Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Sarah Hamil


This literature review examined childhood trauma as a growing public health issue in the United States. Childhood trauma or adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can lead to negative health outcomes. Adults who were exposed to trauma early in life may face challenges such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, incarceration, obesity, and low work performance. ACEs impact key areas of development when toxic levels of stress hormones are repeatedly released in the brain. Negative outcomes for traumatized children include struggling with social relationships, difficulty with emotional regulation, low academic achievement, and behavioral problems. Grounded in child-centered therapy and an underlying theme of hope, the commonalities between methods are highlighted to support a multi-modal approach to treatment. More diverse and informed treatment options in school can aid in breaking the intergenerational cycles of trauma and better the lives of children and families. Findings included that adverse childhood experiences are common in the United States, the impact of trauma is unique to each individual, and a variety of methods can be used to begin a healing process.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




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