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

Christina Brown, PsyD

Second Advisor

Marcia Pita, PhD


The focus in this review was to explore the benefits and optimal use of trauma-informed, strengths-based care for the therapeutic treatment of low-socioeconomic status (SES), urban youth. Specific focus was given to evidence-based research on the treatment of emotional and behavioral dysregulation among low-SES, urban youth. The review was guided by the following research questions: How can emotional and behavioral dysregulation be symptoms of trauma among low-SES, urban youth; What makes trauma-informed and strengths-based care optimal for the treatment of low-SES, urban youth with dysregulation; and What are clear guidelines for providing trauma-informed, strengths-based care to low-SES, urban youth with dysregulation. Emotional and behavioral dysregulation were defined and explored as symptoms of chronic stress and community trauma exposure (i.e., a traumatic stress response). The review included an exploration of protective factors and factors that contribute to traumatic stress responses and resilience. To fully conceptualize youth symptomology and provide thorough treatment guidelines, the review included an analysis of trauma-informed and strengths-based approaches as separate, yet complementary frameworks. This provided an opportunity to highlight supplementary theoretical traits and techniques from each approach that can uniquely benefit youth and their families who are affected by trauma. Treatment guidelines emphasize systemic needs with a focus on the importance of family growth and community support and include (a) engage in clinical preparation, (b) initiate a strong therapeutic alliance, (c) assess basic needs and community resources, (d) validate the trauma narrative, (e) empower systemic family change, (f) build strengths and reauthor the trauma narrative, and (g) establish and obtain unified goals.