There are multiple reasons why people who have complex trauma (Type II or Type III PTSD) might become triggered or suffer harm from an ACE questionnaire -- reasons that are not discussed in standard TIP or ACE teaching, or in studies claiming the lack of harm from ACE questionnaire administration. Because of the constraints of designing ethical research, clinical applicability of studies of the safety and acceptability of ACE and Trauma questionnaires are limited by pre-selection bias, the fact that many if not most of these studies are administered by individuals with training in counselling, trauma, or sensitive administration of the questionnaire, and that studies are not limited by our standard 10-15 min appointment durations. In addition, rapid access to counsellors is often available to study participants.
We review these studies and concepts in the one-day course, Essentials for Reaching Past the Cycle of Trauma -- Part 1 of Healing Trauma, designed for physicians. We also explain many of the 'unspoken' reasons why an ACE score can be falsely negative in highly traumatized individuals, and why this matters for us as their physician. We also review the first essential skill front-line workers like physicians and office staff should obtain in order to better help those who may be suffering from Adverse Childhood Experiences to heal. See also: Checklist for SAFETY of ACE Questionnaire Administration - Am I Ready? pdf