Presentation Description

A brief overview of what trauma is and how it affects the brain and behavior, emphasizing impacts on early emotional, behavioral, and cognitive development.

Learning Objectives

  1. To understand what childhood trauma is
  2. To identify the major impacts of trauma on 3 key domains of child development
  3. To appreciate 3 key principles of supporting children affected by trauma: safety, consistency, and nurturing relationships

Key Take-Aways

  1. Early childhood trauma can be thought of as “toxic stress” – i.e. stress, chaos, or neglect that overwhelms the child’s abilities to cope.
  2. Trauma during early childhood alters brain architecture during development
  3. Trauma during early childhood preferences “fight, flight, freeze” responses (to prepare for safety), which subverts core functions required for learning and healthy development, including: attention, memory,
  4. The 3 key principles that can help support children affected by trauma include: safety, consistency, and nurturing relationships


  1. Child Trauma Academy –
  2. “The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog” (book and audiobook) by Dr. Bruce Perry
  3. National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Presenter Bio

I am a child & adolescent psychiatrist and public health clinician-researcher living and working for the past 5 years in Williams Lake. My rural clinical practice informs my research, policy advocacy, and program leadership as Medical Lead for Child/Youth Mental Health with Northern Health Authority (BC).My specific interest is in developing systems of care to meet the mental health needs of rural youth by building capacity among front-line providers and community members. Prior to moving to BC, I grew up, lived and worked in the US, and my work was primary focused on global mental health, with projects in Nepal and Uganda. I am a husband and a father of three active daughters who teach me, motivate me, and keep me humble in my work.