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Partridge, S. (2019). The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-term Effects of Childhood Adversity, by Nadine Burke Harris, published by Bluebird, 2018.. Att: New Dir. in Psychother. Relat. Psychoanal., 13(1):117-120.

(2019). Attachment: New Directions in Psychotherapy and Relational Psychoanalysis, 13(1):117-120

Book Reviews

The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-term Effects of Childhood Adversity, by Nadine Burke Harris, published by Bluebird, 2018.

Review by:
Simon Partridge

Endocrinology Meets Attachment

Nadine Burke Harris is a leading advocate1 of the adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) movement in the USA, and which is spreading rapidly at least in the Anglophone world. Scotland has declared itself to become the world's first ACE-aware nation.2 This book is an extraordinary and informative account of how Harris, a paediatrician by training, arrived at an integrated approach to healthcare based around the ACEs concept. It is an accessible introduction for anyone not familiar with this radical approach to enabling wellness.

The book is partly based on autobiography, into which is skilfully woven a great deal of medical and endocrinological information. For psychotherapists, and trauma survivors like myself, this can be heavy going at times, but is worth sticking with because it succinctly explains the biology/body aspects of stress, where the score is often kept (Van der Kolk, 2014).

Harris started out in 2005 as a fairly conventional doctor but with evidently a high level of curiosity inherited from her Jamaican father who immigrated to the US as a biochemist. Harris had an early interest in some of the less purely medical determinants of health, and the “well” in the title of her book is referenced to the polluted well in Soho, London, which in 1854 turned out to be the source of a cholera outbreak, and led to the then novel “germ” theory of disease. Harris has been in search of similar underlying, novel causes for our present-day diseases.

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