Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Academic Discipline

Clinical Psychology - Florida School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Christina Brown

Second Advisor

Dr. Marcia Pita


The western culture holds many assumptions related to adoption; however, it is clear based on the research provided that adoption and the circumstances leading up to being adopted often leave the child traumatized. Many adopted individuals and adoptive families seek mental health services in order to help address some of the symptoms that have manifested through traumatic events. However, the services they are receiving are reportedly lacking in basic knowledge related to adoption and have, at times, done more harm than good. As clinicians, it is important to acknowledge one's scope of clinical competence and to only treat individuals that fall within that scope. Adoption-related training is rare, unless one seeks out specific training to become a certified adoption-competent therapist. There are numerous treatment modalities and interventions that have been and can be adapted to use with the adopted population, however it is highly recommended that therapists become competent in working with adopted individuals and families prior to treating adoption-related complex trauma.