Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor

David J. Roseborough


Social Work


The focus of this research was to gain a better understanding of the challenges of working with clients who have experienced severe or chronic trauma. The conceptual framework used for this research project is based on neurologically informed attachment theory as it is presented by Daniel J. Siegel in his book Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology: An Integrative Handbook of the Mind (2012). The sample consisted of five professional mental health therapists who currently work with clients in the treatment of trauma. All participants also completed the Level I Trauma Training for Sensorimotor Psychotherapy. This sample of therapists reported that the majority of their cases were related to trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and dissociative disorder. After analysis of the transcripts, three main themes emerged in the questioning: 1) Sensorimotor psychotherapy was explored due to perceived limitations with existing approaches for the treatment of some highly traumatized clients 2) Attention to the therapeutic relationship is extremely important when working with highly traumatized clients and 3) Insights regarding the therapists role in the treatment of traumatized clients. Strengths of this study included the relatively experienced sample and the qualitative nature of the study which allowed the participants' voices and experiences to be heard. Limitations of this sample include the small sample size of five therapists and the homogeneity of the participants.

Included in

Social Work Commons