Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor

Catherine L Marrs Fuchsel


Social Work


Recently, the use of physical holds or physical restraints on adolescents in residential and psychiatric treatment facilities has become a rising controversy among the professionals working in these settings. The literature discusses the debate more in detail, touching on the potential psychological risks associated with these holds and whether or not this outweighs the need to perform these holds to ensure safety for these adolescents. This research was designed to study this controversy in more detail, specifically examining the effects of physical holds on adolescents with a history of abuse through the experiences and perceptions of the clinicians who have witnessed or performed these holds. This study used qualitative research, which included data collection and analysis using content analysis to establish themes within the data. This data was collected from 8 clinicians who currently work in a residential treatment setting and have witnessed or performed physical holds on those with an abuse history. The following themes were identified from the data; a) ensuring safety, b) importance of training, c) trauma response, d) importance of processing physical holds, e) loss of power and control, f) secondary trauma and g) trauma or abuse history. The findings of this study have many implications that will be relevant to various professionals working with children or adolescents. Possibly the most important indication is the potential to significantly reduce the adverse effects of physical holds and transition towards utilizing holds as a therapeutic tool to further help clients experience change.

Included in

Social Work Commons