In our first session of the day we heard from Dr Michael Smith, on Adversity, attachment and relationships: insights from the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Mike spoke about the effect of early relationships on brain development, and growing evidence that ACE ‘scores’ are highly predictable of our physical and mental well-being as adults: but nothing is inevitable and we can use this knowledge to improve outcomes. At the heart of Mike’s approach is an understanding that ACEs can help us frame the right questions and ask them in the right way to help people gain insight to the challenges they face. In describing the historic removal of children in Greenland from their families, Mike also flagged up a warning that the best intentions can lead to harmful interventions.

Dr Michael Smith is Lead Associate Director for Mental Health with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS) at the University of Strathclyde. He trained as a GP in Glasgow, and then as a psychiatrist in Scotland and Australia.

You can download Dr Michael Smith's presentation using the link below.


Adversity, Attachment and Relationships: Insights from the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (PDF)