Oprah Winfrey Talks About Childhood Trauma Treatment.

The video which I provide a link to below features Oprah Winfrey talking about the vital importance of understanding, and treating, the adverse effects of childhood trauma on individuals’ mental health, physical health and life chances in general.

It opens with Oprah talking to one of the world’s leading experts on developmental trauma, Bruce Perry PhD, who explains how young children are particularly sensitive to the ill-effects of dysfunctional environments due to the brain’s extreme plasticity / neuroplasticity in early life.

He explains that just as a baby’s / infant’s brain is super-sensitive to linguistic input (nearly all learn language easily and naturally even though they are not making a conscious effort to do so due to the early brain’s sponge-like absorption of the words, grammar etc. they are exposed to) so, too, are they super-sensitive to any dysfunction that is going on around them (e.g. domestic violence, maternal stress / anger / rage, neglect etc.).

Similarly to how the young brain absorbs language, it absorbs these dysfunctional elements of its environment which, in turn, potentially adversely affect the development of their malleable and highly ‘plastic’ brains which, in its turn, sets the stage for the potential later development of behavioral, emotional and social problems.

In relation to this, Oprah Winfrey talks about the importance of understanding the roots of dysfunctional behavior in children, adolescents and adults (i.e. the adverse effects of their early environments on brain development) that might make themselves apparent in a whole host of ways (e.g. problems controlling anger, alcoholism, proneness to violence, inability to hold down a job etc.) and of treating such individuals using trauma-informed therapy.

During the interview, Oprah Winfrey also discusses why some children appear to be more resilient to trauma than others and the fact that one key to such resilience is to have at least one relationship which is emotionally supportive (the example given is that of a supportive school teacher though it could be a counsellor, god-parent or other caring and responsible person).

To read about the seminal study on the effects of childhood adverse experiences (ACEs) on mental and physical health in later life, click here to be taken to my article entitled : Childhood Trauma : The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study.

Anyway, here’s the link to the video : https://www.cbsnews.com/news/oprah-winfrey-childhood-trauma-ptsd-60-minutes-report/

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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About David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)

Psychologist, researcher and educationalist.

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