Complex Trauma Resource Materials
The following is a collection of workbooks, curricula, fact sheets, treatment guidelines, and other resources on complex trauma developed by Dr. Joseph Spinazzola and colleagues.
Some of these resources were specifically created for use by youth or adults who have experienced complex trauma. Others were developed for judges, therapists, educators, law enforcement and other professionals to promote increased understanding and more effective services for the many individuals and families impacted by complex trauma that they encounter in their work.
Downloadable copies are provided here for non-commercial personal, educational, therapeutic, research or professional use. Commercial use, reproduction, distribution or sale is prohibited.
Click the "+" below to view resources.
Resources on the intersection of complex trauma, race, systemic racism, and the promotion of diversity and inclusivity in trauma-informed services. Includes a deeply personal statement on racial identity by the Foundation Trust’s Training and Resource Development Associate, Kaitlyn Marie Wilson, as well as a thought-provoking reflection by Mrs. Wilson on the impact of the emergence of her biracial identity in the workplace. Also includes an article by Mrs. Wilson and Dr. Joseph Spinazzola originally featured in the New York State Trauma-Informed Network’s newsletter addressing the need to challenge implicit discrimination and advance inclusivity in the staffing of residential programs in order to better reflect client’s racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and more effectively meet their diverse cultural and clinical needs. Finally, includes a fact sheet developed by Dr. Joseph Spinazzola with colleagues from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network on complex trauma in urban African-American children, youth and families.
- I Am Biracial: My Journey Overcoming Systemic Racism and Reconnecting with my Cape Verdean Roots
- A Simple Statement about a Complex Thing: The Emergence of My Biracial Identity in the Workplace
- Complex Trauma in Urban African-American Children, Youth and Families
- Advancing Inclusivity in Trauma-Informed Residential Services and Staffing
A new resource developed by Dr. Jana Pressley, Psy.D. and Kaitlyn Marie Wilson, LICSW, discusses the impact of intergenerational trauma and how abuse or neglect a caregiver experienced during their own childhood can influence the way they think about, feel about, or react to their children. This new resource offers suggestions for survivors as they navigate their parenting journeys.
Read and download the PDF of Turning the Tide: Parenting in the Wake of Complex Trauma here.
The 5th issue of the official newsletter of the Complex Trauma Special Interest Group of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) from April 2022. Features summary and commentary by Drs. Marylene Cloitre, Julian Ford, and Thanos Karatzias on the establishment of CPTSD as a diagnosis in the 11th version of the World Health Organization’s ICD. Also includes an article on healing properties of Trauma Drama, the improvisational theater-based complex trauma intervention developed by Dr. Joseph Spinazzola.
This resource guide has been compiled to help complex trauma survivors cope with stressful current events or times of global crisis. Initially compiled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this guide illustrates coping strategies that are applicable in many situations. Stressors that can require people to isolate such as natural disasters, terrorism, or pandemics can trigger symptoms in people with histories of complex trauma. This resource explains the role that prior complex trauma plays in an individual’s response to current events, and outlines approaches to help people feel connected, safe, and more in control.
This resource guide aims to help youth with a history of complex trauma cope with stressful current events or times of global crisis. Initially compiled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this resource explains how current events can trigger symptoms in individuals with histories of complex trauma, and illustrates strategies for youth and their caregivers to feel more connected, safe, and in control. Parents, foster care providers, residential program workers, educators providing online instruction, or health care professionals may find these approaches helpful for caring for children or adolescents dealing with increased vulnerability to stress during uncertain times.
This resource guide was developed to help seniors living with chronic conditions and the people caring for them cope with stressors engendered by public health crises and other major events that impact routine access to resources, support, and community engagement. Initially compiled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this guide offers coping strategies that are applicable in many situations. Combining mental health insights with input leveraged from the Foundation Trust’s community partners in eldercare, this psychoeducational resource highlights examples of how seniors and their caregivers can adapt their activities during times of sequestering and physical isolation to promote well-being and stay connected.
This youth-inspired and youth-vetted guide is one of the first resources on complex trauma designed specifically for independent use by trauma-impacted youth. Also appropriate for adult-supported use with younger children and select adolescents as needed.
Employs plain language to advance understanding of complex trauma as a distinct form of psychological trauma. Identifies common effects of exposure to complex trauma, and explores healthy and risky ways in which youth strive to cope with these effects.
