Building Bridges: Connecting Systemic Trauma and Family Resilience in the Study and Treatment of Diverse Traumatized Families


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Historically, the study of family resilience was largely disconnected with the study and treatment of trauma. Moreover, most examinations have not adequately accounted for the structural and ethnic diversity that is increasingly important in the United States. This is a severe gap in knowledge, given ethnic minorities tend to experience trauma at disproportionately high rates. For example, American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) experience disproportionately high rates of violence and associated mental health disparities; thus these populations are among the most vulnerable to trauma. This discussion begins with an overview of the history and components of family trauma-resilience by defining and clarifying the concepts. Focusing on the effective treatment of traumatized families, we define and trace the roots of systemic trauma and family resilience research as it applies to AI/AN families and other diverse communities. The authors discuss methodological considerations (e.g., gathering family level data) and identify core components of trauma treatments and highlight empirically supported and trauma-informed approaches that are effective with AI/AN families, highlighting fruitful areas for helping traumatized families across diverse contexts. The authors call on clinical researchers to collaborate with practitioners to establish evidence-based, trauma-informed practices that promote family resilience in a culturally relevant way.

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