Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

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


Social Work

First Advisor

Mike Chovanec


Social Work


This research set out to explore how clinicians are currently addressing treatment of siblings. The purpose of this paper is to explore clinicians’ perceptions of how to treat siblings who have suffered complex trauma. The research shows that there is a growing need to look at this issue, as in 2011 there were 3.4 million reports to Child Protective Services (CPS) in regards to 6.2 million children. Of those 6.2 million, 2.0 million received a CPS response (United Department of Human and Health Services, 2011). “Complex trauma” is a term defined, for the sake of this paper, as the exposure to multiple traumatic events, often of an intrusive, interpersonal nature. Complex trauma frequently does not affect just one child, but often several victims within a family. Children are part of a larger system existing of their family, school, community, and are impacted by their environment. More than one sibling in a family often has symptoms of complex trauma, but treatment is typically focused on the child who has the more obvious behaviors. The research will rely on the Developmental Repair Model as a conceptual framework that guided interview questions and informed the researcher of one particular treatment modality to use with siblings. Salient findings revolved around themes such as sibling as a co-regulator, joining, sense of self, and sibling dynamics. The study concluded with a recommendation for further research to explore the outcomes of placing the Developmental Repair model within an agency or school and measuring its success. The research also has implications for social workers in teaching educators to focus more on what is behind the behaviors the schools are seeing, and joining with a child to establish safety and trust.

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