Catherine E. Caplis is a 2014 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee

  • Martha Straus, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • William Slammon, Ph.D. Committee Member
  • Jennifer Lexington, Ph.D. Committee Member


child abuse, child neglect, trauma, effects, trauma-informed therapy, perceived efficacy NMT, Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics

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Child abuse and neglect can have serious negative physiological and psychological effects on the developing brain. Children who suffer from early and ongoing abuse and neglect often develop further problems as they mature, even if they are subsequently in safe environments. Many trauma-based therapies have been created in order to help these children develop increased emotional and social regulation, and decrease their behavioral problems. The Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) is a newer approach to working with traumatized children that has garnered great enthusiasm despite very limited outcome data. In this dissertation, I explore the promise of NMT and describe a qualitative research project on its use and perceived efficacy in a community mental health agency serving complexly traumatized children and their families. The participants in this research study maintain that NMT has had positive effects on staff and clients. They find this approach to therapy effective, and are enthusiastic about its implementation at their agency. The clinical implication is that NMT may succeed where other trauma-informed approaches fail.