Q&A with Dr. Shanta R. Dube About the Groundbreaking ACE Study

Project Hope Bear founder, Dr. Linda Olson, is grateful to have the support of Dr. Shanta Rishi Dube, who played a pioneering role in the groundbreaking study that first brought the impact of Childhood Domestic Violence to the attention of the medical community, the ACE study. The important study has already begun making a tremendous difference in the lives of millions of children and adults as it has inspired further research into CDV, and no doubt will make a significant difference in the bringing this important subject to widespread public attention.

Dr. Dube’s study documented the negative health consequences — both physical and psychological – of Adverse Childhood Experiences, including CDV.

The subsequent research following the release of the ACE Study, continues to have an important impact on the way our society addresses issues including parenting, public health, human psychology, and criminal justice.

  • Understanding the powerful impact that CDV has on millions of individuals reminds therapists and others of the importance of asking the question, “Did you grow up living with domestic violence?” Asking this question can begin an important conversation that can lead to healing and awareness.

  • Additional information about this subject can be found on the website of the Childhood Domestic Violence Association — cdv.org/cdv-library — which describes the impact of CDV and how those affected can be supported.

  • Simply by expanding the conversation about CDV can be helpful, as many who have had this experience are reluctant to mention it on their own.

If it feels as if there is “no hope,” Dr. Olson points out that there is actually a “silver lining” for those who have experienced CDV. Despite the painful impact that CDV can have on their lives, research has found that the healing process for these individuals can be tremendously empowering. Research has found that these individuals are actually capable of achieving a greater level of happiness and peace, than others who have not experienced such intense challenges earlier in their lives. This process is called “post-traumatic growth.”

Dr. Olson says she feels a tremendous sense of fulfillment when she sees her patients making progress. “It feels so good to give them hope,” she says. “As a therapist, that’s the most important thing. You want to give patients and families hope, because without hope we have nothing.”

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