Sunday, March 11 at 7 PM ET/PT on CBS
A leading authority on childhood trauma tells Oprah Winfrey that adverse events early in a child’s development increase the child’s chances of experiencing physical, social and mental problems later in life. Winfrey speaks to Dr. Bruce Perry, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist who authorities have consulted on high-profile events, such as school shootings.
She also visits two organizations that treat their clients with the so-called “trauma-informed care” approach shaped by Dr. Perry. Both the agencies, Saint A and the Nia Imani Family Center, are in Milwaukee, where Winfrey spent part of her youth and experienced her own instances of childhood trauma.
DR. BRUCE PERRY: That very same sensitivity that makes you able to learn (SNAPS) language just like that as a little infant makes you highly vulnerable to chaos, threat, inconsistency, unpredictability--
OPRAH WINFREY: Violence.
DR. BRUCE PERRY: --violence. And so children are much more sensitive to developmental trauma than adults.
OPRAH WINFREY: So if you're a child who's raised in a nurturing and well-cared-for environment, you're more likely to have a well-wired brain?
DR. BRUCE PERRY: Correct.
OPRAH WINFREY: And if you're a child who's raised in an environment of chaos, of uncertainty, of violence, of neglect, you are being wired?
DR. BRUCE PERRY: Differently.
OPRAH WINFREY: Differently.
DR. BRUCE PERRY: And-- and typically in a way that makes you more vulnerable. Kids that grow up like that have much higher rates of risk for mental health problems, much higher rates of risk for doing poorly in school.
OPRAH WINFREY: For just functioning in the world.
DR. BRUCE PERRY: Exactly.