Treating the Traumatized Child

Scott Sells, Ellen Souder
Springer Publishing Company (2018)
ISBN 9780826171870
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer for Reader Views (8/18)

In “Treating the Traumatized Child” by Scott Sells and Ellen Souder, therapists will find critical information for enhancing therapy effectiveness in diverse populations, from foster children to military families.

Children are often referred to a therapist for issues such as behavioral problems, depression, anti-social problems utilizing individual therapy and changing behavior with consequences. Therapists have now finally realized that this approach does not help the remainder of the family that might have been impacted by the child/adolescent trauma, and failure is sure to repeat over and over. All family members are directly affected by traumatic events such as natural disaster, death, divorce or abuse, and it is important to provide support and validation to all.

The authors have provided very detailed, step-by-step guidance along with case examples, however, it is very tedious reading and not for families in general. One would have to have basic training in Family Systems Trauma Model, to be able to master Part I, which connects the theory to practice and techniques and strategies. The goal of the authors is to provide specific areas of treatment then focus on the specific trauma which is causing issues.

Chapter 2 includes a description of the type of client who will best be served by using this model and Chapter 3 provides diagrams of the model and the five phases of the Family Systems Trauma model. I particularly liked Chapter 2 which defines who traumatized children are, as well as discusses various types of traumatic events and, most importantly to me, is the discussion of ideal point of entry which is the reason for the referral.

There is no set time limit for therapy; it depends on the treatment the therapist uses, the ultimate goal, progress made and setbacks. However, if the therapist is well trained, connects with family members and there is a willingness to work on issues, progress can be made.

Overall, “Treating the Traumatized Child” by Scott Sells and Ellen Souder is a well-written, researched approach to treating trauma that impacts children. Again, I believe this read is better utilized by mental health counselors, school psychologists and counselors. I highly recommend it for those in the field.

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