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Kalman, T.P. (2018). Treating Trauma in Adolescents, by Martha B. Strauss, Guilford Press, New York, 2017, 284 pp.. Psychodyn. Psych., 46(4):613-615.

(2018). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 46(4):613-615

Treating Trauma in Adolescents, by Martha B. Strauss, Guilford Press, New York, 2017, 284 pp.

Review by:
Thomas P. Kalman, M.D.

Martha Strauss has written a remarkable book about working with severely and chronically traumatized adolescents. The complexity and comprehensiveness of this work mirrors the enormity of the work itself with this population—adolescents struggling to survive and surmount devastating histories of neglect, abuse, and abandonment. No standard review of several hundred words can do justice to this book, so I have adopted a more focused approach to create a useful summary for potential readers.

Treating Trauma in Adolescents is just that—a guide to psychotherapy with teenagers who have endured childhood histories of severe emotional deprivation, neglect, and abuse. These are the young people who present with anger, self-destructive and aggressive behaviors, isolation, gut-wrenching loneliness, dissociation, and, often, intrusive psychotic symptoms. Hers are the patients whose difficulties have sometimes been compounded by (presumably) well-intentioned but ineffectual treatments and often much exposure to psychotropic medications. Her patients have often had brushes with the law, have been hospitalized, and frustrated well-meaning teachers and schools.

While I do not know Dr. Strauss personally, she is professionally accomplished to write on the subject of treatment for trauma in adolescents. The book identifies her as Professor of Clinical Psychology at Antioch University New England in Keene, New Hampshire. Her website (she has written several other books and many articles and is a frequent presenter and speaker) cites her education and training at Brown, University of Maryland, Yale, Boston Children's, and Harvard. In addition to her primary faculty position she is listed as an adjunct faculty member at Dartmouth.

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