Childhood Trauma

When it comes to childhood trauma, do our bodies keep the score, and with what emotional impacts?

Historian of child psychology Emma Sutton finds out about the recent explosion of interest in “trauma-informed” approaches and their impact on family relationships. She tries out some trauma-informed therapy herself, and discusses with therapists and experts what this approach can mean for dealing with the aftermath of adverse childhood experiences – including the additional harm done to families when someone decides to “go no contact” with a parent.

Emma discusses with Reverend Giles Fraser the dangers of overly medicalising painful experiences – and Giles speaks about his own experience of being beaten frequently when at school. The episode ends with a visit to the Kazzum Arts project and its director Alex Evans – who speaks about the powerful influence that adults can have in protecting children from the worst effects of trauma, by being playful, curious, accepting and empathetic in their interactions with them. 

Steve Haines is a bodyworker and author who is deeply interested in pain, trauma and anxiety.   @stevehaines66

Dr Charley Baker is an associate professor of Mental Health at the University of Nottingham. @CharleyBaker1

Dr Angela Davis is a historian of motherhood and parenting in twentieth-century Britain. She is the author of Modern Motherhood: Women and Family in England, 1945–2000.

Dr Joshua Coleman is psychologist in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area and a Senior Fellow with the Council on Contemporary Families, a non-partisan organization of leading sociologists, historians, psychologists and demographers dedicated to providing the press and public with the latest research and best practice findings about American families. @drjcoleman

Reverend Giles Fraser is the Vicar of St Anne’s in Kew, as well as being a journalist and author. His most recent book is Chosen: Lost and Found Between Christianity and Judaism, and in 2017 he made a series for Radio 4 – “This Old Heart of Mine” – about the experience of surviving a heart attack and bypass surgery. It gave him the chance to reflect on matters of the heart – physical, emotional, and spiritual. @giles_fraser

Alex Evans is a visual artist, director and creative facilitator living and working in London. He is proud to be the Artistic Director of Kazzum Arts, after taking on the role in June 2017. @KazzumArts


“Living With Feeling” is produced by Natalie Steed for Rhubarb Rhubarb, and supported by the Wellcome Trust. It is brought to you by the Queen Mary Centre for the History of the Emotions.

The Emotions Lab