CTA logo white
                July 2012 CTA Newsletter
Psychosis and Child Abuse
Berry Street Childhood Institute








Join Our Mailing List
    The ChildTrauma Academy is fortunate to have long-standing working relationships with wonderful partner organizations all over the world.  This issue of the Newsletter is focusing on our relationships in the Southern Hemisphere.  The Special Topic this month is on schizophrenia and child abuse: Dr. Perry met Dr. Read on a visit to New Zealand many years ago;  our Berry Street partners in Australia - home to Take Two - have created the Berry Street Childhood Institute and Dr. Perry has accepted the honor of serving as the inaugural Senior Fellow.  And finally, the CTA is pleased to introduce four NMT Flagship Programs, one of which is Take Two Berry Street in Australia.
    It is through our ongoing partnerships that we are able to teach and learn.  The idea is simple - we share what we are learning - and they share what they are learning.  The effect, however, is complex; practice starts to change, programs evolve and, in time, policy changes.  On this visit to Australia and New Zealand, Dr. Perry will have the opportunity to visit with policy makers in both Australia and New Zealand and is looking forward to learning more about how they are addressing some of the same challenges we face up North. 
Hallucinations, Schizophrenia and Child Abuse

    Over the last fifteen years it has become clear that schizophrenia is a neurodevelopmental disorder and that developmental adversity (including trauma) increases the risk of schizophrenia (as it does for most neuropsychiatric disorders).  A pioneer in making the connection between schizophrenia in adults and developmental trauma is Dr. John Read. Dr. Perry was lucky enough to meet Dr. Read many years ago and was generously included in Dr. Read's seminal article articulating his ideas regarding potential relationships and mechanisms underlying these observed connections.  Dr. Read's scholarship, and leadership, in the face of predictable "push back" from proponents of more traditional etiologies of schizophrenia has led to an important line of research that has led to an enriched appreciation of the complexity of these neuropsychiatric syndromes. With the elucidation of epigenetic and neurodevelopmental mechanisms that provide plausible mechanisms to explain many of the other neurophysiological findings in schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders, the field is now embracing the concepts originally put forward by Dr. Read and his colleagues.  While this remains an area of complexity, more studies are examining the relationships between childhood trauma and psychotic symptoms (e.g, see below). 

   Clinicians working with maltreated children frequently see the expression of "psychotic" symptoms such as auditory verbal hallucinations (AVH),  "hysterical" materializations during traumatic grief (often mislabeled hallucinations) and "mini-psychotic" dissociative meltdowns. A "trauma-informed" clinician knows these are related to trauma and will address the core trauma-related issues in any number of evidence-based interventions; unfortunately many clinicians will move to introduce anti-psychotic medications (typically second generation) which have minimal efficacy with these symptoms and high risk for the development of cardiometabolic adverse effects (e.g., diabetes).  Hopefully as the work of Dr. Read and others expands our knowledge-base about psychotic symptoms and trauma, safer and more effective interventions will be the rule rather than the exception.  Please click on Dr. Read's reference below to download his article.

Varese, F., Smeets, F., Drukker, M. et al. (2012) Childhood adversities increase risk of psychosis: a meta-analysis of patient-control, prospective- and cross-sectional cohort studies.  Schizophrenia Bulletin doi:10.1093/schbul/sbs050 


Read, J., Perry, B.D., Moskowitz, A. & Connolly, J. (2001) The contribution of early traumatic events in schizophrenia in some patients: a traumagenic neurodevelopmental model.  Psychiatry 64(4):319-345.  



A Message from Marg Hamley, Director of the Berry Street Childhood Institute in Melbourne, Australia 


     At Berry Street we feel very fortunate to have been in a position to learn from the wonderful work of the ChildTrauma Academy over the past seven years. Dr Bruce Perry has been a huge influence on the clinical approach taken by our Take Two program, which in turn has been able to influence the development of therapeutic care in the state of Victoria, Australia. In fact our relationship with CTA has been part of the inspiration for the establishment in 2012 of the Berry Street Childhood Institute.


    Berry Street's vision is for all children to have a good childhood and the Berry Street Childhood Institute (BSCI) has been created to provide leadership, knowledge and resources to ensure a better childhood for every child. We intend to use insights from practice and research to address issues facing vulnerable children and young people, promote earlier intervention and confront the challenges faced by all Australian children. BSCI activities will include: arranging national speaking tours by international experts; development of online training; research collaborations; hosting practice forums; publications; youth engagement; media commentary; sharing knowledge with key decision makers; and campaigning.


    A key feature of the BSCI is a commitment to work in partnership and to highlight the important contribution of our most valued partners. We are extremely proud to announce that Dr Perry has agreed to be the inaugural Senior Fellow of the Berry Street Childhood. With August fast approaching, we are really looking forward to Dr Perry's third tour of Australia with Berry Street and of New Zealand with our partners the Brainwave Trust Aotearoa. Locations include Melbourne, Hobart, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, and New Zealand. 

For further information and to register, please go to the   
Registration Website

CTA Announces NMT Flagship Sites  NMT_Flagship


   The ChildTrauma Academy has created a network of partner organizations certified in the use of The Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT).   These sites have dedicated thousands of personnel hours to master the core concepts and implement the NMT in their clinical settings. Some of these organizations have demonstrated exceptional creativity and excellence in various program activities with a willingness to share with, and learn from, colleagues and other programs.


    In recognition of an ongoing relationship with the CTA and the continuing demonstration of the intention to engage in extensive internal and external NMT-related training, supervision, consultation and community engagement activities, the CTA has created the Flagship Program designation. We are happy to announce that Sandhill Child Development Centerin Las Lunas, NM, Mount Saint Vincent Home in Denver, CO, Alexander Youth Network in Charlotte, NC and Take Two Berry Street in Melbourne, Victoria AU are all NMT Flagship Programs.  These exceptional organizations are working hard to improve the lives of children and families by creating developmentally sensitive and trauma-informed programs and practices.  The CTA is very honored to work with them all and we look forward to sharing some of their innovative work with all of you in the future.  


Registration is already open for our Fall 2012 NMT Case-based Training Series. Sign up today!

Find us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter


Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.
The ChildTrauma Academy