New blog offers user-friendly information on trauma

How people cope with traumatic events varies widely between individuals, and the impact on a family can be long lasting and devastating. Now there is a new resource coming out of York University for people seeking information on what to do when faced with the effects of trauma.

Released today, The Trauma and Attachment Report is an electronic, research-based publication designed to disseminate current knowledge about trauma to the wider community.

Above: The launch of The Trauma and Attachment Report gives people seeking information on new research in trauma a readily available, user-friendly resource

Constructed in the form of a weekly blog, The Trauma and Attachment Report offers articles authored by graduate and undergraduate psychology students doing active research in the Trauma and Attachment Lab at York University.

“The purpose of The Trauma and Attachment Report is to provide clear, accurate information to members of the community on the topic of interpersonal trauma,” says York psychology Professor Robert Muller, who serves as the publication’s editorial director and publisher. “The report will cover topics such as the causes and consequences of trauma, treatment, prevention, and the implications of trauma for society at large.

Right: Robert Muller

“The articles draw upon primary sources such as interviews with survivors, therapists and others who work in the field of interpersonal trauma,” says Muller.

The report is oriented toward providing conversational, plain text articles about the effects of psychological trauma on children and adults. Much of the information covered in the report, says Muller, arises from interviews as well as research findings from the lab, and articles published in reputable scientific journals.

“Our goal is to disseminate this knowledge by discussing research findings in a manner that can be easily understood by readers,” says Muller.

In the spirit of knowledge dissemination there will be no charge to subscribers. In addition to regular articles, there will be book reviews in the area of interpersonal trauma and readers will be able to share their thoughts on particular pieces. Muller and his team decided on the blog format because it is “borderless and timeless and would provide individuals with information when they need it any time of the day or night.”

The first article in today’s issue presents an interview with a Canadian soldier who recently served in Afghanistan.

Part of the theoretical framework that informs the blog is attachment theory, pioneered in the 1970s by psychiatrist John Bowlby. He posited that humans form attachments as a survival mechanism to seek protection from real or perceived threats. Even when a protector’s caregiving skills are lacking, the developing child does what’s necessary to maintain the relationship; this shapes negative patterns of defence and affect, carrying over into adulthood.

Muller says the successful launch of the blog is a win-win for both students and readers. “We want readers at York University, we want readers in Australia,” he says. “That is why we have placed the report online so that it can be accessible to everyone. Much of what is on the Internet is someone’s opinion and is not backed by research. The Trauma and Attachment Report is a university-based project and it is as accurate as possible.

“One of the greatest skills a researcher can have is the ability to translate complex jargon into something understandable,” says Muller. “I am hoping that the students working on the blog get an opportunity to write in a style that is different from what they typically get in university. We know a lot about what works and what does not work in treating trauma. Being able to get it out there in a form that is highly accessible to everyone is very important.”

For more information, visit The Trauma and Attachment Report online.