Transforming Trauma in Children and Adolescents

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Transforming Trauma in Children and Adolescents

An Embodied Approach to Somatic Regulation, Trauma Processing, and Attachment Building

Author: Elizabeth Warner, Heather Finn, Alexandra Cook, Anne Wescott Foreword by: Margaret E., Ph.D. Blaustein

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A new somatics and attachment theory treatment protocol for therapists working with children and adolescents who suffer from complex trauma and neglect, using movement and sensation to target the neurological structures that support emotional and behavioral regulation.

The SMART (Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment) program arms clinicians with the necessary tools and skills they need to help clients overcome maladaptive patterns resulting from childhood abuse, neglect, and other adverse experiences. Addressing three key processes that can be derailed by developmental trauma–regulation, processing, and attachment–the SMART program uses body regulation, movement, and sensation to target the neurological structures that support emotional and behavioral regulation. It shows therapists how to help clients manage their feelings and attend to normal developmental tasks like making friends, learning at school, learning to play by oneself and with others, and developing a sense of self that includes–but isn’t defined or consumed by–the trauma they’ve experienced.

Transforming Trauma in Children and Adolescents introduces the foundations for SMART, including somatic regulation, arousal regulation, attachment building, and trauma processing. It teaches therapists the 8 key skills required for SMART mastery, and provides 8 regulation tools for clients. Enriched with case studies and recommended adaptations, it also includes resources for parents or other caregivers who want to provide ongoing supportive care outside the clinical setting.

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About the Author

ELIZABETH WARNER, PSYD, is the lead developer of the Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART) complex trauma intervention model and Director of the SMART program, part of the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute. She has worked with children, adolescents and their families of diverse backgrounds in outpatient private practice, residential treatment, schools, and psychiatric inpatient settings, and lectures and trains therapists throughout the US as well as in Canada and Hong Kong. HEATHER FINN, LICSW, is Clinical Director and a practicing psychotherapist at the Trauma Center. She is the lead author of a case study demonstrating the utilization of the SMART model in the Journal of Child Adolescent Therapy. ANNE WESTCOTT is a senior faculty member of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute and co-developer of the Trauma Center's SMART program. She is the coauthor of the Hidden Strengths Series, a set of children's books inspired by Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, designed to present children's distress in realistic yet digestible ways. ALEXANDRA COOK, PHD, is the Associate Director of the Trauma Center, where she has worked for over 20 years. She is the co-author of With the Phoenix Rising: Lessons from Ten Resilient Women who Overcame the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse.

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