Who would think that childhood trauma and the suffering associated with it could be a political issue?? I surely didn’t. It actually took several years for me to recognize and accept this reality, mostly because I tend to be a positive, hopeful person who sees the best in people. This issue, however, isn’t so much about individuals. No, it’s more about large systems and their resistance to change.
To be really frank, the American mental health system doesn’t acknowledge the impact of childhood trauma on people’s health and lives, and it also doesn’t seem to want to change this. Economic and political factors inside the profession itself now override the ethical issues, and are blocking substantive changes that need to be made in both policies and practices.
I’ve observed a growing denial in the larger profession about trauma and its impact. Not only did the DSM-5 fail to include Developmental Trauma Disorder as a new diagnostic category for those who have suffered childhood trauma, there’s also a growing movement away from using the word “trauma” at all! I can tell you that the term “toxic stress” doesn’t give me sufficient information for identifying the kind of help that my clients need. This is just a euphemism that makes childhood trauma a less confrontive and less political term. And it also directs the attention away from the reality of childhood trauma and towards more generalized perspective on adverse experiences.
I feel so strongly about the political whitewashing of childhood trauma that I have decided to speak out about it!