By: Jessica Hansen, CSW
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are events that take place when you are under the age of 18 and can have a significant effect on your life. ACEs are defined as prolonged exposure to traumatic events. These experiences can have a lasting impact on a person’s physical and mental health, leading to a range of issues. Knowing that you were exposed to trauma as a child and understanding that it is ok to get help can feel overwhelming. Luckily, there is a specific test used therapeutically that can identify childhood trauma and help you to start healing. Your therapist is trained to identify these and may use a test to help quantify what they have learned. This test has a list of possible traumas a person may experience, the result is added up and scored out of 10. The higher your score the more at risk you are for developing lifelong effects.
Examples of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)
- Abuse of any kind
- Physical or emotional neglect
- Separation or divorce
- Mental illness in the family
- Addiction in the home
- A family member in prison
- Witnessing abuse
Adverse childhood experiences can lead to many different effects. Research has shown that ACEs have even been linked to an increased risk of developing chronic illnesses in adulthood. Sadly, ACEs often go unrecognized and are not adequately addressed. Although it can be challenging to talk about traumatic experiences, seeking help as early as possible is essential.
Find Your Own ACE Score
Here is a resource that can allow you to see your ACE score and determine if seeking help is something that’s right for you or a loved one: https://stopabusecampaign.org/take-your-ace-test/.
Never Too Late to Address Your Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma
At Unified Family Therapy, we know that it’s never too late to seek help. Whether you are an adult and seeking help for yourself or getting help for a child who has had ACEs, our team of experienced and compassionate therapists is committed to helping clients work through their past and better their future. We recognize that ACEs can have unknown but lasting effects, every person is unique, and that’s why we offer personalized support. At Unified Family Therapy we have therapists who specialize in a variety of modalities.
If you’ve experienced ACEs, know that help is available. It’s never too late to start the journey toward better mental health. At Unified Family Therapy, we’re committed to helping you work through those experiences and prevent long-term negative consequences. We want to make a positive difference in your life.