Defining and Understanding the Complex Trauma Construct in Children

Defining and Understanding the Complex Trauma Construct in Children

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 1:30 pm CST to 3:30 pm CST


Complex trauma is commonly defined as an interpersonal traumatic event that is chronic and begins early in life. The construct of complex trauma was developed to describe a qualitatively more severe subset of traumatic exposure and the outcomes that follow this type of trauma exposure. Despite the proposal of two complex trauma diagnostic constructs into the DSM, the research regarding complex trauma remains sparse, particularly in children. Domains of impairment from complex trauma exposure have been delineated and adaptations to treatments have been developed for this population. In this presentation, Dr. Wamser-Nanney will discuss the research to date regarding defining complex trauma in children and adults. She will also describe the aftermath of complex trauma exposure in children. Treatment considerations for complex trauma-exposed children will be discussed.

Learning Objectives: By participating in this conference, participants will be able to:

    • Define the construct of complex trauma
    • Discuss the prior research regarding defining complex trauma
    • Understand the impact of complex trauma in children
    • Describe treatment considerations for children who have experienced complex trauma.




Rachel Wamser-Nanney, PhD


Dr. Wamser-Nanney is an Assistant Research Professor at the Missouri Institute of Mental Health (MIMH) at the University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL) and a licensed clinical psychologist. She received her PhD in clinical completed her graduate training at UMSL. Dr. Wamser-Nanney’s prior clinical and research experience has been focused on trauma-exposed children and adolescents.  Dr. Wamser-Nanney completed her predoctoral internship at Tulane University in New Orleans, where she was part of the Tulane Infant Team, a multidisciplinary team that works with maltreating parents and their very young children (birth – 6 years). She completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Michigan, Trauma and Grief Center for Youth.  Dr. Wamser-Nanney has published and co-authored book chapters regarding complex trauma exposure and treatment considerations for this population.


Registration Fee:




The University of Missouri, Missouri Institute of Mental Health will be responsible for this program and will maintain a record of your continuing education credits earned. MIMH will award 2 clock hours or 2.4 contact hours (.2 CEU) for this program.

MIMH credit will fulfill Clinical Social Work and Psychologist licensure requirements in the State of Missouri.

Attendees with licensure from other states are responsible for seeking appropriate continuing education credit, from their respective boards for completing this program.

The Missouri Institute of Mental Health, as a part of the University of Missouri – St. Louis an accredited University, provides continuing education credit for mental health and social service professionals.

License information for Missouri residents: