About Us

Overview of Training and Research

The training focus of the Trauma Center bridges the classroom and the community, expanding trauma-informed knowledge to social work master’s students through innovative curriculum and field placements (internships) at partner agencies. The Trauma Center seeks to establish student fellowships for specialized trauma training in partner agencies that serve children, youth, families, or communities who have experienced trauma. As part of the fellowship, students will receive special training in trauma assessment/intervention and prevention of secondary post-traumatic stress; partner agencies will receive recommendations, planning, and training to become more trauma-informed; and more individuals and communities will be helped in more effective ways.

Overview of Trauma, Adversity and Resilience

Adverse childhood experiences such as maltreatment, exposure to domestic violence, and parental substance use are traumatic or stressful events that lower an individual’s capacity to cope or adapt to future stressful events. Traumatic stress involves a threat to emotional or physical safety, results in feeling vulnerability and loss of control, leaves people feeling helpless and fearful, and interferes with relationships and beliefs (Herman, 1997). Childhood exposure to adverse experiences occurs at alarming rates in the United States. It is estimated that before turning 18 years old, two-thirds of all youth (63.9%) will experience one or more adverse childhood experience with 12.5% experiencing four or more (Felitti et al., 1998). Although children who experience adverse experiences are at heightened risk of developing emotional, behavioral, cognitive, mental health and physical health problems, not all children display such problems. In fact, some children continue to thrive and achieve adaptive development despite their early adverse life events. Resilience, in general, refers to the capacity for successful adaptation in the face of adversity.