Resource Directory Glossary
Welcome to the Glossary for our Resource Directory. Here we’ve tried to help clarify and de-mystify any jargon that it used in the field of attachment & trauma therapy, support and education, to help parents, caregivers and others understand any terms that are being used. Where possible, we’ve linked to more information on various modalities or issues to give you more information.
This glossary is a work-in-progress. We will be adding and updating to this as new information becomes available.
First off… if you’re needing to learn more about overall diagnoses and treatments in general, check out our Treatment page.
The Glossary Headings are organized by the Filter Headings found in the Resource Directory.
Non- Binary: A non-binary person simply identifies with a gender that is not male or female.
LGBTQ+: LGBTQ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning. The “plus” stands for love, acceptance, and the embracing of all.
BIPOC: BIPOC is an acronym that stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
ARC – Attachment, Regulation, Competency: This intervention, developed by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk in conjunction with Kristine N. Kinniburgh and Margaret E. Blaustein is recognized by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network as a promising practice.
Brainspotting: Brainspotting is a brain-body therapy that focuses on identifying, processing, and releasing imbalances, trauma, and residual emotional stress. It is based on the premise that ‘where you look affects how you feel’ and finds that eye positions correlate with unconscious, emotional experiences. It reaches parts of the brain that are not generally accessed through traditional talk therapy approaches.
Circle of Security: The Circle of Security® is an innovative intervention program designed to improve the developmental pathway of children and their parents
CPP – Child-Parent Psychotherapy: Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) is an intervention for children from birth through age 5 who have experienced at least one traumatic event, and, as a result, are experiencing behavior, attachment, and/or mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The primary goal of CPP is to support and strengthen the relationship between a child and his or her parent (or caregiver).
DBT – Dialectical Behavioral Therapy: Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) provides clients with new skills to manage painful emotions and decrease conflict in relationships. DBT specifically focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four key areas: mindfulness,distress,emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness.
DDP – Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy: Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) is a treatment approach for families of traumatized children or those with disorders of attachment, developed by Daniel Hughes, Ph.D. DDP is an experiential therapy that principally involves creating a PLACE (playful, loving, accepting, curious, and empathic) environment.
EFT – Emotional Freedom Techniques:This has sometimes been called a psychological version of acupuncture, in that it involves making contact (in a systematic way) with a number of acupuncture points. Usually this is by tapping on these points, while you focus on a specific feeling, thought or image. The specific points to tap are the end-points of the major meridians (meridians are believed to be channels of subtle energy which flow through our body).
EMDR: EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Much research has been done on treating PTSD with EMDR in adults, and sometimes in children.
IFS – Internal Family Systems:IFS is a transformative, evidence-based psychotherapy that helps people heal by accessing and loving their protective and wounded inner parts.
Interpersonal Neurobiology:Interpersonal Neurobiology (IPNB) is primarily a theory and practical working model which describes human development and functioning as being a product of the relationship between the body, mind and relationships. IPNB is heavily rooted in attachment theory.
PCIT – Parent-Child Interaction Therapy:coming soon
SSP- Safe and Sound Protocol: SSP is a non-invasive application of Polyvagal Theory, based on decades of research and developed by Dr. Stephen Porges.
Sanctuary Model: A trauma-informed, evidence-supported template for system change based on the active creation and maintenance of a nonviolent, democratic, productive community to help people heal from trauma. It addresses the marginalization of specific cultural groups through exposure to trauma.
SP-Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP) is a complete therapeutic modality for trauma and attachment issues. SP focuses on the body as an integral source of information which can guide accessing and processing of challenging, traumatic, and developmental experience.
Somatic Experience:Somatic experiencing is a form of alternative therapy aimed at relieving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental and physical trauma-related health problems by focusing on the client’s perceived body sensations. It was developed by trauma therapist Peter A. Levine.
TBRI: Developed by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross at the TCU Institute of Child Development, Trust-Based Relational Interventions® (TBRI®) is an emerging intervention model for a wide range of childhood behavioral problems. TBRI® is a holistic approach that is multidisciplinary, flexible, attachment-centered, and challenging. It is a trauma-informed intervention that is specifically designed for children who come from ‘hard places,’ such as maltreatment, abuse, neglect, multiple home placements, and violence.
Dissociative Identity Disorder:Dissociative identity disorder is associated with overwhelming experiences, traumatic events and/or abuse that occurred in childhood. Dissociative identity disorder was previously referred to as multiple personality disorder.
