Book Review - The Deepest Well by Dr Nadine Burke Harris – Trauma in children

Adverse Childhood Experiences impact a child's physical and emotional health. This book explores the link and issues.

I came across this book after watching a fantastic TED Talk by Dr Nadine Burke Harris on the impact of Child Trauma.  Her book, The Deepest well, Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity looks in detail at how childhood adversity can have on physical health and the increased risks this creates.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) identified are:-

·      Emotional abuse

·      Physical abuse

·      Sexual abuse

·      Physical Neglect

·      Emotional Neglect

·      Substance abuse in household

·      Mental Illness

·      Violent behaviour between parents

·      Divorce and Parental Separation

·      Criminal behaviour in the household

The book examines stress responses and how it can go wrong and the impact this can have on the body, particularly for children. The research has shown, the higher the ACE score, the greater the risk to the child’s health due to the stress hormones and stress response on children during development.  It is suggested that the impact of child adversity gets stuck under our skin changing our body, impacting inflammation, hormones and the way DNA is read and how cells replicate.  This is a biological process as well as impacted by surroundings, nurture and parenting.

The book also contains an interesting medial digest including the impact of toxic stress and the impact on the immune system.  

As a family mediator, involved in family law and family separation for the last 20 years I often see the immediate impact that divorce and separation can have on children, especially when done through litigious, aggressive court proceedings.

Dr Burke Harris believes our children deserve better.  So do I. Have a read and see if you agree.

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