The Last Taboo: Screening for Childhood Trauma

IMPORTANT: This blog is not a substitute for therapy, but provides evidenced-based education for the purposes of self-help, or to compliment the therapeutic process. ​ ​This blog is non-monetized.

By: Christina Crowe, Registered Psychotherapist 

Has someone figured out a way to go through psychotherapy with out talking about our childhoods yet? Nope, and there are really good reasons why. 

In therapy, there are a few different approaches (you might hear therapists refer to ‘modalities’ like Cognitive behaviour therapy or psychodynamic therapy), and sometimes you can deal with an immediate problem at hand without a huge delve into the past.

But when you want to more permanently solve a problem or heal a lingering ‘wound’, unearthing early developmental circumstances or the initial cause becomes necessary. (Disclaimer: you should only undertake to do so with someone who is both qualified to do so, and you trust and feel completely safe with). 

Do the trauma’s we experience in childhood actually follow us through adulthood? What qualifies as trauma? What if you don’t actually remember much of your childhood?

What one person of one generation would call a “tough” childhood, we might understand now as having been in fact, traumatic. And when it comes to preventative health care – including mental AND physical health – that is a pretty significant distinction. 

Education is everything and knowledge IS power.

​There can be so much freedom and progress in understanding why

This fantastic TED talk reviews the original ACE’s Study, its groundbreaking results and encourages all health care practitioners to screen for childhood trauma. Learning how to name those events that have shaped our lives and our health outcomes can be profoundly helpful. 

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris does a great job describing the study, and sharing why it’s important for health care practitioners in particular to think about changing their practices. locally, lately it seems stories of childhood abuse are more available and some stigma is falling away. 

I recently finished reading Breaking Away, a memoir of NHL player Patrick O’Sullivan’s devastating childhood experience at the hands of his abusive father. I could not put in down. Patrick tells his story in a way that any person who has experienced childhood abuse will instantly recognize: extreme isolation from community, not understanding why others did not help him, being emotionally isolated, being ashamed of the abuse and intuitively knowing to limit the amount you tell others for fear they would be too overwhelmed. Patrick’s experience goes one step further in that he also went back to confront the bystanders. I would recommend it to anyone who has experienced childhood abuse, if only to crack the isolation of that experience. 

The more we understand about what constitutes “trauma”, the better choices we’ll make, the more we’ll know about what to call it when we see it, when to tell someone, when to ask for help, and how to move forward. 


  • For more information about different types of childhood trauma, abuse, or neglect, check out Ontario’s Association of Children’s Aid Societies, or speak to a trusted friend, counsellor, therapist, community member. 
  • Our main Resources page has many links to helpful local support groups/programs, and even a FREE self-compassion meditation. 

​If you prefer talking to a human to help find the right therapist for you,Call 

905-584-8963,or email
(You can expect a reply within 24-48 hours, Mon-Fri, during regular business hours).

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Picture of ​Christina Crowe, H.BSc. MACP, RP

​Christina Crowe, H.BSc. MACP, RP

Registered Psychotherapist, Validated Clinical Supervisor, ADHD Therapist & Coach Podcast Host The Christina Crowe Podcast Christina is a Canadian Registered Psychotherapist, a member of CADDRA's Advocacy Committee and relentless mental health advocate. Christina believes great mental health information should be available to everyone, loves creating content that makes invisible things VISIBLE and finding new ways to bring healing experiences to as many people as possible.

1 thought on “The Last Taboo: Screening for Childhood Trauma”

  1. This post was really beneficial to peruse. I needed to say thank you for the central issues you have called attention to as they are edifying.


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