Gender Identity Issues:Involves a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify.
Intellectual Disabilities & Trauma:
Medical Trauma:This is defined as a set of psychological and physiological responses to pain, injury, serious illness, medical procedures and frightening treatment experiences.
PTSD:Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat or rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence or serious injury.
Racial Trauma:Racial trauma, or race-based traumatic stress (RBTS), refers to the mental and emotional injury caused by encounters with racial bias and ethnic discrimination, racism, and hate crimes
Self-Harming: Nonsuicidal self-injury, often simply called self-injury, is the act of deliberately harming your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself. It’s typically not meant as a suicide attempt. Rather, this type of self-injury is a harmful way to cope with emotional pain, intense anger and frustration.
Sensory Processing Disorder:
Sexual Abuse: Unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent
Sexualized Behaviors: Generally refer to sexual behavior that is developmentally inappropriate, coercive, or potentially harmful emotionally or physically
Substance Abuse: A complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences. People with addiction (severe substance use disorder) have an intense focus on using a certain substance(s), such as alcohol or drugs, to the point that it takes over their life.
Animal Therapy: The goal of Animal Therapy is to assist in normalizing the trauma experience, providing a calming agent, establish rapport and help develop a therapeutic alliance with the health care provider . Animal-assisted therapy is a goal directed intervention that includes reducing isolation, brightening moods and affects, addresses grieving and loss, improves self-esteem and socialization, while decreasing overall anxiety.
Art Therapy: Based on the idea that art expression is helpful in reconnecting implicit (sensory) and explicit (declarative) memories of trauma and in the treatment of PTSD
Drama: The intentional use of drama and/or theater processes to achieve therapeutic goals
Drumming: An ancient approach that uses rhythm to promote healing and self-expression. … Recent research reviews indicate that drumming accelerates physical healing, boosts the immune system and produces feelings of well-being, a release of emotional trauma, and reintegration of self
EFT – Emotional Freedom Techniques: This has sometimes been called a psychological version of acupuncture, in that it involves making contact (in a systematic way) with a number of acupuncture points. Usually this is by tapping on these points, while you focus on a specific feeling, thought or image. The specific points to tap are the end-points of the major meridians (meridians are believed to be channels of subtle energy which flow through our body).
Equine Therapy:This can help individuals, couples, and families to work through the pain of traumatic life experiences. It can help clients to find more internal resources than they knew they had, strengthen coping skills, practice asking for and receiving help, and begin to regain a sense of control.
Hippotherapy: A treatment modality whose effectiveness has been confirmed in a large patient group with physical or mental disabilities when applied by an experienced therapist with the aid of a horse.
Music/Dance Therapy: This includes creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music to strengthen cognitive abilities, alleviate pain, and improve self-esteem, among other things.
Neurodevelopmental : Neurodevelopment is a term referring to the brain’s development of neurological pathways that influence performance or functioning (e.g., intellectual functioning, reading ability, social skills, memory, attention or focus skills).
Somatic Experience: Somatic experiencing is a form of alternative therapy aimed at relieving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental and physical trauma-related health problems by focusing on the client’s perceived body sensations. It was developed by trauma therapist Peter A. Levine.
Christian Counseling: In Christian counseling, faith plays an important role in the healing process.
Expert Witness:A person who is permitted to testify at a trial because of special knowledge or proficiency in a particular field that is relevant to the case.
Family Therapy: Family therapy is usually provided by a psychologist, clinical social worker or licensed therapist.
Group Therapy:Therapy in the presence of a therapist in which several patients discuss and share their personal problems
Individual Therapy:A form of therapy in which the client is treated on a one-on-one basis with a therapist.
In-Home Services: Services and supports are provided within the home.
Intensives:Therapy that is provided in a very short “intensive” number of sessions, such as everyday for a week, or several sessions a day. Intensives are often used to get started quickly on a specific modality or healing intervention, or because the professional or client has traveled a long distance and will be working remotely afterwards.
Parent Coaching: Someone who helps parents with parenting challenges by offering alternative perspectives around family situations, uncovering strategies to shift behaviour and family dynamics and helping parents achieve their parenting goals.
School Consultations:Trained to offer consultation to teachers as a method of establishing interventions for a student in a classroom. Consultation is intended to be a cooperative process between school and teachers as an effort to promote success in students who are struggling.
Support Groups:A group of people with common experiences or concerns who provide each other with encouragement, comfort, and advice.
