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Childhood adversity and trauma: experiences of professionals trained to routinely enquire about childhood adversity

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article numbere01900
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/07/2019
Issue number7
Number of pages1
Pages (from-to)1-9
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date22/07/19
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Research indicates that adverse childhood experiences play a causal role in the development of poor health and social outcomes in adulthood. Despite this, research suggests that such experiences go undetected since spontaneous
disclosure is unlikely, and practitioners are unlikely to ask. A project was developed in which practitioners were trained to routinely enquire about adversity in their daily practice. Four pilot services took part that worked
directly and indirectly with children and young people, many of whom were exposed to multiple adverse experiences. The aim of this study was to construct an understanding of the experiences of these practitioners. Seven interviews were conducted, and the data was analysed using thematic analysis. The emerging themes were:change in knowledge, perception and practice; the emotional impact of hearing and responding to disclosures; confidence in asking and responding appropriately; making sense of the impact for clients; how and when to ask. Findings indicate that participants' change toward more adverse-experience-informed formulations of clients' difficulties ensure commitment to routine enquiry and changes in referral patterns and therapeutic practice. Suggestions are made with regard to the practicalities of routine enquiry and how services can best support practitioners who are embedding this skill into their practice.