U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Toward a Radical Understanding of Trauma and Trauma Work

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 9 Issue: 11 Dated: November 2003 Pages: 1293-1317
Bonnie Burstow
Date Published
November 2003
25 pages
This article offers a critique of the way in which professionals conceptualize and approach trauma and trauma work.
As violence against women gained attention as a public health problem, feminist therapy emerged as a way of treating trauma. Feminist contributions to trauma therapy have made significant impacts on the profession. This article offers a critique of how feminist theory has shaped trauma work. One criticism the article points out is the notion of post-traumatic stress disorder as encompassing too many random symptoms. Problems within feminist praxis are explored as the author asserts the need for a more radical understanding of trauma and trauma work. The article also explores the notion of institutional psychiatry and how it may actually create mental disorders by applying a rigid, textbook definition to patients’ problems. Trauma and trauma work is considered from a radical perspective and a more radical approach to counseling traumatized individuals and communities is urged. Trauma work should move away from the realm of psychiatry and toward a model of radical adult education. References


No download available