Recommends numerous daily strategies youth can undertake on their own or with the support of parents, teachers, mentors, pastors, therapists or other caring adults to begin to make things better. Finally, provides links to additional resources, including complex trauma psychotherapies. Incorporates rich information with compelling illustrations, worksheets and activities. Developed by Drs. Joseph Spinazzola, Mandy Habib, Margaret Blaustein, Cassandra Kisiel, Angel Knoverek, Bradley Stolbach, Funda Yilmaz, and colleagues from the NCTSN Complex Trauma Workgroup. Read pdf.
An interactive activity designed to help therapists, providers, parents, teachers and other caregivers better understand and more effectively respond to challenging behaviors exhibited by children, youth or adults in their care.
Developed by Dr. Joseph Spinazzola as a learning tool for service systems that operationalizes concepts from the Attachment domain of the ARC complex trauma intervention model. Can also be used as a standalone psychotherapeutic, psychosocial, milieu, home-based or classroom activity with individuals or groups.
Fosters collaborative, strength-based, non-punitive and client-tailored behavior management. Intended to promote youth empowerment, choice and capacity for self-regulation. File includes a detailed description of the activity, illustrative examples, and a reproducible implementation worksheet. Read pdf.
The original ISTSS guidelines for the treatment of CPTSD. Developed by the Complex Trauma Taskforce of ISTSS, including Dr. Joseph Spinazzola. Following ISTSS's disbandment of the Complex Trauma Taskforce, these guidelines were replaced by a position paper on Complex PTSD written by an overarching ISTSS Guidelines Committee that includes one complex trauma expert from the original taskforce. Read pdf
A succinct "top ten" list of recommendations for judges & courts serving traumatized children and families. Designed to aid the judicial system to
- recognize signs of and presenting problems associated with complex trauma;
- identify needs common to this population; and
- inform court-mandated or recommended therapeutic and auxiliary services, visitation and placement decisions, parental expectations and requirements, and other child and family supports.
Developed by Janice Stubblefield-Tave, Dr. Joseph Spinazzola, and colleagues. Read pdf
Designed to improve the well-being and academic outcomes of Alaskan children, this phenomenal resource is relevant and applicable to educational systems throughout North America and beyond.
Clear, concise and engaging, this framework synthesizes information from multidisciplinary scholarly literatures with extensive practice-based evidence derived from more than 200 school board and community members, teachers, counselors, nurses, and administrators.
Uses stories, research, and best practices to promote school-wide trauma-informed care and teaching practices that promote optimal learning, social-emotional development, and holistic growth for each student. Developed by the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development in collaboration with multiple state, tribal, and nonprofit and partner organizations. Read pdf
Summary of results from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence. Examines the contributions of family and community violence, criminal activity, and mental illness on youth risk trajectories for cumulative trauma exposure and complex trauma adaptation. Published by Dr. David Finkelhor and colleagues in the Juvenile Justice Bulletin of the U.S. Department of Justice. Read pdf
Resources on complex trauma-informed residential services developed by the Foundation Trust’s Dr. Joseph Spinazzola, Kaitlyn Marie Wilson and their colleagues. Includes two fact sheets developed by Dr. Joseph Spinazzola with colleagues from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network to support residential program administrators and multidisciplinary staff members to better understand and respond to the effects of complex trauma on children and adolescents. Also includes two articles originally featured in the New York State Trauma-Informed Network newsletter. One focuses on the importance of “frontline” direct care staff in forging unified trauma-informed intervention teams for youth in residential programs. Another addresses the need to challenge implicit discrimination and advance inclusivity in the staffing of residential programs in order to better reflect client’s racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds and more effectively meet their diverse cultural and clinical needs.
- Complex Trauma Informed Services Fact Sheet for Residential Program Directors, Administrators, and Staff
- MVP, Surrogate Parent and Mentor: The Pivotal Role of Direct Care Workers in Trauma-Informed Residential Services for Youth
- Advancing Inclusivity in Trauma-Informed Residential Services and Staffing
- Complex Trauma Informed Services Fact Sheet for Residential Program Treatment Staff
An official federal definition of complex trauma jointly put forward by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration. Adopted and elaborated upon by New York State's Department of Health for their Health Homes Supporting Children initiative. Directly derived from the definition of complex trauma, its origins, and domains of impact advanced by Drs. Mandy Habib, Joseph Spinazzola, Cassandra Kisiel, Bradley Stolbach, Angel Knoverek, Victor Labruna and colleagues through the complex trauma web pages of the NCTSN. Read pdf
Brief pamphlet on understanding trauma with resources for families and caregivers. Includes links to services to assist in locating child trauma therapists in Massachusetts. Available in 9 languages.
- Brazilian Portuguese
- European Portuguese
- Haitian Creole
- Cape Verdean Creole