Date of Paper

5-2013

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Lance Peterson

Abstract

Children who experience trauma often experience a disruption in the formation of attachment with their primary caregiver. This research aims to address how this disruption may lead to attachment disorders in children, and what developmental challenges children exposed to trauma may face. Using a qualitative interview case study of a children’s’ mental health professional, this study examines the impact of trauma on attachment, based on the experiences of this clinician. This study set out to investigate what treatment methods are currently used to treat children with histories of trauma and attachment disorders. From the qualitative interview 4 main themes were found and are labeled as the following: behavioral issues, reunification, awareness of attachment theory and trauma, and treatment methods. The research findings and current literature both address the importance of the clinician being aware of attachment theory and trauma informed care within current practice and treatment methods. However, the findings reveal some gaps in service and the need for a more systematic approach in how to work with children with attachment disorders and trauma histories. Further research is needed on practices used by mental health clinicians in a wide array of treatment settings in order to generalize findings.

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