Being that adverse childhood experiences are common and lead to lifelong challenges in the overall development and health of the individual the importance of understanding how to work effectively with this clientele cannot be understated (CDC, 2016).  As a clinician in mental health it is imperative to understand how adverse childhood experiences can influence the overall development, health and wellbeing of an individual. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE) was a joint effort between the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente. Over 17,000 Kaiser patients participating in routine health screening volunteered to fill out a short, 10 question, assessment regarding their experiences in early childhood.

To say that the results were astounding is an understatement.

The ACE study showed that adverse childhood experiences strongly correlate to the development of risk factors for disease and well being thought life. As you can see from the image above, adverse childhood experiences create a strong probability for lifelong developmental challenges, high-risk behaviors eventually culminating in early death. Developmental trauma is as exposure to severe stressors that is repetitive and prolonged and involves harm or abandonment by caregivers or other ostensibly responsible adults which occurs at developmentally vulnerable times in the victims life, such as early childhood or adolescence (Courtois & Ford, 2009).   Developmental trauma, sometimes referred to as complex trauma, is the diagnostic label we use to identify the mosaic, multi-layered array of presenting symptomatology found in survivors of adverse early childhood expereinces. Currently, the DSM-5 does not provide an adequate diagnostic category for these individuals presenting challenges in and of itself.

As a clinician working with complex trauma doesn’t have to be complex.

Unlocking the Self: Keys to Treating Complex Trauma is a conceptual framework for integrating distinctive trauma treatment methodologies in a structured, predictable manner. Highlights from a variety of key methods including EMDR, trauma sensitive movement, Internal Family Systems and neurofeedback are included.  You do not need to have training in any of the above mentioned trauma treatment modalities to benefit from this model. Clinicians looking for a way to conceptually integrate a variety of trauma treatment methods, in a predictable and structured format will benefit from this presentation and receive practical techniques for utilizing this conceptual framework in their own work.

Come join me on March 3, 2017 for a full day training on how to work with complex trauma survivors!  Space is very limited.  

Also, don’t miss the follow up consultation group!

I look forward to connecting with you. Be well,






Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Adverse Childhood Experiences. Retrieved from:

Courtois, C., & Ford, J. (2009). Defining and Understanding Complex Trauma and Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders. In C. Courtois & J. Ford (Eds.), Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorders: Scientific Foundations and Therapeutic Models (pp. 13-30). New York, New York: Guilford Press.

Looking for Help for Your or Your Teen?

Looking For Training In Complex Trauma?