Dr. Vincent Felitti, MD again joined our SoCal (Southern California) ACEs Group March 7 for our alternate-month San Diego meeting. He’s shown with author-activist Morgan Rose (details below). I felt so grateful.
Earlier March 7 we began with the alternate-month meeting of the San Diego Trauma-Informed Guide Team (SD-TIGT), on what we can do to create a trauma-informed and ACEs-informed society. The mission of SD-TIGT is to promote the development and provision of trauma-informed services in San Diego County’s agencies and systems by collaboration, advocacy and education to achieve transformation. Leaders discussed training community leaders and a trauma-informed care workforce.
Several focused on making trauma recovery “consumer-driven.” They reported success with it after forming committees of parents, youth, and other clients to do peer-led trauma-prevention training and learn empathic methods help each other and help children to recover. We also discussed the latest brain science on Developmental Trauma by MDs Bessel van der Kolk, Bruce Perry, and Daniel Siegel. Perhaps San Diego County might create a Trauma Remediation Center modeled on Dr. van der Kolk’s Trauma Center in Boston and Dr. Perry’s ChildTrauma Academy in Houston?
SoCal ACEs meeting
Next, SoCal ACEs met separately. Dr. Felitti related his efforts since the 1990s to promulgate the ACE Study results in the U.S. and worldwide medical literature, traveling to Washington to meet personally with Senators, traveling the world and beating the drum generally with policy leaders. He repeated his hope to see an article in The New Yorker about the ACE Study, “because my wife says that if policy leaders are too busy to get it, this way maybe their wives will pick up on it and get active.”
Dr. Felitti emphasized his vision that now we need to communicate directly to the hearts of the public “grassroots,” in ways that meet people “where they are” (that’s trauma-informed). He’d like to see a popular TV series, maybe a soap, depicting attached, loving parenting in one story thread, versus an ACE childhood and what that does to people in another thread. He thinks it would hit average viewers directly in the heart where it counts. He’d like to see movies, too. “Look at Sesame Street, ” he said; it shows a TV series or film that really speaks to ordinary folks can be lucrative.
Dana Brown, Project Director of San Diego’s Trauma-Informed Community Schools (TICS), briefed us on their grassroots efforts. Funded by The California Endowment, it’s a systems-change initiative in densely-populated City Heights. TICS goes deep in the community to support parent and youth leadership and school staff where they work and live; it’s “place-based.” Dana (left) helps a student leader with kids at Cherokee Point Elementary.
Click here for Jane Stevens’ incredibly moving report “At Cherokee Point Elementary, kids don’t conform to school; school conforms to kids.” Tears of sorrow and joy…
TICS programs help community leaders discover their strengths and empowers them, creating leaders who sustain themselves by advocacy and efficacy. San Diego State University support TICS inter-generational mentoring by training community leaders in child/family development, in-home health, and more. Parent leaders have led four “Train the Trainer” Workshops including three on trauma-informed methods since Oct., 2013. See the ACE Study in action, with all the science and the heart, in Dana’s educational report at: TICS programs at Cherokee Point (second item under Dr. Felitti).
Morgan Rose, MS, founder of America’s Angel (with Dr. Felitti at top), told us about her America’s Angel Campaign, a national initiative to end ACEs and promote education about the ACE Study. Its board includes top psychologists and trauma-informed leaders such as James Sporleder, former Principal of Lincoln High (see Jane Steven’s Huff Post “Lincoln High School’s ‘Out of School Suspensions’ reduced by 85%.” )
Morgan stressed her “to the heart” idea to to have 100 Celebrity Parents make TV spots and do a media blitz to spur parents to learn about positive, attached parenting. For example, celebrity dads will speak on how dads can “Be the Daddy They Deserve.” Morgan gave Dr. Felitti her new book (photo again at top) aimed to be a hit with teens and moms, “On Becoming NaughtABimbeaux” It’s based on 13 years of research into the psychology of relationships and intimacy. The book has five pages on the ACE Study and its relevance to choosing a spouse capable of creating a healthy family, and a Facebook page.
“Frozen” No Mas
It left me thinking how to organize one of Morgan’s Celebrity Parents to get a hit movie made as Dr. Felitti dreams. A TV series couldn’t be far behind. (Dr. Felitti and me at our previous SoCal ACEs meeting.)
Look at what a hit the film “Frozen” is (over $1 billion revenue), with that lead song “Let It Go” about how Elsa can’t hold in her traumatized emotions anymore. Click for video: ” ‘Conceal, don’t feel/ don’t let them know!’ / Well,now they know!” She’s gonna feel what she feels! People have had it with being traumatized, yet society doesn’t want to hear.
Dr. Felitti is onto something with his TV and Hollywood vision. So are Morgan and Dana. That’s a billion dollars of grassroots emotions connecting out there.
Betcha that’s why “Avatar” was such a hit, when at the end the giant heroine Neytiri picks up her fiancee Jake with his tiny, broken body, looks into his eyes, and says “I see you.” That means: “I see your soul, I love you for who you truly are.”
I don’t know if Hollywood’s more ready to face the facts in the ACE Study than are the Senators whom Dr. Felitti met. But ordinary people crave to be accepted for who they really are. People are tired of being Frozen. So many are forced into that box: “conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know,” don’t show your true Self.
Because our true Selves hurt; the ACE Study showed that two-thirds (64-67%) of 17,421 middle class subjects had one or more types of childhood trauma, and 38-42% had two or more types. In less privileged populations, these numbers are far higher. A national average of all economic groups would likely show 50% or more suffer severe trauma from ACEs. There’s money in an exposee, and it’d do all our hearts good to be out of the closet.
Kathy’s news blogs expand on her book “DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME: The Silent Epidemic of Attachment Disorder—How I accidentally regressed myself back to infancy and healed it all.” Watch for the continuing series each Friday, as she explores her journey of recovery by learning the hard way about Attachment Disorder in adults, adult Attachment Theory, and the Adult Attachment Interview.
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