Helping Traumatized Families: 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Helping Traumatized Families

2nd Edition

By Charles R. Figley, Laurel J. Kiser


176 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2012-12-06
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The new edition of the classic Helping Traumatized Families not only offers clinicians a unified, evidence-based theory of the systemic impact of traumatic stress—it also details a systematic approach to helping families heal by promoting their natural healing resources. Though the impact of trauma on a family can be growth producing, some families either struggle or fail to adapt successfully. Helping Traumatized Families guides practitioners around common pitfalls and toward a series of evidence-based strategies that they can use to help families feel empowered and ultimately to thrive by developing tools for enhancing resilience and self-regulation.


"In Helping Traumatized Families, Figley and Kiser have produced a superb volume on how family trauma therapists can assist families in their process of recovering from traumatic events and the transformation of their view of themselves from victims to survivors with a sense of mastery and self-regulation. In their clearly formulated approach, they conceptualize how therapists can equip families with resources they will need to cope with future adversity—skills, attitudes, values—and highlight the challenges trauma therapists face and how to handle them. A tour de force."

—Florence Kaslow, PhD, president of Kaslow Associates and distinguished visiting professor at Florida Institute of Technology

"Charles Figley and Laurel Kiser have produced the most accessible and eloquent book yet written on the treatment of traumatized families. They clarify the subtleties and complexities of the impact of trauma on emotional relationships and offer a model of treatment founded in solid research, extensive clinical experience, and a big dose of common sense. Every therapist who works with families will want to read this book."

—Don R. Catherall, PhD, editor of The Handbook of Stress, Trauma, and the Family

"Helping Traumatized Families provides a broad and clear vision of the major role our support systems play in helping us cope with both the tragedies of everyday life as well as extreme events. It is a scientifically rigorous and comprehensive book by two gifted clinicians and a must read for any clinician who cares for traumatized people and their communities."

—Richard F. Mollica, MD, director of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma

Table of Contents

Part I: Understanding the Impact of Trauma on Families. The Family as a Living System. Individual Responses to Trauma. Spreading Beyond the Individual: Family Adaption to Stress and Trauma. Part II: Empowering Families. Foundations of the Empowerment Treatment Approach. Phase I: Joining the Family. Phase II: Understanding and Framing the Family's Trauma Response. Phase III: Building Healing Skills. Phase IV: Sharing and Healing. Phase V: Moving Forward. Part III: Empowering Family Trauma Therapists. The Family Trauma Therapist. Epilogue: Looking Back and Looking Forward. References.

About the Authors

Charles R. Figley, PhD, is the Paul Henry Kurzweg Distinguished Chair at Tulane University. A former Marine sergeant who served early in the Vietnam War, he went on to help pioneer the modern study of trauma and many innovations in helping the traumatized, including practitioners themselves, in his more than 200 scholarly articles, chapters, and books.

Laurel J. Kiser, PhD, MBA, is an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and heads the Family Informed Trauma Treatment Center (FITT). She has been supported by NIMH and SAMHSA to develop family-based trauma interventions including Strengthening Family Coping Resources (SFCR). Her articles appear frequently in the professional literature.

About the Series

Psychosocial Stress Series

The Psychosocial Stress Series includes books that make important contributions to theory, research, assessment, treatment, and policy on the causes and consquences of stress and trauma.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / Couples & Family