Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Work

First Advisor

Rosemary Farmer


The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention model designed to enhance practitioners’ biological lens when using a biopsychosocial-spiritual model of holistic assessment and planning. The specific intervention utilized is a course curriculum developed to broaden human service professionals’ (including clinical social work professionals) understanding of attachment theory, neuroscience and trauma informed methods of practice. The course teaches professionals how to apply this knowledge to clinical assessment and intervention planning with youth who have experienced significant trauma in their lives and exhibit problems of conduct. Using an experimental design, participants from a large private mental health organization were asked to evaluate the impact of curriculum on their 1) knowledge of attachment theory, trauma informed practice and neurobiology; 2) attitudes concerning the relevance of trauma-informed practice, the biological perspective and consequence focused models of intervention; and 3) assessment and intervention planning strategies. The curriculum focused its application on youth who have experienced significant levels of trauma and display conduct related behavior problems. Group differences for the workshop intervention group and waitlist control group are discussed. Additionally, a preliminary evaluation of differences between two different intervention groups (participants in the Distance Learning version of the course and the Workshop Seminar version of the course) was conducted.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2010

Included in

Social Work Commons