1st Edition

Therapeutic Work for Children with Complex Trauma A Three-Track Psychodynamic Approach

    274 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    274 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Therapeutic Work for Children with Complex Trauma offers a contemporary three-track psychodynamic treatment model to mental health professionals working with traumatised children and their caregivers.

    The book provides a contemporary and comprehensive approach to working with traumatised children by integrating knowledge and skills from traditional psychodynamic child psychotherapy and more contemporary trauma-informed and mentalization-based frameworks. It advocates three tracks of work, involving direct work with the child, work with the child’s primary caregivers and work with the network. The book is divided into two parts: Part I of the book covers the theoretical background and Part II discusses the core components and phases of the trauma-informed and mentalization-based treatment approach. The authors bring out the specific dynamics of the psychotherapeutic work through four composite cases woven through the book.

    Written in accessible language this treatment guide is primarily aimed at psychodynamically trained psychotherapists, mental health professionals and professional caregivers working with traumatised children.



    Chapter 1. A contemporary psychodynamic perspective on and approach to complex trauma

    Chapter 2. Complex trauma and profound disruptions in four domains of child development

    Chapter 3. Complex trauma and the challenge to mentalizing capacities in parents and the network



    Chapter 4. The three-track treatment approach: core features and basic principles

    Chapter 5. Assessment of ‘child within family’ development

    Chapter 6. Direct work with the child

    Chapter 7. Work with parents

    Chapter 8. Work with the network

    Chapter 9. Working towards ending


    Nicole Vliegen, PhD, is Professor of Clinical Psychology at KU Leuven, Belgium, where she heads the postgraduate training programmes in Psychodynamic Child Psychotherapy and Infant Mental Health. She is a licensed psychodynamic child psychotherapist and heads the team of psychodynamic child psychotherapists at PraxisP, the clinical centre of KU Leuven.

    Eileen Tang, PhD, is a postdoctoral researcher in Clinical Psychology at KU Leuven and Professor in Psychology at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. She is a licensed psychodynamic child psychotherapist and is part of the team at PraxisP.

    Nick Midgley, PhD, is a child and adolescent psychotherapist and Professor of Psychological Therapies with Children and Young People at UCL/the Anna Freud Centre, UK. He has edited and co-authored several books, including Mentalization-Based Treatment with Children:A Time-Limited Approach (2017).

    Patrick Luyten, PhD, is Professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium and Director of the PhD in Psychoanalysis Programme at University College London, UK. He heads a treatment service for patients with depression and functional somatic disorders at PraxisP.

    Peter Fonagy is Head of the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at University College London; Chief Executive of the Anna Freud Centre, UK; Consultant to the Child and Family Programme at Baylor College of Medicine and visiting professor at Yale and Harvard Medical Schools. He has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from several national and international professional associations.

    'This is a text that child therapists have long needed. It brings together understandings which have historically been too separate, of the effects of complex trauma on children, alongside psychodynamic, attachment and developmental science, integrated into a deep but user-friendly and effective way of working not only with the child but also with the significant adults and systems around them. Clinicians, from the most experienced to newer therapists, will breathe a sigh of relief that this is available.' Dr Graham Music, Consultant psychotherapist, Tavistock Clinic, Author of Nurturing Children (2019) and Nurturing Natures (2016)

    'The present volume is much needed as communities around the world face more strife and conflict and complex trauma in children is increasingly common. The authors offer a concise and invaluable integration of clinical theory with insights into how therapists create a safe space to facilitate children’s recovery and growth. In language accessible for students as well as parents, the authors provide a vivid portrait behind the scenes of experienced therapists working with great skill with traumatized children and their families.' Linda Mayes, Arnold Gesell Professor Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry, Yale Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine 

    'Child psychotherapists working in the psychodynamic tradition have always worked with children and families struggling with the effects of complex trauma. Yet there has been a lack of an integration of longstanding psychoanalytic clinical experience with contemporary ways of working with trauma emerging from other fields, including neuroscience, developmental psychology and mentalization-based work. Nicole Vliegen and her colleagues have produced an approachable and inspiring practice guide, which will be useful for any child psychotherapist working with traumatised fostered and adopted children. Especially useful is the three-track treatment approach: direct therapy with the child has to be combined with active work with the parents/carers and the wider network for the work to have a lasting impact.' Maria Papadima, PhD, Editor of the Journal of Child Psychotherapy; Senior Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist in the NHS Service for Adolescents and Families in Enfield (SAFE)