Early Life Trauma

Early life trauma traditionally refers to traumatic experiences witnessed or experienced by children (0 to age 6). Because children struggle to verbalize or otherwise express their feelings in a way adults understand, the impact of traumatic events that threaten their safety – or the safety of their caregivers – is often dismissed.

Increasingly, research has demonstrated that age does not shield children from the effects of incidents including domestic violence, abuse and neglect, natural disasters, painful medical procedures, and accidents. When early life trauma is left unaddressed, it often manifests through struggles with mental health, physical health, and relationships during adolescence and adulthood.

Signs & Symptoms

Survivors of childhood trauma may experience a range of cognitive and somatic symptoms in adulthood including:

  • Inability to trust others
  • Poor sense of identity
  • Low confidence and self-esteem
  • Hopelessness or helplessness about life
  • Extreme exertion of or avoidance of control
  • Violent mood swings
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Shallow breathing
  • Substance abuse


Early childhood trauma often manifests in mental health or co-occurring substance use conditions that can be effectively treated with a combination of psychotherapy, psychiatric interventions, and integrative services. Therapeutic modalities including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), among others, have a very high success rate in the treatment of early life trauma, while a number of medications have proven to be useful in alleviating symptoms. This mind-body approach is critical in healing physiologic conditions like PTSD. Through True Life’s neurobiological approach – which combines acupuncture, fitness, mindfulness, yoga and nutrition with psychotherapy and psychiatric interventions – patients learn to mitigate trauma’s impact on the mind and body, and develop strategies for sustainable health practices.