Book Reviews Edited by Merryl Bushanksy

Book Review: Comprehensive Treatment of Trauma

By Robyn Moses

Volume 44 Issue 5

By Robyn Moses

A large scale CDC survey found that 63.9% of adults report that they had experienced one or more adverse experiences, which could be traumatic, during childhood or adolescence (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014). This is more widespread than previously believed, and the implication in the school setting can have a significant impact on student learning, social functioning, and overall well-being. Supporting and Educating Traumatized Students: A Guide for School Based Professionals identifies the prevalence and impact of these traumatic events on students, as well as the impact these students’ behaviors have on the educational environment. Notably and quite effectively, the text begins with a comparison of child trauma to a spreading virus that cannot be seen but will affect a large portion of the population, with each person experiencing different symptoms, where it is unknown who will recover spontaneously, and who will require direct assistance to avoid long-term detrimental impact.

The editors propose that the reader use this book as a resource to assist targeted groups of students with experiences such as the following: immigration, homelessness, exposure to community violence, incarcerated parents, parents involved in substance abuse, exposure to domestic violence, anticipating or experiencing the unexpected death of a loved one, military families, sexual abuse, neglect, physical and emotional abuse, and exposure to natural disasters and terrorism. School psychologists may wish to read the initial chapters regarding trauma and its developmental impact, and then refer to the appropriate chapter to assist the particular student groups in their setting. Information for each group includes how the trauma typically manifests in the school setting and resulting educational challenges. Strategies are identified to support students through direct assistance and through consultation to teachers so that they can provide an informed and supportive environment. Additional resources are identified, such as Internet resources, children’s literature, informal assessment tools, parent education tools, and training resources for school staff members.

While ongoing sexual molestation and sexual assault of children by adults is fully addressed, information regarding the needs of adolescents traumatized by date rape or sexual assault by peers is missing. Otherwise, this book exceeds the promise of its title, as this is far more than a guide. It is a comprehensive tool that provides insightful descriptions of the experience of trauma; detailed data; frameworks for understanding; and peer-reviewed and innovative approaches to advocate for students, assist teachers, and directly implement supports to students. School psychologists will find it informative and return to it periodically as a readily available and useful source.

By E. Rossen & R. Hull (Eds,) 2013, Oxford University Press

Robyn Moses is the director/school psychologist of mental health services for five school districts in Huntington Beach, CA, and a part-time faculty member at CSU, Long Beach