Trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can have a huge impact on behaviour and learning. Darren Martindale advises how we can identify these problems and offer support

Trauma is derived from the Greek, meaning wound. But of course, not all wounds are physical. Psychological trauma (as distinct from physical trauma) can be defined as a type of damage to the mind that occurs as a result of a severely distressing event.

Not all stress is bad and we have built-in mechanisms to help us cope. Also, the experience of traumatic events, and reactions to them, can vary greatly from person to person – not all who have experienced a traumatic event will be traumatised.

Sometimes, however, negative experiences can fundamentally affect the functioning of the brain. These experiences can “live on” within the individual in a very powerful, embodied way and may be experienced as flashbacks, nightmares or repetitive, negative thoughts or feelings.

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