A Holistic Approach to Adverse Childhood Experiences

 Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) are formative events with a massive negative impact on the children that experience them, and ACEs are a major indicator of that child’s future physical and mental wellbeing. Children who have multiple ACEs while growing up are far more likely to experience life events with large negative impacts such as unplanned pregnancies, intimate partner violence, depression, suicide attempts, and sexual violence.


Unfortunately, ACEs are a vicious cycle that worsens as time goes on, which means that early treatment is critical for the healthy development of the exposed child. As children are exposed to ACEs they attempt to rationalize their experiences and develop coping methods, but they lack the more complete world view and mental maturity to create healthy solutions to their problems. Children that are repeatedly exposed to ACEs become withdrawn and sullen, which significantly hampers their cognitive development as they being to miss the normal social experiences they would have with their peers. This lack of social interaction can lead to them being ostracized by their peers and community, which can make it difficult for them to fit back in, and more importantly, get the support and care they need from those around them. Children who find themselves pushed to the fringes of their social groups or that come to be regarded as “problem children” will often act out in an attempt to get the attention they desire. This acting out leads to dangerous behaviors and attempts to fit in that can find themselves associating with dangerous people that will only increase their odds of picking up a destructive habit. Children repeatedly exposed to ACEs may start to smoke or consume alcohol from an early age, and these habits are especially damaging to an adolescent’s developing body.


The severity or risk of these outcomes rises as the number of ACEs a child is exposed to increases and the expected severity of these conditions also worsens with increased exposure. The effects of ACEs can be reversed, if the child and family seek therapy and make the widespread changes necessary to halt the ACEs. Most treatments however, don’t look at the big picture and instead focus on helping the child cope with the ever-increasing stress of repeated ACE exposure. At Colombia Wellness however, we use a holistic approach that seeks to not just help the child heal but solve the problems that cause the ACEs in the first place. ACEs are traumatic experiences that occur at home, and effective treatment seeks to minimize those factors by developing a plan-of-action that incorporates the household’s health. If just the child is treated than nothing gets fixed as the treatment only temporarily covers up the pain the child is experiencing, which will return when the next ACE. The best medicine treats the source of the problem, not the symptoms, and at Colombia Wellness we only offer the best treatment to our patients. Our highly trained and motivated staff is here to assist you with your mental health and to provide effective, compassionate care for you and your loved ones.

Michelle Heldchildhood, thearapy