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ERIC Number: EJ1030315
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1089-5701
When Diagnostic Labels Mask Trauma
Foltz, Robert; Dang, Sidney; Daniels, Brian; Doyle, Hillary; McFee, Scott; Quisenberry, Carolyn
Reclaiming Children and Youth, v22 n2 p12-17 Sum 2013
A growing body of research shows that many seriously troubled children and adolescents are reacting to adverse life experiences. Yet traditional diagnostic labels are based on checklists of surface symptoms. Distracted by disruptive behavior, the common response is to medicate, punish, or exclude rather than respond to needs of youth who have experienced relational trauma. Among the most traumatized youth are those removed from family, school, and community and placed in residential settings. Whether in treatment or juvenile justice programs, the focus is more on managing disruptive behavior rather than fostering healing and growth. As trauma expert Sandra Bloom (1997) suggests, the question should not be "What is wrong with you?" but rather "What has happened to you?" This article describes findings from the Adolescent Subjective Experience of Treatment (ASET) study of youth in residential treatment settings. Their exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences was surveyed. While a majority of youth had experienced serious trauma, the diagnoses they were given usually failed to acknowledge these experiences.
Reclaiming Children and Youth. PO Box 57 104 N Main Street, Lennox, SD 57039. Tel: 605-647-2532; Fax: 605-647-5212; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A