Bruce D. Perry

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Bruce D. Perry
ResidenceHouston, Texas, United States
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materNorthwestern University
Arlis Perry
(m. 1974; died 1974)
Scientific career
FieldsNeuroscience, Mental health, Trauma
InstitutionsBaylor College of Medicine

Bruce D. Perry is an American psychiatrist, currently the Senior Fellow of the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, Texas and an Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. A clinician and researcher in children's mental health and the neurosciences, from 1993-2001 he was the Thomas S. Trammell Research Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and Chief of Psychiatry at Texas Children's Hospital. He also serves as Senior Consultant to the Alberta Minister of Children and Youth Services in Alberta, Canada. Dr. Perry is also a Senior Fellow at the Berry Street Childhood Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

Early life and education[edit]

Bruce Perry was born in 1955 in Bismarck, ND, the second of four children. His father, Duncan Richard Perry, was a dentist and his mother, Donna (Henry) Perry, a homemaker. Perry attended Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts but didn't graduate.[1] He took classes that interested him but did not fulfill requirements for a bachelor's degree.[1] Even without a bachelor's degree,[1] he earned an M.D. and Ph.D. at Northwestern University. He completed a residency, from 1984 through 1987, in psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. In 1987, Perry did a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Chicago.[1]


Perry has served as a consultant and expert witness on many high-profile incidents involving traumatized children, including the Columbine High School massacre, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Waco siege, and the YFZ Ranch custody cases. His clinical research and practice focuses on examining the long-term effects of trauma in children, adolescents, and adults and has been instrumental in describing how traumatic events in childhood change the biology of the brain. He is the author of more than 200 journal articles, book chapters, and scientific proceedings and is the recipient of a variety of professional awards. Perry's Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics is currently the working model used by Youthville's Trauma Recovery Center in Wichita, Kansas.[2]

Position on ADHD[edit]

Perry contends that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not "a real disease... It is best thought of as a description. If you look at how you end up with that label, it is remarkable because any one of us at any given time would fit at least a couple of those criteria."[3]



  • The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love and Healing, with Maia Szalavitz, 2007, ISBN 0-465-05652-0
  • Born for Love: Why Empathy is Essential --and Endangered, with Maia Szalavitz, 2010, ISBN 0-06-165678-X

Personal life[edit]

Perry's first wife, Arlis Perry, was murdered in Stanford Memorial Church on the grounds of Stanford University in California on October 12, 1974.[4][5]


External links[edit]