What does it take to improve a city’s economic plight? To curb its violence? Or to bring the crime rate down and graduation rates up? There’s a good chance the answer will depend on the experiences and expertise of the person you’re asking.
However, there is now one, highly influential, voice to help unify our thinking about the underlying cause of the vast majority of social and health problems.
On Sunday, March 11, Oprah Winfrey will present a 60 Minutes segment that explores the long-term effects of childhood trauma. In the segment, she talks with Tim Grove, SaintA Chief Clinical Officer and our former client, Alisha Fox, a brave young woman willing to speak her truth so that trauma – and resilience – can come into the light.
Understanding How Trauma Affects Us
Oprah also talks with Dr. Bruce Perry of the ChildTrauma Academy. In a promotional interview on CBS This Morning, Oprah and Dr. Perry share this exchange about the developing body’s neurobiological response to trauma:
Oprah: “If you are a child raised in an environment of chaos, uncertainty, violence, neglect, [your brain is] being wired differently.”
Dr. Perry: “And, typically in a way that makes you more vulnerable [and with] much higher risk for mental health problems, much higher risk for doing poorly in school.”
Oprah: “Or, for just functioning in the world.”
A Voice for Trauma Informed Care
Oprah goes on to say, “[This has] definitively changed the way I see people in the world.” From how she runs her school in South Africa, to where she focuses her philanthropic efforts, Oprah says she will first focus on understanding a person’s underlying trauma.
She quotes one of the main tenets of trauma informed care, which is not to look at a child and ask, “what’s wrong with you?” but rather, “what happened to you?”
In our work, that’s exactly the perspective shift needed to help children, families, and eventually, communities, begin to heal.
We are so pleased and grateful for the attention Oprah and 60 Minutes bring to the important topics of trauma and healing. We look forward to watching the full 60 Minutes segment on Sunday and hope you will watch it and share your thoughts with us too.
Trauma Informed Care at SaintA
The Seven Essential Ingredients (7ei) are at the foundation of our vision to help all children and families thrive. Read about our introductory, advanced and train-the-trainer 7ei trainings.