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Viewing psychopathology through a trauma lens
Social Work in Mental Health (2016)
  • Cassandra L. Bransford, Binghamton University--SUNY
Many symptoms and behaviors associated with a range of psychiatric disorders, including those not designated as trauma- or stressor-related, result from unprocessed and unintegrated traumatic experiences, requiring therapeutic assessments and interventions that consider the complex dynamics brought on by trauma. While the focus on symptoms in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) may lead practitioners away from a consideration of etiology when choosing interventions, the exclusions of “disorders of extreme stress not otherwise specified” in DSM-IV and “developmental trauma disorder” from DSM-5 may further predispose practitioners to disregard traumatic etiology and symptoms when assessing, diagnosing, and treating clients. Because a majority of recipients of public mental health services suffer deleterious effects from trauma exposure, social work and other mental health professionals have an ethical responsibility to incorporate trauma-based screenings, assessments, and interventions with clients. Thus, trauma-informed evaluation and treatment approaches must be included in graduate curricula, practitioners must seek continuing education to supplement their knowledge and practice skills, and agency administrators must provide inservice training to professional staff.
  • Mental health,
  • psychosocial intervention,
  • social work
Publication Date
April 15, 2016
Publisher Statement
This is the metadata for a article published by Taylor & Francis in the journal of Social Work in Mental Health on April 15, 2016, available online:
Citation Information
Bransford, C. L., & Blizard, R. A. (2016). Viewing psychopathology through a trauma lens. Social Work in Mental Health, 1-19.