Vermont Legislator Proposes Screening & Education for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)


Vermont State Legislator Dr. George Till has introduced the first bill in any state that calls for integrating screening for adverse childhood experiences in health services, and for integrating the related science into medical and health school curricula and continuing education, according to “ACES Too High,” the website of Adverse Childhood Experiences.  Till was inspired by hearing the findings of the CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Study.

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. I climbed that pyramid shown in the article starting with some adverse childhood events at a boarding school, there is still a part of me that’s rather evil but doesn’t show itself much anymore. I was abused as a kid when I could not fight back then as an adult my taste of psychiatric abuse called “help” was enough for me to get involved in exposing the fraud and abuse that is the foundation of the mental “health” industry.

    I spent enough time in group therapy to notice that just about everyone had adverse childhood events wile the mental health industry goes around spending billions on advertizing to convince the world that emotional problems are “biological” and need biological treatment (expensive pills). What a scam.

    I now understand that if a psychiatrist were to say that I am sick or that I have a treatable illness or disease, he or she is just using a figure of speech and cannot establish, with any test or procedure known to medical science that I in fact “have” the “illness” implied by the diagnostic label.

    Indeed, I am aware that although medical opinion may now hold that a “chemical imbalance,” a “brain abnormality,” or some physical problem “underlies” or “produces” distress or suffering, no objective information (through lab tests, scans, etc.) concerning the state of my body or anyone else’s has been obtained in order to arrive at any DSM diagnosis.

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    • What I find interesting about all of this is that the ACE Study has been around a number of years and people are just now becoming aware of it! What the ACE Study reveals is that everything is not okay and hunky dorry in American society; when one in every six boys and one in every four girls are sexually abused, usually by a family member, something is very, very rotten in Denmark. The trauma issue deals with all the nasty, disgusting, dark, secretive parts of our society and no one wants to talk about or deal with it. Certainly psychiatry and the drug companies don’t want it talked about since it points to the fact that psychological and emotional distress, experienced because of our society, is what is responsible for “mental illness” and not any supposed chemical imbalance in peopels’ brains.

      Not every person who has been labeled “mentally ill” is a trauma survivor but a great many of them are. The conservative estimate is that 80% of people in the locked units of “mental hospital” are trauma survivors. The sad fact is that most of them get re-traumatized during their stay in the “hospital” by the very staff who are supposed to be doing “good” treatment for them! And of course, we all know that poking tranquilizing toxic drugs down people doesn’t deal with their trauma issues so there’s a revolving door in the Admissions Dept. of all psychiatric “hospitals.” Unless someone allows you to talk about your issues you never get healed from them. But of course, this makes for job security for all of us who work in these institutions so it’s no wonder that no one deals with peoples’ trauma issues.

      Boarding schools are notorious as places where kids are traumatized. Senator Ted Kennedy wrote in his autobiography about what happened to him as a child of six who was sent to a boarding school. One of the proctors at his school, an older adolescent, used to drag kids away to his room. All the little kids would hide under their beds when they heard him coming down the hall. It’s always bothered me that so many families can send their kids away to these places of torture.

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