Monday, March 26, 2018

How Our Own ACEs Impact Trauma Work with Youth (guest post)

Catharine Hannay

I am honored to have the opportunity to write another guest post for the Center for Adolescent Studies blog.

Here's the introduction... 

While you were growing up:
  • Were your parents or caregivers unloving, unsupportive, or neglectful?
  • Were you threatened or abused?
  • Did you witness the abuse of one of your caregivers?
  • Did you live with anyone who had a mental illness or a problem with alcohol or drugs? 
These are all examples of ACEs, or Adverse Childhood Experiences. The term ACEs first appeared in a study of the relationship between childhood trauma and adult illness. 
Over the past few years, there’s been an increasing awareness of ACEs and interest in trauma-informed teaching and therapy. We should also keep in mind how much our own trauma histories may continue to impact those of us who work with youth. 
In her book on Trauma Stewardship, Laura van Dermoot Lipsky explains that

“Some people feel driven to work in a field that is connected to an earlier trauma in their life; consciously or not, they intend to master the haunting echoes of a previous time… The more personal our connection to our work, the greater the gifts we bring to it—perhaps. 
At the same time, the more we identify with the type of trauma we’re exposed to, the greater the impact on us may be… to the point that we experience their anguish in a debilitating way… 
We can sustain our work with trauma only if we combine our capacity for empathy with a dedication to personal insight and mindfulness.”

You can read the full post at:

Photo by Kat Smith from Pexels