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Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD): Emerging Science and Best Practices

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Bessel van der Kolk, MD |  Joseph Spinazzola, Ph.D. |  Margaret Blaustein, PhD |  Elizabeth Warner, EdM, PsyD
Full Day
May 31, 2017
PESI, Inc.
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The Trauma Center has been in the forefront of elucidating and defining the complex adaptation of children and adolescents to chronic abuse and neglect, as captured in the proposed diagnosis of Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD), and in developing innovative treatments aimed to specifically address the damage cause by early trauma, abuse and neglect. This workshop will present a comprehensive exploration of DTD. We will present the results from a multilevel, multiyear DTD National Field Trial of over 500 children and adolescents, addressing the clinical necessity, symptom composition and traumatic antecedents of DTD. For the first time, we will share definitive clinical interview and self-report instruments for DTD.  Approaches to treatment of DTD in children, adolescents and transitional age youth will be illustrated through case presentation, videotaped session review and live audience-interactive presentation of three innovative Trauma Center models designed for use with this population: ARC (Attachment, Regulation and Competency), Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART) and Trauma Drama.




This online program is worth 6.5 hours CPD.



Bessel van der Kolk, MD's Profile

Bessel van der Kolk, MD Related seminars and products

Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD, is a clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of post-traumatic stress. His work integrates developmental, neurobiological, psychodynamic and interpersonal aspects of the impact of trauma and its treatment.

Dr. van der Kolk and his various collaborators have published extensively on the impact of trauma on development, such as dissociative problems, borderline personality and self-mutilation, cognitive development, memory, and the psychobiology of trauma. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed scientific articles on such diverse topics as neuroimaging, self-injury, memory, neurofeedback, Developmental Trauma, yoga, theater, and EMDR. 

He is founder of the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts and President of the Trauma Research Foundation, which promotes clinical, scientific, and educational projects. 

His 2014 #1 New York Times best seller, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Treatment of Trauma, transforms our understanding of traumatic stress, revealing how it literally rearranges the brain’s wiring – specifically areas dedicated to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust. He shows how these areas can be reactivated through innovative treatments including neurofeedback, somatically based therapies, EMDR, psychodrama, play, yoga, and other therapies.

Dr. van der Kolk is the past president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, and professor of psychiatry at Boston University Medical School. He regularly teaches at conferences, universities, and hospitals around the world.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Bessel van der Kolk is a professor at Boston University School of Medicine, the Director of the Trauma Center, and the National Complex Trauma Network. He receives royalties as a published author. Dr. van der Kolk receives a speaking honorarium, recording royalties, and book royalties from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Bessel van der Kolk has no relevant non-financial relationships.

Joseph Spinazzola, Ph.D. Related seminars and products

Joseph Spinazzola, Ph.D., holds an appointment at Boston University School of Medicine and is actively involved with provision of direct services to individuals and providers, serving as a clinician, clinical supervisor, and senior trainer. Dr. Spinazzola is Co-Director of the Complex Trauma Treatment Network, a national initiative to transform large regional and statewide systems of care, operated through our Center’s Category II National Child Traumatic Stress Network site award. Dr. Spinazzola specializes in the assessment, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of complex trauma in children and adults, and is the author of a number of publications in this area as well as on the topic of youth violence prevention. Dr. Spinazzola holds particular interest in dissociative coping adaptations in survivors of chronic maltreatment and neglect and in the role of transformative action in the recovery process.
Speaker Disclosures:
Financial:  Joseph Spinazzola has no relevant financial relationship to disclose.
Nonfinancial:  Joseph Spinazzola has no relevant nonfinancial relationship to disclose.

Margaret Blaustein, PhD's Profile

Margaret Blaustein, PhD Related seminars and products

Margaret E. Blaustein, PhD, is a practicing clinical psychologist whose career has focused on the understanding and treatment of complex childhood trauma and its sequelae. Dr. Blaustein is co-developer of the Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC) treatment framework (Kinniburgh & Blaustein, 2005), and co-author of the text, Treating Complex Trauma in Children and Adolescents: Fostering Resilience through Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency(Blaustein & Kinniburgh, 2010). 

