Childhood abuse, brain development and psychopathology


Childhood maltreatment is the most important preventable risk factors for a vast array of psychiatric disorders. A critical question is how does maltreatment get ‘under the skin’ to enhance risk and how can this knowledge be used to preempt emergence of these disorders in maltreated children or to guide treatment. In this workshop we will explore in considerable depth the effects of childhood maltreatment on brain structure, function and connectivity. We will cover material in the keynote in greater depth and include effect of types of maltreatment and on brain regions not included in the keynote. A major emphasis will be on the relationship between brain changes and psychopathology. The ‘ecophenotype’ hypothesis that maltreated and non-maltreated individuals with the same DSM or ICD diagnosis are clinically, genetically and neurobiologically distinct will be explore in detail, as will be the surprising finding that certain maltreated individuals appear to be resilient to the psychiatric consequences of maltreatment but not to the neurobiological consequences. Emphasis will also be given to therapeutic strategies and mechanisms.






Martin H. Teicher

Original Work Citation

Teicher, M. H. (2017, June). Childhood abuse, brain development and psychopathology. Presentation at the 18th EMDR Europe Association Conference, Barcelona, Spain



“Childhood abuse, brain development and psychopathology,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed January 21, 2021,

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