director of the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory at McLean Hospital, about the research and how his team's work with rats could help prevent PTSD. Excerpts:

Q: The public became more aware of PTSD when we learned that Vietnam vets were having debilitating flashbacks and nightmares. Now soldiers home from Iraq are suffering too. How does PTSD develop-can any kind of trauma cause it?

Vadim Bolshakov: Any psychological trauma could lead to PTSD. In our lab, we model trauma by giving a rat a mild electric shock on the foot after a loud sound. The next time it hears the sound, it associates the sound with the shock and shows what we call a "fear response." It freezes or startles and we can measure a raised heartbeat. In a human being, a sound or smell can bring the painful memories back. The human being doesn't necessarily freeze or startle, but experiences other symptoms that are part of the fear response.

Q: You found that the release of noradrenaline leads to the formation of permanent memories linked to the fear response. How is noradrenaline different from adrenalin, the chemical that makes us feel excited before a race or speech?

Noradrenaline, which is released in the brain, has many complex roles, but one of them is to help us acquire memories with emotional significance. It's why you are likely to remember what you were doing on September 11, 2001. Adrenalin is a different chemical released by the adrenal glands, but often at the same times, when we are under stress.

Q: There's a lot of excitement about the idea that it might be possible to give people a drug in emergency rooms, soon after rapes and traffic accidents, for example, that would prevent the long-term fear association from forming.

Our study provides basic science support for that idea. Our data shows that manipulation of the noradrenaline system in the brain could be used to treat PTSD and it should be as soon as possible after the trauma. The medication now being used experimentally in emergency rooms is the beta adenoreceptor blocker propranolol, a hypertension drug. Prazosin is another interesting possibility. These drugs block the receptors that are activated by noradrenaline.

Q: Could these drugs work later, with distant trauma?

It's possible. We also know that each PTSD reaction is a recall of the painful memory. Drugs could be taken after a retriggering of the PTSD, when the memory is moving from short-term to long-term again. Some of the current medications for PTSD are antidepressants, which just remove anxiety secondary to the trigger of PTSD.

Q: Why don't we don't have flashbacks to positive memories like our first kiss when we're hyped up?

The release in noradrenaline affects the amygdala, which is mostly activated by bad memories. Positive memories are distributed within different brain regions.

Q: You did your research looking at slices of a rat's brain under a microscope. Wouldn't a human brain be very different?

The neural mechanisms are extremely similar, and you could see the same brain structure. You could locate the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with negative emotions. In our earlier study we showed that fear conditioning led rats to have more electrical currents coming to the amygdala. Looking at slices of the brain, we recorded the tiny electrical currents flowing between the neurons. This time, we injected the slices of brain with noradrenaline and measured the changes in the electrical currents. We found that by adding the noradrenaline, it takes less stimulus to create "LTP" or long term potentiation, when the increase in currents [in the amygdala] becomes long-term [which is associated with PTSD].

Q: What's the next step?

We want to inject the animals with blockers for noradrenalin receptors before fear-conditioning to see if that would suppress the creation of long-term memories. This would help us see whether drugs that block noradrenalin receptors in the amygdala could be helpful.
Source: Temma Ehrenfeld,

A Letter

My name is Thomas Greving/Royal Tiger of the Perfume River and I live in Alexandria, Virginia. I appreciate your heart felt sharing.

Fifteen years ago this Monday, I lost two friends, one whom I was very fond of in a similar situation that occurred in Blacksburg. My experience occurred on the campus of Indiana University. I was very close to being the final victim

In the fall of 2005, I attended the MKP Elder weekend in southern Indiana where I was finally able to visit the site and walk through my journey after thirteen years. A great deal of healing has taken place and some of it with my MKP and other gender communities here. However I have to share that I've also experienced some very disingenuous support among people who feel its their place to tell me "to get over it" This has put me into a place IMJ to sense a very deep, twisted warrior shadow within them.

The healing for me has taken many steps and has been at a very deep cost. In so much my ability to work, has prevented me to work full time. However I've also experienced moments of profound Grace from knowing God's love in such a deep and powerful level.

One thing I need to caution all. We all have our own spiritual and psychological DNA and when an event like this occurs. We all experience differently. Its important for each of us to respect the individual call to each person's healing and to be very aware of our own shadow that may be acting out.

Perhaps someday we could share more from our own experiences when we meet personally. For now I will share with you from my new intention and mission statement.

My intention is, from my King/Soverign, I bless myself, people and other living creatures by sharing my truth with compassion and without shame.

My mission is: I heal myself and the planet, by opening and receiving in my heart and soul, love, abundance, beauty and joy. And by sharing these gifts within communities. Take care my friend, and many blessings. Thomas Blair Greving/Royal Tiger of the Perfume River

Dear Reid:

As it's said, you never know until you know. Today is the anniversary of the homicide of my two friends. I had a good day yesterday, people at church kept coming up to me and telling me how good I looked. I facilitate a class on faith and fellowship, and I was to lead a discussion of Hinduism, but we decided to change the discussion to focus on the events at Virginia Tech. The energy was raw and honest, unlike the usual pleasant discussion we normally have.

I came home to my apartment yesterday and felt pretty good, even took about a two hour nap and felt great afterwards and went out for about a mile walk. I watched some television in the evening (Sherman's March) then went to bed feeling tired and peaceful. I woke up about 3:30 AM, but dreamt fairly well. The other day I dreamt about Susan and she told me that she loved me and something else, but as I was planting a field, ashes flew out of her and into me. I wrote the first coherent poem about my relationship with her since her death.

Then with this morning, I got up, checked my e-mail and did about an hour of yoga, and then journalized and ate some breakfast and went back to meditation and prayer. And fell into a depression, and prayed through it and continued to do so. I am behind two months rent, and may be facing eviction. But my prayers were more focused on accepting what I have been able to do the past fifteen years (instead of what I have not been able to do or accomplished),still I feel empty, even with a manuscript of a book, many new poems, and hundreds of people whom I loved.

I have some idea now how those veterans of World War II get all choked up about Pearl Harbor, or how some in our generation our moved by November 22, and JFK. We honor our veterans from that time and their walk. I want ours to be honored as well. Please respond my friend. (Are you attending the Lodge Keepers in Indiana in late May?) Blessings, Thomas Greving/Royal Tiger of the Perfume River

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