Dr. Blaustein’s work has been hailed as “a landmark for understanding and treating traumatized children” by world renowned trauma expert Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, and has been embraced by over 300 agencies and/or child-serving systems in the U.S. and abroad who use the ARC framework. 

She has provided extensive training and consultation to providers worldwide. Dr. Blaustein is the director of the Center for Trauma Training in Needham, MA, and is actively involved in local, regional, and national collaborative groups dedicated to the empathic, respectful, and effective provision of services to this population.

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Margaret Blaustein is the founder and director of the Center for Trauma Training, Inc. She receives royalties as a published author. Margaret Blaustein receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Margaret Blaustein is a member of the American Psychological Association and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

Elizabeth Warner, EdM, PsyD's Profile

Elizabeth Warner, EdM, PsyD Related seminars and products

Elizabeth Warner, EdM, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist with 40 years of experience working with children and families in psychiatric inpatient and outpatient settings, schools, mental health clinics and residential treatment, as well as in her private practice. Early in her career, she spent 15 years working with severely disordered children including traumatized children and their parents, using innovative treatment methodologies and videotape for process study at the Language & Cognitive Development Center.

Since 2006, her focus has been on development of innovative treatment for children from 1.5 years to 22 years whose lives have been impacted by chronic stress and complex trauma, as well as acute stress, and their caregivers. As project director at the Trauma Center at JRI, a center of excellence in trauma treatment, training and research, she oversaw development, training, and consultation in Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART) for outpatient, in-home, therapeutic day school, and residential treatment settings in the US, Canada and Hong Kong. She also collaborated with JRI community-based therapists to develop SMART applications for in-home therapy and constructed two videotape coding systems for studying regulatory processes in treatment. As a co-founder and partner in SMARTmoves LLC, she continues to train and consult to therapists in the US and abroad. She is conducting research through videotape study and treatment outcome studies, in order to test out hypotheses about the impact of sensory motor interventions and somatic regulation. Dr. Warner maintains a private practice for adult psychotherapy and parent consultation.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Elizabeth Warner is the co-founder and partner of SMARTmoves, LLC. She maintains a private practice and is a consultant for the Justice Resource Institute and Gallaudet University's SAMSHA grant. She receives royalties as a published author. Dr. Warner receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Elizabeth Warner is a member of the American Psychological Association and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.


  1. Describe the structure and protocol of the field trial developed to study the validity of the Developmental Trauma Disorder as a diagnostic construct.
  2. Name at least two manifestations of DTD as revealed in the field trial.
  3. Identify and describe at least one assessment measure used to evaluate presence of proposed DTD criteria.
  4. Identify and define at least two core goals of intervention for children who meet proposed DTD criteria.
  5. List at least one way that each of the described interventions (ARC, SMART, Trauma Drama) addresses youth regulation.
  6. Compare and contrast the described interventions (ARC, SMART, Trauma Drama) for addressing DTD.
  7. List what actions people can take to regulate their own physiological functioning.


  1. Introduction to the History of Developmental Trauma Disorder
  2. The Body and Trauma
    1. Triggers of Discomfort
  3. Imitation
  4. Pitch and Emotion
  5. Parts of the Brain
    1. Amygdala
    2. Pre-Frontal Cortex
    3. Precuneus
    4. Anterior Cingulate
  6. Physical Reactions
  7. Attachment
  8. PTSD
  9. Childhood Experiences Matter
    1. How Much
    2. When
    3. What
  10. Child Maltreatment
  11. The NCTSN Psychological Maltreatment Study
    1. Child Maltreatment




  1. The Four Traumas
  2. DTD Trial Phase I
  3. DTD Trial Phase II
  4. DTD Criterion
  5. What is ARC?
    1. ARC Framework



  1. Setting the Foundation for Identification
  2. Early Identification Work
  3. Deepening Identification
  4. Sensorimotor Approaches in DTD
  5. Compromised Attachments
    1. Rhythms of Engagement
  6. Self-Location
  7. SMART
  8. Trauma Drama
  9. Panel Discussion and Questions

Target Audience

Physicians, Psychologists, Social Workers, Addiction Counselors, Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists, Nurses, Psychiatrists, and other Mental Health Professionals



Overall:      5

Total Reviews: 1


Larisa H

"Excellent program. I found it useful and affirming for my work."

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