Telehealth/Online Therapy:The use of technology to provide clinical services
Special Education Resources
Attend IEP Meetings:
Negotiation/Mediation: Mediation is a process in which a mediator helps to resolve a dispute between a parent and school district personnel over a child’s special education program. A mediator is a neutral person who will help the participants arrive at a mutually satisfactory agreement.
Parent Training: Teaching a parent or caregiver of a child a skill or idea in a way that is based upon application of interventions.
Pro Bono Work:The term generally refers to services that are rendered by a professional for free or at a lower cost
Public Trainings: Refers to training that is held on a regular scheduled basis, that anyone from the public or any organization can register for and attend based on a per person fee.
Special Ed Law: Assist in meeting the educational needs of children and protecting their constitutional rights.
Technical Assistance: Any device, piece of equipment or software that helps a person to more easily tackle daily challenges at school or at work. It makes learning and communication simpler and more functional.
IEP: The term IEP( Individualized Education Program/Plan)is also used to refer to the written plan that spells out the specific types of help children will get. Both the program and the written plan are covered by special education law, or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Trauma-Informed School Resources
ACEs: ACEs are adverse childhood experiences that harm children’s developing brains and lead to changing how they respond to stress and damaging their immune systems so profoundly that the effects show up decades later. ACEs cause much of our burden of chronic disease, most mental illness, and are at the root of most violence.
Cultural Competency: Cultural competence is the ability of an individual to understand and respect values, attitudes, beliefs, and mores that differ across cultures, and to consider and respond appropriately to these differences in planning, implementing, and evaluating education and promotion programs and interventions
Racial Trauma: Racial trauma, or race-based traumatic stress (RBTS), refers to the mental and emotional injury caused by encounters with racial bias and ethnic discrimination, racism, and hate crimes
Restorative Practices: Restorative practices represent a positive step forward in helping all students learn to resolve disagreements, take ownership of their behavior, and engage in acts of empathy and forgiveness.
Trauma Impact on Learning: Children’s reactions to trauma can interfere with learning and behavior at school.
Trauma-informed Policies and Systems: Programs within a school system create and sustain trauma awareness, knowledge, and skills into their cultures, practices, and policies. They act in collaboration with all those who are involved with the child, using the best available science, to maximize physical and psychological safety, facilitate the recovery of the child and family, and support their ability to thrive.
Trauma-informed Special Ed: This means that the school team acknowledges the potential impact of adversity and stress on students and families, even if families never disclose such adversity. The instruction is specially designed to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. The hallmark of special education is that it is individualized for student needs. Special education is provided at no cost to parents or students.
Common Therapist Credentials and hHelpful Information
Marriage and Family Therapist: MA, MFT, LMFT, LCMFT Training: completion of a masters program in Marriage and Family Therapy. Those with an “L” have completed licensure requirements which may involve state board exams and supervision hours.
Neuropsychologists: A neuropsychologist is a psychologist who specializes in understanding the relationship between the physical brain and behavior. The brain is complex. Disorders within the brain and nervous system can alter behavior and cognitive function.
Pastoral Counseling: MA, CCPT, CpastC, NCPC, NCCA Training: completion of a masters program in Pastoral Counseling or Pastoral Therapy. These programs typically involve a combination of coursework in therapeutic approaches and clinical counseling skills in combination with theology, spiritual counseling, and pastoral care/chaplaincy.
Psychiatrists: Medical Doctors (MDs) Training: A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in psychiatry, the branch of medicine devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, study, and treatment of mental disorders
Psychologist Doctorate Level : PhD, PsyD, EdD (they will also have Dr. before their name). Training: completion of a PhD, PsyD, or EdD program in psychology. All degrees require clinical field experience and dissertations, though a PsyD or EdD is typically more clinically focused, while a PhD is more research focused.
Psychologist: Masters Level: MA, MS, LGPC, LCPC .Training: completion of a masters program in psychology, counseling psychology, mental health counseling, or a closely related field. Those with an “L” have completed licensure requirements which may involve state board exams and supervision hours.
Social Worker: MSW, LGSW, LCSW, LMSW, LCSW-C, LISW, LSW (and probably more, as this varies depending on state license, but will always involve an “SW”) Training: completion of a masters program in social work. Those with a “C” in their credentials completed a masters program in clinical social work. Those with an “L” have completed licensure requirements, which may involve state board exams and supervision hours.