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Integrative life coaches with nutritional medicine that are ACE informed.

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

Did you know that most people who go onto develop a chronic condition have a high ACE score?

You maybe asking what is an ACE score? ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Event. At the New School we prefer to call them ALEs (Adverse Life Events), as research is showing that the original work was done on what some call big 'Traumas' but these 'traumas' can be big or small, the so called smaller traumas are also called SILENT ACEs which are considered the hidden epidemic of attachment and developmental trauma.

Who is to say what is a big or small trauma? Simply ACE is Adverse Child Events,

an event(s) that occurred in life, where the individual did not have the necessary means/tools to navigate the stressful event.

Here is a study to show the association between a high ACE score and chronic disease.

Relationship between ACE & later life outcomes
Impact of ACE

The Landmark ACE study

The landmark ACE study (HERE) was looking at childhood abuse and household dysfunction, but since then, events such as being bullied at school, feeling lonely as a child, being from a minority background, are seen as adverse events.

ACE and its impact
Adverse Childhood experiences

HERE is another article that shows a link between ACE scores and chronic pain. There is no doubt that our childhood experiences are linked to our health as adults, especially chronic health conditions.

The good news is no matter the ACEs, health can be restored. It involves work, some sweat and tears, but due to the ever-expanding science of neuroplasticity and various forms of MINDBODY therapies, it is good news for everyone.

The area of childhood adverse life events and their impact on health in adulthood has exploded and the future of medicine is slowly becoming aware of the integration of modalities that address these events.

At the New School of Nutritional Medicine, we not only teach the impact of ACEs on health but we also teach various vital tools that involve the science of neuro-plasticity and vital methods in the regulation of the nervous system and more in year 2. Year 1 in coaching it is about the inner work, knowing ourselves.

The practitioner-client role in co-regulation

The practitioner-client role in co-regulation is also fundamental in healing from any dis-ease be it chronic in nature or not. This is also why we believe in community and learning together, as you get to experience the coaching and be the coach every teaching weekend.

The first year coaching module is about the 'inner work/coaching', we need to know ourselves to understand others. This inner coaching, involves practical group work every teaching weekend. It is in the doing that we really learn, grow and develop not in the gathering of techniques and knowledge sitting behind desks or in front of a screen.

Navigating clients back to health as integrative life coaches along side nutritional medicine is a powerful blend for 21st century practitioners. One can waste a lot of time and money and become dis-heartened by just prescribing DIEts, adaptogens, L-theanine, lemon balm, omega 3s, etc but if the cell is perceiving danger or a threat that has been 'sitting' in the body for years, how can we support out clients in achieving health? Those mitochondria are not going to suddenly start healing because of physical modalities being used, they need to feel safe! If you missed our blog on the Cell Danger Response, HERE is the link.

MINDBODY is one word, true healing involves the WHOLE person, mindbody and spiritual.

If you score high, I would highly recommend seeing a MINDBODY therapist, who understands Adverse Childhood Events as well as the more SILENT ACEs which are considered the hidden epidemic of attachment and developmental trauma.

ACE score questions

(these can also be found on various websites as PDF downloadable forms).

Before going through this, be kind to yourself.

You can score up your ACEs …Adverse Childhood Events….score 'one' for each one that applies from the age of 0-18yr. The study investigated 10 ACEs…

  1. psychological abuse

  2. physical abuse

  3. sexual abuse

  4. emotional neglect

  5. physical neglect

  6. loss of a parent (for any reason such as divorce or death)

  7. mother treated violently

  8. substance abuse

  9. mental illness

  10. criminal behaviour in the house

The researchers of the ACE study, Robert Anda MD and Vincent Felitti MD put together questions covering all the ACEs investigated….

  1. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? or act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt? ___

  2. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often push, grab, slap, or throw something at you? or ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured? ___

  3. Did an adult or person at least 5 years older than you ever touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way? or attempt or actually have oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you? ___

  4. Did you often feel or very often feel that no one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special? or your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other? ___

  5. Did you often or very often feel that you didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you? or your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it? ___

  6. Were your parents ever separated or divorced? ___

  7. Was your mother or stepmother: often nor very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her? Or sometimes, often or very often, kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard? Or ever repeatedly hit over at least a few times or threatened with a gun or knife? ___

  8. Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic, or who used street drugs? ___

  9. Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member attempt suicide? ___

  10. Did a household member go to prison? ___

For each question a “Yes” is a score of ONE and “No” is a score of ZERO

Your ACE Score: ____

The total ACE score is a guide, as since the above study, other ACEs have been recognised as important events. In other words, the links between ACEs and chronic illness ARE NOT LIMITED to events that appear solely overtly 'traumatic', although the original study was based on these. Many other types of ACEs also affect risk for chronic illness, some of which have been added below….

  1. Did your mother experience any ‘trauma’ during your pregnancy? Such as loss of a parent, loss of income, injury, physical abuse? ___

  2. Did your mother experience difficulty or trauma during your birth? ___

  3. Did your mother experience postnatal depression? ___

  4. Were you bullied, ‘picked on’ at school? ___

  5. Did you experience abuse such as racism or homophobia? ___

  6. Did you need hospitalisation as a child or any traumatic intervention such as an epidural? ___

  7. Did your family experience any significant adverse financial events during your childhood such as loss of job, financial stability or home? ___

  8. Did you witness violence or abuse of a parent, sibling, or a family member? ___

  9. Did a key family member or caregiver die during your childhood? ___

  10. Is there intergenerational trauma in your family (such as the holocaust, famine, war)?___

Additional Points: ____


Sometimes, we may not know our history, or may even have been brought up in a way where you felt left out, not listened to. However, some personality traits usually indicate an impact due to ACEs such as …..

  1. overachiever

  2. people pleaser

  3. low self-esteem

  4. anxiety

  5. depression

  6. burn out syndrome

  7. addiction such as food, pornography, work

  8. self-sabotage

  9. feelings of isolation

  10. feelings of disconnection

  11. repeating old ‘harmful’ patterns

  12. easily overwhelmed

There are many books and materials teaching about the impact of trauma on health and wellbeing, we are not training out students to be psycho-therapists but in today's times we believe qualified coaches need to be aware of such life events as the body keeps the score as said by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk.

The future of nutritional medicine integrated with life coaching is a powerful blend!

To WHOLEness!

From the team at the New School Of Nutritional Medicine.

Learn about the Founder & Principal of the New School of Nutritional Medicine, Dr Khush Mark PhD HERE.

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