Transforming Trauma in Children and Adolescents: An Embodied Approach to Somatic Regulation, Trauma Processing, and Attachment-Building

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Product Details

North Atlantic Books
Publish Date
7.0 X 10.0 X 0.7 inches | 1.3 pounds

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About the Author

The four authors founded SMARTmoves Partners in 2018, a training and consultation organization committed to improving the lives of traumatized children and families. Previously, the authors provided supervision, consultation, and clinical services at Bessel van der Kolk's Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts. Within this innovative setting, they collaborated on the development of the SMART model beginning in 2008. ELIZABETH WARNER, Psy.D. is a practicing clinical psychologist with 40 years of experience in a full range of mental health settings. She was the Project Director for SMART development and applications through the use of videotape for practice, teaching, research, and publications at The Trauma Center for 10 years, and has trained therapists in the US and internationally. ANNE WESTCOTT, LICSW is a clinical social worker specializing in the treatment of families impacted by trauma and attachment disruption over 30 years of experience in a range of settings. She is a senior faculty member at the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute founded by Pat Ogden, Ph.D. and co-author of the children's book series Hidden Strengths (2018). ALEXANDRA COOK, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist with over 30 years of experience dedicated to working with survivors of trauma through research, clinical service, training, and supervision. For over 20 years, Alexandra worked at The Trauma Center in various roles including Post-doctoral fellow, Director of Children's Services, and ultimately, Associate Director. She is the lead author of the White Paper on Complex Trauma in Children and Adolescents (2005). HEATHER FINN, LICSW is a practicing clinical social worker with nearly 20 years of experience working with trauma impacted children and families in residential, home-based and outpatient therapeutic settings. Heather provided clinical and supervisory services at the Trauma Center for 10 years, founded the program's first social work fellowship, and ended her tenure as Clinical Director.


"SMART is a ground-breaking new approach to treating traumatized children, based on the combination of keen clinical observation, sensory integration, and a deep understanding of the latest advances in the neuroscience of trauma. A focused, embodied, and engaged sense of self depends on learning to integrate sensory, muscular, emotional, and cognitive input, which is profoundly damaged by early trauma and disrupted attachment. With simple and affordable equipment, SMART creates a sensory space that helps children activate their sensory and physical needs and expressions, which in turn helps them to befriend their internal sensations and manage their actions and interactions. SMART fosters this core foundation for becoming a functioning human being, and thus it can help children to access and activate their rational brains and become full partners in connection, play, learning, and language."
--Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD, founder and medical director, emeritus at the Trauma Center, president of the Trauma Research Foundation, professor of psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, and author of The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind and Body in the Healing of Trauma

"Incredible! SMART is a revolutionary approach that exquisitely weaves together the authors' profound clinical wisdom and observations with the science and theory of the leading thinkers and scientists in our field. A must-read for mental health professionals, this book will help move us forward, updating the common, but narrow lens focused only on behavioral and top-down approaches. Keeping regulation and relationships at the heart of the approach, combining what we now know about the embodied brain and the far-too-often neglected sensorimotor system, this book will expand the perspective on and efficacy of the practice of many professionals, and it will support integration for so many families impacted by trauma."
--Tina Payne Bryson, LCSW, PhD, best-selling coauthor of The Whole-Brain Child and The Power of Showing Up and founder of

"Housed within the framework of the tenets of Sensory Integration, the authors have developed a triune intervention model that threads together the aspects of somatic regulation, trauma processing, and attachment-building in order to widen the window of tolerance for the dysregulated behavioral, emotional, and relational challenges faced by children and adolescents with a history of developmental trauma. The Sensory Motor Arousal Regulation Treatment (SMART) intervention model addresses the most fundamental mechanisms of traumatized children in a bottom-up, nonverbal language treatment option that not only prompts kids to ask--Do I get to play in there!--while peeking into his or her therapist's office, but more fundamentally, helps them make meaning of their traumatic experiences through the combined therapeutic actions of movement and sensory processes. Thus, while SMART focuses on the body it nonetheless changes a child's state of consciousness. This book is a clinical must-read for therapists who treat traumatized children or adolescents."
--Marilyn R. Davillier LCSW, MSSA and Ed Tronick, PhD, founders of the Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship, University of Massachusetts Boston

"I am so grateful for the commitment of the authors to provide clinicians with an additional, accessible treatment model to help the children in their care heal from the devastating impact of childhood trauma. People--especially children--experience overwhelming sensations and feelings that they are unable to put into words. SMART's emphasis on helping children take effective action using their whole body to better understand and regulate these sensations and feelings is central to healing."
--Steve Gross, MSW, chief playmaker and founder of The Life is Good Playmakers