Communicating Trauma

Communicating Trauma: Clinical Presentations and Interventions with Traumatized Children

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Click or scroll down for the Spanish edition: Comunicar-el-Trauma

By Na’ama Yehuda

Communicating Trauma-Yehuda

 Winner of the 2016 ISSTD Written Media Award


© 2016 – Routledge

248 pages

Published: 9/9/2015

About the Book

Communicating Trauma explores the various aspects of language and communication and how their development can be affected by childhood trauma and overwhelm. Multiple case-study vignettes describe how different kinds of childhood trauma can manifest in children’s ability to relate, attend, learn, and communicate. These examples offer ways to understand, respond, and support children who are communicating overwhelm. In this book, psychotherapists, speech-language pathologists, social workers, educators, occupational and physical therapists, medical personnel, foster parents, adoption agencies, and other child professionals and caregivers will find information and practical direction for improving connection and behavior, reducing miscommunication, and giving a voice to those who are often our most challenging children.


Communicating Trauma is an amazing book about traumatized children and the unique ways they express their suffering. Most importantly, it is a roadmap for healing. Written with sensitivity, care, understanding and clinical wisdom, this gem of a book is clear, accessible, and includes poignant and instructive case examples. Both professionals and parents will find invaluable help here.”

—Onno Van der Hart, PhD, professor emeritus of psychopathology of chronic traumatization at Utrecht University in the Netherlands

“Communicating Trauma is essential reading for any clinician who wants to understand the wealth of meta-information and emotion banished to the shallow graves of childhood trauma. With her typical humility and incisive intellect, Yehuda elegantly spells out how the banal viciousness of early traumatic experience leaves children, adults, and psychotherapists with the burden of deciphering what is being said, sometimes without ever opening a shuttered mouth. Communicating Trauma is an able guide to creative approaches in understanding and relieving the aftereffects of both inadvertent developmental and, more sadly, ‘typical’ traumatic experience.”

—Richard A. Chefetz, MD, author of Intensive Psychotherapy for Persistent Dissociative Processes: The Fear of Feeling Real

“Communicating Trauma’s most powerful contribution resides in Yehuda’s skill in providing the reader with an encyclopedic panorama of powerful and poignant vignettes that drive her messages home with clarity, and at times with unsettling force. While the book seems to be written for those who provide a wide array of services and interventions for traumatized children, I strongly recommend it as well for clinicians like me, who treat adults who suffered childhood misfortune and mistreatment. For me, reading Communicating Trauma was almost like entering a time machine and seeing my patients decades before I encountered them in my consulting room. It provided me with a profoundly eye-opening and enlightening experience I wish had been available to me when I began my work with traumatized adults.”

—Richard P. Kluft, MD, PhD, clinical professor of psychiatry at Temple University School of Medicine and faculty member at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia

“Na’ama Yehuda absolutely gets it—the impact of trauma on children—and she weaves it together with captivating clinical vignettes, clear explanations of the baffling, complex behaviors that these children exhibit, and useful practices. Communicating Trauma will serve as an inspiring guide to a wide range of professionals and caregivers who work with children. Yehuda writes with deep compassion and understanding of children, enabling us to decipher their behavior and sometimes disguised communication with understanding and attunement.”

—Bethany Brand, PhD, professor of psychology and Martha E. Mitten Endowed Professor at Towson University in Maryland

Table of Contents

Part 1: A Brief Overview of Communication, Language, and Development

1. Infant Communication and Attachment: Reciprocity, Verbalization, and Regulation

2. Early Language Development: How Language Shapes Reality and Reality Shapes Communication

3. Socialization, Semantics, Humor, Symbolic Language, and Empathy

Part 2: Trauma, Maltreatment, and Developmental Impact

4. Indirect Trauma: Medical, Intrauterine, Environmental and Societal Trauma

5. Maltreatment: Neglect and Abuse

6. The Neuroscience of Trauma, Emotional Regulation, and the Developing Self

Part 3: The Language of Trauma

7. How Trauma Affects Language and Why It Matters So Much More in Children

8. Trauma’s Impact on Attention and Learning

9. Trauma’s Impact on Children’s Vocabulary and Semantics

10. Trauma’s Impact on Pragmatics: Language Use, Social Cues, and Discourse Rules

11. Trauma’s Impact on Memory, Organization, and Retrieval

Part 4: When Communication Goes Awry: Clinical Presentation and Assessment Challenges

12. Communication Symptoms in Traumatized and Dissociative Children

13. History, Screening, and Assessment Indicators

Part 5: Mending Meaning: Intervention Strategies, Collaboration, and the Importance of Taking Care

14. Psychoeducation and Everyday Tools for Reducing Overwhelm

15. Communication Intervention for Traumatized Children

16. The Promises and Challenges of Teamwork

17. Supporting the Supporters: Recognizing and Managing Secondary Traumatization

Afterword: A Prognosis of Hope

To order:


Routledge publishers


CT spanish NaamaYehuda

Comunicar el trauma:Criterios clínicos e intervenciones con niños traumatizados

From the publisher:

Comunicar el trauma explora diferentes aspectos del lenguaje y la comunicación y cómo su desarrollo se ve afectado por el trauma y el desbordamiento emocional de los niños. A lo largo del texto, múltiples estudios de caso describen de qué modo los distintos tipos de trauma infantil afectan a la capacidad de los niños para relacionarse, atender, aprender y comunicarse. Estos ejemplos nos brindan diferentes maneras de entender, responder y apoyar a los niños que tratan de comunicar que se sienten desbordados. Psicoterapeutas, patólogos del habla y del lenguaje, trabajadores sociales, educadores, terapeutas ocupacionales y físicos, personal médico, padres de acogida, agencias de adopción y otros cuidadores y profesionales de la infancia encontrarán, en este libro, información y consejos prácticos para mejorar la conexión y el comportamiento, paliar la falta de comunicación y conseguir que los niños más problemáticos sean escuchados.


10 thoughts on “Communicating Trauma

      • I am interested in children and their ways. My husband committed suicide when my son was only 12. It is very interesting to read about children who had trauma in their life and the influence it has/had on them. I’ll let you know what I think about your book! Enjoy your day/night.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, wow. I’m so sorry for your loss, and for your son’s loss. Yes, children process trauma in different ways, and a lot of it depends on who and where and how they HAVE to process it with. I’ll be eager to hear your thoughts when you have read the book. Have a lovely night.

        Liked by 1 person

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