Reducing adverse effects of childhood Stress and trauma

Ortiz, Robin, and Erica M. Sibinga. “The Role of Mindfulness in Reducing the Adverse Effects of Childhood Stress and Trauma.” Children, vol. 4, no. 3, 2017, pp. 16. Full text.

Abstract. Research suggests that many children are exposed to adverse experiences in childhood. Such adverse childhood exposures may result in stress and trauma, which are associated with increased morbidity and mortality into adulthood.

In general populations and trauma-exposed adults, mindfulness interventions have demonstrated reduced depression and anxiety, reduced trauma-related symptoms, enhanced coping and mood, and improved quality of life. Studies in children and youth also demonstrate that mindfulness interventions improve mental, behavioral, and physical outcomes.

Taken together, this research suggests that high-quality, structured mindfulness instruction may mitigate the negative effects of stress and trauma related to adverse childhood exposures, improving short- and long-term outcomes, and potentially reducing poor health outcomes in adulthood. Future work is needed to optimize implementation of youth-based mindfulness programs and to study long-term outcomes into adulthood.

Meditative dialogue with survivors of complex childhood trauma

Lord, S. A. (2013). Meditative Dialogue: Cultivating Compassion and Empathy with Survivors of Complex Childhood Trauma. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 22(9), 997-1014. Abstract

Complex childhood trauma often affects the capacities of survivors to experience empathy and compassion toward themselves and others. Recent mindfulness literature recognizes meditation as an evidence-based practice that is able to change the brain, increasing one’s capacities for empathy and compassion.

This article offers an exploration of selected literature on complex childhood trauma and on mindfulness practices related to the development of compassion and empathy. A case study illustrates the use of a meditative dialogue practice in psychotherapy with a survivor of complex childhood trauma that serves to increase her ability to have empathy and compassion for herself and others.