"This beautifully crafted book weaves together attachment theory, neurobiology, and adolescent development with the author's years of masterful practice as an individual and family therapist. The case descriptions of traumatized, hard-to-reach teens draw the curtain back on how to use language and the therapeutic relationship to connect and heal when there has been abuse, loss, and rupture. Straus combines the language of a gifted storyteller with the erudition of a scholar. A beginning therapist will find comfort and inspiration in Straus's generous sharing of her own work, and the most seasoned therapist will feel enlivened and enriched as well."--Anne K. Fishel, PhD, Director, Family and Couples Therapy Program, Massachusetts General Hospital; Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School "Straus gives us the rare treat of inviting us into her therapy room to be witness to the authentic, reciprocal, intimate relationships with her teen clients that are the fabric of healing in her relational model of treatment. This book brings the attachment literature to life in a new way and helps therapists understand their own relational strengths and weaknesses. Case examples of teens with varying attachment styles show how building a therapeutic relationship, over time, can integrate the self and overcome the disruptions caused by early trauma. I found the cases moving, the theoretical analysis enlightening, and the modeling of a warm, honest, related, and constantly struggling therapeutic stance a beautiful example to emulate."--Joyanna Silberg, PhD, Senior Child Trauma Consultant, Sheppard Pratt Health System; President, Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence "Rarely in our field does one find a voice so research-anchored, clinically precise, and utterly human at the same time. Straus demonstrates how to consistently 'show up'--to maintain a therapeutic connection when struggling with real kids, real therapy, and real trauma. The accessibility of her teaching is remarkable, making the book relevant to both trainees and deeply experienced clinicians. In a therapeutic landscape divided between protocol-driven and vague eclectic approaches, this book 'holds the center,' where most therapists and adolescents fitfully live with each other. Straus's approach can restore health to kids frozen by life events, in ways that will open the hearts of therapists as well."--Ron Taffel, PhD, Chair and Founding Director of Family and Couples Treatment Services, Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy, New York City "Straus provides a comprehensive description of her psychotherapy model for adolescents, as well as a glimpse of the creative therapist who developed it. She thoroughly presents the core principles of her approach, which rests soundly on theory and research. The many case presentations attest to the importance of developing, maintaining, and continuously repairing connections with adolescents in order to help them resolve attachment trauma and develop an integrated self. This book will find a place in the frequently-referred-to section of the bookcases of both beginning and experienced therapists who have the privilege of entering the lives of these isolated young people."--Daniel Hughes, PhD, private practice, Annville, Pennsylvania
“The author’s kindness, verbal intelligence, self-reflection, and capacity for integrating developmental neuroscience into psychotherapy represent a giant step toward effective work with adolescents, and with developmental trauma. Her ability to organize a coherent theory, beginning with theoretical underpinnings and proceeding through what she considers the essential ingredients of an effective therapeutic relationship with developmentally traumatized individuals, supports a psychodynamic, humanistic approach to therapy that is sorely needed and makes her case histories come alive….Both beginning and seasoned clinicians will benefit from this....Its presence on one’s bookshelf will provide inspiration and occasional reference long after its reading….This book represents a rather large step toward the development of a vocabulary and a treatment paradigm for addressing the ‘ongoing expression and enduring cascade’ (p.31) of developmental trauma….Providing a deeply wounded adolescent with the opportunity to experience himself or herself in relationship to others, and to experience affect in the presence of a safer other who is both skillful and committed, is sacred work. It is also neuropsychological work, and when an author can clearly articulate in both domains, with consummate writing, her work is an important contribution to the psychotherapy literature.
Reviewer: Ileana Ungureanu, MD, PhD, LMFT (Adler School of Professional Psychology)
Description: This book on treating developmental trauma in adolescence is an excellent addition to the developmental field in general and more specifically to those working with hard-to-reach teenagers. The developmental stance and the attachment theory approach combines uniquely in creating a model for working with adolescents affected by difficult trauma in their families.
Purpose: The author is sharing the model she created through years of practice to help those who are treating teenagers who experience trauma. In the professional literature, there are different models for working with trauma, but not so many for working specifically with adolescents who are sometimes perceived and treated more as adults. In this process, the specifics of the development stage are lost. The author's work is helping to fill this gap.
Audience: Written with practitioners in mind, the book is addressed to both beginning and more seasoned therapists and counselors engaged in helping teenagers who have experienced trauma. Dr. Straus is an author and researcher whose interest is focused on attachment relationships in adolescence and young adulthood, and who is an experienced presenter nationally and internationally.
Features: The book introduces the model the author developed in working with adolescents and their families when there are traumatic experiences in the history. Her model, developmental-relational therapy (DRT), is an integrative model that draws from developmental and attachment theories as well as interpersonal neurobiology. One aspect that makes this book unique is the emphasis on the therapeutic relationship and its importance for positive outcomes in therapy. While the therapeutic alliance is recognized in other models, it is more of a side note, whereas the relationship with the therapist becomes central in the author's approach. The use of case presentations makes the book come alive for practitioners.
Assessment: This is a much-needed addition to the developmental field as well as the trauma literature!