Trauma and more…

Aug. 8, 2022

 The Lancet: Psychiatry (England’s medical journal)

Prof Eamon McCrory, PhD.  DClinPsy.,   Lucy Foulkes, Ph D.,  Prof Essi Viding, Ph D.

(All three authors are at the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, London, UK; McCrory and Foulkes are also at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, London, UK)

Social thinning and stress generation after childhood maltreatment: a neurocognitive social transactional model of psychiatric vulnerability

(Smart Justice has quoted the entire summary offered by the Lancet, Psychiatry, in the light of the needed revision of our understanding of the impact of trauma and the new models proposed for that understanding.)


Childhood maltreatment is associated with significant, enduring risk of psychiatric disorder. In this paper, we review how neurocognitive alterations after maltreatment might indirectly increase the risk of psychiatric disorder via their impact on social functioning. We propose a neurocognitive social transactional model, within which the neurocognitive sequelae of maltreatment are postulated to affect how an individual’s social architecture is constructed across development, including the quality and quantity of relationships in an individual’s social network. We review extant evidence in two areas in relation to maltreatment: stress generation (a process by which individuals are more likely to experience interpersonal stressor events) and social thinning (an attenuation in the number and quality of relationships over time). We consider how neurocognitive alterations could contribute to these interactive and autocatalytic social processes, which gradually impoverish an individual’s actual or potential social environment and ultimately increase psychiatric risk. We conclude by considering the implications of this neurocognitive social transactional model for the prevention of psychiatric disorder after childhood maltreatment.”

Read the entire article:  (You will likely encounter a pay wall for the Lancet.) Alternately, Dr Foulkes has sent me the pdf and if you request it in an e-mail, I can send the pdf directly to you. Dr. Foulkes has a new book entitled What mental Health really is (and what it isn’t )   Also available at

New Methods Wellness
Adverse Childhood Experiences – Take the ACE Test

While not diagnostic, the test offers an estimate of the trauma in your childhood and what the various scores may mean for the development of problems in later life.  The commentary offers signs expected to show up in childhood and in later life if you score high on the test.  There is no fee for the test.

Tweet from Alberta Prison Justice Society (APJS)
Indigenous over-representation in prisons

“If the Catholic Church wants to meaningfully apologize for residential schools, the Pope should visit Canadian prisons. Indigenous inmates are vastly overrepresented and often are either residential school survivors themselves or experienced intergenerational trauma.”

The Conversation (Queen’s) Catherine Richardson
Reparations to Indigenous Peoples are critical after Pope’s apology for residential schools

The author, Director of First Peoples Studies Program, Associate Professor, School of Community and Public Affairs, Concordia University, offers succinct steps to move the reconciliation process further along.  She says that authenticity and responsibility are two required items and then the violence of the genocide must be acknowledge:  “people are more likely to recover — and promptly — when the violence against them has been acknowledged and not minimized… Recovery is more likely when they have been made safe, received care and have been treated with dignity.”  Equally important true apology is taking care not to pathologize the victims and to acknowledge the truth while repairing the harm.  The article is well done and its content needs be injected into the discussion around the papal visit.

Tweet from Eric Reinhart (US):
Public Safety…

“Public safety” in US politics is code for the optics of poverty. As poverty becomes more visible (eg, more unhoused people), rich people feel unsafe regardless of real safety. Visibility of cops to criminalize/disappear poverty reassures, even as it compounds real unsafety.”  Related article:  The Column – Adam Johnson (US)   People “Feel Unsafe” Because Visible Poverty Is Everywhere – Media hysteria around “rising crime” works because it touches on something real: a palpable increase in visible human suffering. What matters is how we alleviate that suffering. Related article:  Alec’s Copaganda Newsletter – Alex Karakatsanis  “Tough on Crime” One of the most successful pieces of copaganda in modern history.

The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa. (US) – Terrie Morgan-Besecker,
Local group seeks to reform use of solitary confinement at Lackawanna County Prison

A local advocate committee in Scranton is seeking to put some serious limits on the use of solitary in the county prison.  They would sanction the solitary only if mental health professionals see that the person is a danger to himself, or if the whole institute is on lockdown, or on inmate request; but then only or 24 hours and requiring four hours per day outside the cell.  “”Research strongly indicates that is where major mental health issues arise that have a long lasting impact once people leave prison,” said John Rowland, who heads the reform effort for the Abolitionist Law Center.”  Related article: Tweet from Alberta Prison Justice Society (APJS):  “Often, when issues around prison conditions are raised, the response from lay people is something to the effect that those who commit crimes deserve whatever conditions prisons care to impose. But we don’t rehabilitate people by dehumanizing them and subjecting them to cruelty.”

Those in prison… Susan Zalatan, Texans against Civil Commitment

We want them to be responsible
So we take away all responsibility

We want them to be positive and constructive
So we degrade them and make them useless

We want them to be trustworthy
So we put them where there is no trust

We want them to be nonviolent
So we surround them with violence

We want them to be kind and loving
So we subject them to hatred and cruelty

We want them to quit being the “tough guy”
So we put them where only the “tough guy” survives

We want them to quit exploiting us
So we cage them where they exploit each other

We want them to take control of their lives
So we make them dependent on us

We want them to be a part of our community
So we separate them from our community

You want us to have self-worth
So you destroy our self-worth
And you call it “corrections”

Related article (from July 4, 2022): Real News (NY) – Mansa Musa   New York prisons ban care packages containing food – New York state’s new regulations are forcing families to buy third-party care packages from pre-approved vendors. Families say the new policy is “retaliation” and a way to squeeze more profits from incarcerated people and their loved ones.   Related article: Tweet from John Hale: Exiting after Long Sentences   “This problem must be especially acute in the USA, where people serve inhumanely long sentences and re-enter society decades later. Getting out of jail in 2022 after going into jail in 1982 would be like stepping onto a different planet.”

The Conversation (Queen’s) – Julia Bullard
Libraries in the U.S. and Canada are changing how they refer to Indigenous Peoples

In many cases, the American Library of Congress and Libraries and Archives Canada set the word choice for usage and references.  Both agencies have begun to review their holdings to correct the terms for the Indigenous People and First Nations.  “Recently, the Library of Congress announced that by September 2022 a project would be underway to revise terms that refer to Indigenous Peoples… Beginning in 2019, Library and Archives Canada made changes within Canadian subject headings, starting with replacing outdated terminology with “Indigenous peoples” and “First Nations,” and adding terms that specify Métis and other specific nations and peoples.”

Axios (US) –  Herb Scribner
North Carolina school district plans to put AR-15s in every school

This back-to-school surprise from Madison County reflects the on-going discussion in the US about the appropriateness and usefulness – and safety – of arming teachers against potential mass shooting events.  What they’re doing: “The Madison County school system in North Carolina plans to put AR-15 rifles in special safes in every school throughout the county, the Asheville Citizen-Times reports.”  The article adds info about some of the 29 other states where such decisions are in place and teachers getting training in firearms.