In the mid 1980’s, Dr Vincent Felitti, a MD at the Kaiser Permanente Department of Preventative Medicine, ran a preventative program for obese patients to lose weight through a non – surgical support program. Even though the program was hugely successful, a large number of patients started to drop out of the program. He decided to investigate further and after interviewing the patients, they disclosed to him their traumatic childhood, often involving abuse. The over-eating was not the problem, it was an attempt to solve a problem. A solution to soothe the anxiety, fear and depression and to protect them from further pain.
The Kaiser Permanente Department of Preventative Medicine and CDC ran a program to further investigate and understand how childhood experiences might affect adult health. It involved over 17000 patients.
A questionnaire was conceptualized and designed to include 10 types of adversity, or Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) probing childhood and pubescent histories. These included:
Emotional and Physical stressors – a parent/caregiver making a child feel unsafe, shamed, humiliated, insulted, critised, physically hit, slapped, pushed, inappropriately being touched, sexual advances or penetration;
Feelings of isolation and not supported by the family, disconnection, family not providing protection, neglect including lack of shelter and food, no medical care;
Loss of a parent due to separation/divorce/death, witnessing parent being physically abused, parent suffering with alcoholism, drug addition, depression or any other mental problem, parent being suicidal, family member in prison
The ACE study was born! The findings exceeded everyone’s expectations. There was now a correlation between having a difficult childhood and facing an illness as adult.
“It was the missing piece as to what was causing much of our unspoken sufferings as human beings. Time does not heal all wounds. One does not just get over something – not even 50 years later. Time conceals. And human beings convert traumatic emotional experiences in childhood into organic disease later in life”
The ACEs is now used across the globe from the World Health Organisation to various other medical organisations to help screen for emotional distress and trauma.
What makes your alarm sensitive? What are your stressors and triggers? Can we heal our own trauma? Our bodies and mind have the ability to heal, repair and evolve with resilience and strength. Our inner wisdom to overcome adversity is within us all. It is through the process of Tre – Trauma and Tension Releasing Exercises, that can slowly discharge the hidden stories in our Pandora’s box and allow us to move on with grace and ease to a wholesome and connected life that we are blessed with.
View on Youtube – Dr Felitti – https://youtu.be/-ns8ko9-ljU