The brain and the immune system are not fully formed at birth, but rather continue to mature in response to the postnatal environment. The two-way interaction between the brain and the immune system makes it possible for childhood psychosocial stressors to affect immune system development, which in turn can affect brain development and its long-term functioning. Drawing from experimental animal models and observational human studies, we propose that the psychoneuroimmunology of early-life stress can offer an innovative framework to understand and treat psychopathology linked to childhood trauma. Early-life stress predicts later inflammation, and there are striking analogies between the neurobiological correlates of early-life stress and of inflammation. Furthermore, there are overlapping trans-diagnostic patterns of association of childhood trauma and inflammation with clinical outcomes. These findings suggest new strategies to remediate the effect of childhood trauma before the onset of clinical symptoms, such as anti-inflammatory interventions and potentiation of adaptive immunity. Similar strategies might be used to ameliorate the unfavorable treatment response described in psychiatric patients with a history of childhood trauma.