Ways of being together are laid down in our minds and bodies the early weeks, months, and years of life. They become part of us; part of our DNA. Our earliest relationships sculpt our nervous system and the way our body responds to stress. The moment-to-moment mismatch and repair of early infancy is the material of which our self, with our own skin our own border is made. Survival of disruption, together with the joy of repair, creates trust, an essential ingredient of intimacy. We develop a confidence that when we feel bad, we won't always feel bad. This early experience builds a foundation of hope.
The talk was sponsored by Berkshire United Way, which is taking a lead in making our community "trauma-informed." Driving the movement to create "trauma-informed communities" is the powerful longitudinal Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study(link is external), showing the poor long-term outcomes of a range of experiences including not only abuse and neglect, but the more ubiquitous experiences of parental mental illness, marital conflict, and divorce. The greater the number of ACEs, the greater the likelihood of a wide range of negative physical, emotional, and social consequences.
An extensive body of research(link) shows us how these early experiences get into the body and the brain. But perhaps we need look no further than van der Kolk's opening video.My colleague in Scotland, Suzanne Zeedyk(link is external), who is taking extraordinary strides to make an entire country "trauma-informed" in large part through showings of the film Resilience about the ACEs study, began her work in the arena of public policy with a beautiful film, the connected baby(link). Both she and van der Kolk recognize that babies have an extraordinary capacity for connection and communication from the moment of birth.Â "ACEs" are experiences that violate that connection.
Link to full article.
Link to post summarizing Dr. Gold's Parenting with ACEs chat conversation and work.