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This workshop focuses on the therapists’ role in setting a therapeutic framework for working with children and their families for trauma work. Participants will gain insight on how to interact effectively with the child as well as member of the family and wider system as well as evidence-based treatment options. This is informed by an understanding of developmental trauma and its clinical implications, child-parent attachment, and relevant contextual factors.


Nancy Berson, LCSW, is assistant director of the Program on Childhood Trauma and Maltreatment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has had more than 30 years of experience in working with abused and neglected children, including coordinating the Duke University Child Protection Team and working with the Guardian ad Litem Program and Departments of Social Services.




Learning Objectives

At the completion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

1.Identify and discuss at least 3 clinical implications of developmental trauma.
2. Name and describe at least 2 evidence-based treatment options for children and adolescents who experienced trauma.
3. Name and describe at least 2 dimensions of clinically astute trauma-informed care.


  • Berson, N. L. (2000). Too quick to judge: Examining alternative explanations in child abuse cases. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 8(4), 123-125. doi:10.1300/J070v08n04_08
  • Berson, N., & Meisburger, D. (1998). Working with avoidant children: A clinical challenge. Child Welfare, 77(4), 427-439.
  • Grube, W. A., & Liming, K. W. (2018). attachment and biobehavioral catch-up: A systematic review. Infant Mental Health Journal, 39(6), 656-673. doi:10.1002/imhj.21745
  • McTavish, J. R., Sverdlichenko, I., MacMillan, H. L., & Wekerle, C. (2019). Child sexual abuse, disclosure and PTSD: A systematic and critical review. Child Abuse & Neglect, 92, 196-208. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2019.04.006
  • Pleines, K. E. (2019). An attachment-informed approach to trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. Clinical Social Work Journal, 1-10. doi:10.1007/s10615-019-00701-7
  • Spinazzola, J., van der Kolk, B., & Ford, J. D. (2018). When nowhere is safe: Interpersonal trauma and attachment adversity as antecedents of posttraumatic stress disorder and developmental trauma disorder. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 31(5), 631-642. doi:10.1002/jts.22320



UNC Chapel Hill School of Social Work Clinical Lecture Series

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