Inner Childhood Trauma Test: The ACEs Diagnostic Tool

March 11, 2024|Mental Health|
A child with his hands to his ears looks away from the viewer.

Childhood trauma can have a lasting impact on a person’s mental and emotional well-being. It is important to identify and address any unresolved trauma in order to promote healing and growth. This is where a childhood trauma test can be a valuable diagnostic tool. This article will discuss the importance of assessing childhood trauma and tools to help do so.

Understanding Childhood Trauma

Before delving into the diagnostic tool, it is important to have a basic understanding of childhood trauma. Childhood trauma refers to any experience that is emotionally painful or distressing, that has a lasting impact on early development. Early traumatic experiences can have a profound effect on a person’s sense of self, their relationships, and overall well-being.

The Need for Assessment

Assessing childhood trauma is crucial for several reasons. First, it enables individuals to gain a better understanding of their experiences and how they have impacted their lives. This can help them make sense of any lingering emotional or behavioral patterns. Second, an assessment can aid in identifying any unresolved trauma that may be hindering personal growth and healing. Lastly, it can provide valuable information for mental health professionals to develop an effective treatment plan.

The ACE Test

The ACE test is a questionnaire developed by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente in 1995. It is a tool that can help identify instances of childhood trauma and their effects. The ACE Test assesses the presence of the following in one’s childhood as a root for trauma:

  • Physical, sexual or verbal abuse
  • Physical or emotional neglect
  • Separation or divorce
  • A family member with mental illness
  • A family member addicted to drugs or alcohol
  • A family member who is in prison
  • Witnessing a parent being abused

Those taking the ACE test may qualify for several of these experiences. Any one of these experiences can cause significant early trauma to a child.

How to use the ACE questionnaire

The ACE questionnaire can be used by individuals to gain insight into their own experiences and symptoms. It can also be used by mental health professionals to assess the severity of trauma, and develop a treatment plan. The test can be completed online or in person. Once completed, the results can be used to guide further discussions and interventions. Taking this trauma questionnaire can be distressing, so be sure to have a support system in place as you embark on this.

Benefits of the ACE assessment

This test offers several benefits for both individuals and mental health professionals. For individuals, it provides a safe and structured way to explore their experiences and symptoms. It also offers a starting point for healing and growth. For mental health professionals, it provides a standardized and reliable way to assess trauma symptoms and develop a treatment plan. It can also aid in tracking progress over time.

Seeking Help

If you or someone you know is struggling with unresolved childhood trauma, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. They can provide support, guidance, and effective interventions to promote healing and growth. Unaddressed childhood trauma can have lasting effects on mental and physical wellbeing from childhood and into adulthood. The ACE questionnaire can be a valuable tool in assessing and providing valuable insights for inner childhood trauma.

Schedule an Assessment

Need help? Call 773-634-9600 to schedule an assessment or receive more information. You may also walk in anytime. We’re here 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Hartgrove Hospital

Hartgrove Hospital is a Modern Behavioral Health Hospital that specializes in personalized treatment for adults, adolescents and children. We pride ourselves on delivering quality care provided by our compassionate and thoughtful staff. Our mission is to restore the emotional well-being of our patients, while giving them the proper resources for their future.

Some of our programs include our inpatient and outpatient services. As well as our trauma and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP). These programs are offered with an all-encompassing psychiatric healthcare service that is both effective and efficient. Located in Chicago, IL, our facility has a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

To schedule a no-cost assessment or for more information, please call 773-572-7900 .

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Schedule an Assessment

Need help? Call 773-413-1700 to schedule an assessment or receive more information. You may also walk in anytime. We’re here 24 hours a day, seven days a week.