Title: The Deepest Well

Subtitle: Healing the Long Term Effects of Childhood Adversity

Author: Dr Nadine Burke Harris

This book – The Deepest Well – was recommended to me on the Troubled Kids Facebook Group, so I gave it a go – what a good move that was!

This one is a defining book that everyone working in our field should read.

I gave it 5 stars. Here’s why:


This book is the personal and professional journey of Dr Nadine Burke Harris – a paediatrician from the Hunter’s Point, Bay View area of San Fansisco.

It outlines how Dr Harris was driven by her observations that children seemed to be medically affected by the adverse experiences they were exposed to. She began by speaking to colleagues, gathering her own data and then – via the work of Felliti 7 Anda et al. discovered the Adverse Childhood Experiences research.

The rest is history, but is absolutely a brilliant read…


– The discovey of ACEs by a doctor gives a whole different perspective to those of us who are not medically trained and come at this from another angle.

– Dr Harris narrates her own, very personal, voyage of discovery. In doing so, she unpacks the whole ACEs phenomenon, step by step. As a result, this is a very clear and and easy to understand summary of ACEs, the biological processes that affect children’s growth, and the development of her medical practice to address their needs.

– The author is unafraid of sharing her own worries, puzzlement and frustrations during the unfolding of her own understanding. This is a very relatable book – I found myself echoing her expressions of how all affected her personally, as well as professionally.

– The book take a very logical and easy-to-follow walk through events, giving it a cohesion and common sense structure.

– There is tons of research cited here, but it’s all done in a very accessible and relevant way. I found myself noting stuff that I wanted to read afterwards!

– It is the thoroughly practical nature of this book that is perhaps it’s greatest gift – the theory is clear, the research is clear and the biological learning is clear; but it is the practical responding to ACEs that is both clear and profound. I am now a passionate advocate of screening for ACEs in every setting!

– If you’re a real believer in the work you do with troubled children and teenagers, you’ll love this book – it is written by someone who is committed and motivated, but isn’t afraid to share her own frailties along the way. I loved that!

– This is one of the few American books I’ve read where that facts doesn’t hinder the British reader – makes a nice change.


– I would have liked a few more illustrations to underlie and reinforce some of the more medical stuff, but this is a minor thing.

– As is the case a lot nowadays, there is no bibliography as such, so I had to go searching for the references I wanted. This is fine if you note them whilst reading the book, but going back to it afterwards to find them is more tricky.


Get the paperback  – here

Get the audiobook – here

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© Jonny Matthew 2018

Disclosure of material connection: Some of the above are “affiliate links.” This means that if you click the link and purchase an item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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