What We Do

What We Do

The Center for the Treatment of Developmental Trauma Disorders (CTDTD) provides training to child and family services professionals, peer counselors and clinicians, case managers, supervisors, administrators, advocates, mentors, and policy makers nationally in order to enable them to make clinical decisions based on developmental trauma-focused assessments, interventions, and practice guidelines, and to thus increase the availability nationally of developmentally-informed client-centered services for children and families recovering from critical and often adverse developmental impacts of trauma.


CTDTD brings together national experts in developmental trauma and Actors from New Zenith Productions to provide dramatized therapy sessions and rich discussion in an effort to inform clinical professionals, policymakers, families and the general public about the developmental impact of childhood trauma—with a special emphasis on understanding and resolving the most critical challenges associated with developmental trauma such as suicidality, self-harm, addictions, isolation, and aggression and how these challenges may arise in therapy.

Developmental Trauma Disorder: Identifying Critical Moments and Healing Complex Trauma
Each webinar in this series shows a filmed dramatization of a crisis in a therapy/counseling session that illustrates the challenge of helping children and families recover from DTD.

Some past webinars have included:

As part of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), the Learning Center for Child and Adolescent Trauma offers free online education. You can access these webinars and others as well as earn free continuing education credits on the NCTSN site.

View All Webinars

Trauma Avengers

The Digital Diaries: Rx films and website offer a fresh approach for young audiences, immersing them in the experiences of peers dealing with trauma and various mental health issues, while illustrating how these young individuals think, feel, and interact.

These narratives are drawn from real therapy cases, carefully adapted by renowned therapists and portrayed by talented young actors to safeguard the privacy of the actual clients who inspired these stories. The entire project, spanning two years, involved a collaborative effort encompassing therapists, actors, a writer/director, and an Emmy Award-winning film crew. This collective endeavor covered development, scriptwriting, rehearsals, location shoots, music, artwork, and film editing.

Julian Ford, Ph.D., and Rocio Chang, Psy.D., from the University of Connecticut Health Center and its Center for the Treatment of Developmental Trauma Disorders (CTDTD), oversee the project. Ed Wierzbicki leads the production and direction, in collaboration with the creative team at New Zenith, working closely alongside CTDTD and UConn Health.

Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD) Field Trial

Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD) offers an integrative focus for treatment when youth with histories of complex trauma (CT) present with disorders reflecting extreme arousal dysregulation. Youth who meet criteria for comorbid internalizing and externalizing disorders tend to have the most severe and treatment-refractory symptoms and psychosocial impairments, even when provided with evidence-based treatment for their index disorders. As a result, they may receive inadequate services or costly and burdensome combinations of treatments for several disorders. DTD could provide a cost-effective way to describe and treat youth with histories of CT before they accumulate a laundry list of multiple comorbid internalizing and externalizing disorders.

The DTD Field Trial involved 3 phases: (1) a survey of more than 1000 child-serving professional internationally; (2) an interview study with a DTD semi-structured interview administered to 236 children in several sites across the United States; (3) a replication interview study with 271 other children in sites across the United States. Further validation studies are ongoing internationally.

Read More:

  • Developmental Trauma Disorder As An Integrative Framework [Document name: DTD Field Trial Overview]
  • Clinical Significance of a Proposed Developmental Trauma Disorder Diagnosis: Results of an International Survey of Clinicians [Document name: Ford2013JCP_DTDcliniciansurvey_74_841-849]
  • Toward an Empirically Based Developmental Trauma Disorder Diagnosis for Children: Factor Structure, Item Characteristics, Reliability, and Validity of the Developmental Trauma Disorder Semi-Structured Interview (1) [Document name: FordSpinazzolaVanderKolkGrasso_DTDFieldTrialPsychometrics_JCP_October2018]
  • The Evolution of Developmental Trauma Disorder [Document name: FordEvolutionOfDTD_2020.pdf]
  • When nowhere is safe: Trauma history antecedents of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Developmental Trauma Disorder (2) [Document name: SpinazzolaVanderKolkFord2018JTS.pdf]
  • Comorbidity of developmental trauma disorder (DTD) and post-traumatic stress disorder: findings from the DTD field trial (3) [Document name: zept-10-1562841.pdf]

1. Ford, J. D., Spinazzola, J., van der Kolk, B., & Grasso, D. (2018). Toward an empirically-based Developmental Trauma Disorder diagnosis for children:  Factor structure, item characteristics, reliability, and validity of the Developmental Trauma Disorder Semi-Structured Interview (DTD-SI)Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 79(5), e1-e9. doi: doi.org/10.4088/JCP.17m11675

2. Spinazzola, J., van der Kolk, B., & Ford, J. D. (2018). When nowhere is safe: Trauma history antecedents of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Developmental Trauma Disorder in childhood Journal of Traumatic Stress, 31(5), 631-642. doi: 10.1002/jts.22320

3. van der Kolk, B., Ford, J. D., & Spinazzola, J. (2019). Psychiatric comorbidity of developmental trauma disorder (DTD) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). European Journal of Psychotraumatology. doi: 10.1080/20008198.2018.1562841