Date of Paper

5-2014

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Colin Hollidge

Abstract

Childhood trauma’s prevalence is apparent to therapists in the field, validated by statistics from national trauma studies, out-of-home placements and the longitudinal Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study. The purpose of this project is to look at the therapists’ perspective in using somatic interventions in childhood trauma treatment. Using a qualitative design, five therapists were interviewed regarding what somatic interventions they used with traumatized children and how they found the interventions to be useful. Transcribed interviews were coded for theme analysis; the emerging themes correlated with current related literature. The findings showed the themes of safety, engagement and embodiment to be key factors in empowering children and resolving trauma. Specific interventions that encapsulated those themes were noted. Additionally participation in the somatic interventions (i.e. yoga, mind-body work, expressive arts) by the therapist while treating the child was found to be a benefit of using somatic interventions and a possible deterrent from vicarious trauma.

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