'Putting humpty together again'

Working with parents to help children who have experienced early trauma

Margaret Goldfinch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


Early interpersonal trauma can have a profound impact on young children's emotional, cognitive and physical function, and on their ongoing development. This article outlines the diverse effects of trauma and how they might present in school or childcare settings. It considers the role of the family in the development of children's emotion regulation, especially if trauma occurs in the context of the family, and how trauma affects family dynamics. A therapeutic approach is then outlined to help address the multiple areas of difficulty. Work with parents and the whole family is aimed at maintaining physical and emotional safety and building trust between parent and child. Work with the parents, teachers and the child individually is directed at helping the child develop emotion regulation and competence physically, cognitively and interpersonally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-299
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Children
  • Dysregulation
  • Family therapy
  • Oppositional behaviour
  • Trauma

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