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Date of Award
Educational Specialist (EdS)
Department of Graduate Psychology
Debbie C. Sturm
Michele Kielty Briggs
For beginning counselors there was minimal training in academic programs to address client experiences with trauma and the value of sensory interventions in treatment. The purpose of this literature review and compilation of adventure-based and creative arts interventions was to provide an understanding of trauma for adolescents from a neurobiological perspective, to provide assessment tools, a selection of sensory-based interventions for use within counseling sessions, and resources relevant to the beginning counselor. Steele and Kuban (2011) describe the experience of trauma as feeling completely unsafe and powerless. Interventions, then, should focus on repairing a sense of safety and power. To access the part of the brain affected by trauma, where talk therapy does not reach, sensory interventions within a place of safety provide an opportunity for individuals who have experienced trauma to modify their experience of themselves as survivors (Steele & Kuban, 2011). A literature review that used comprehensive databases of peer-reviewed journals and search terms such as “trauma”, “sensory memories”, “sensory interventions”, “adventure-based counseling”, “play therapy”, “creative”, and “counseling” were used. In addition, resources were gleaned from organizations such as The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children and reputable authors within the fields of counseling, psychology, and neuroscience. Literature regarding the neurobiological effects of trauma was abundant. Linking neurobiology with sensory interventions was ample, though it was an area where continued research would be supported. Counselors will benefit from implementation of sensory interventions in their work with adolescents who have experienced trauma. Practical resources for counselors were included in order to maximize the potential for transfer from learning into practice.
Trotter, Gini Christine, "Brains, beads and boulders: Trauma-informed sensory interventions for adolescents" (2012). Educational Specialist. 78.