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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A narrative study of trauma-informed programs in an early elementary education setting Sweeney, Natalie Charlotte


Trauma has a life-long negative impact on the growth and development of many children. School-based trauma-informed interventions provide the opportunity to offer cost effective mental health support to children who may not otherwise access counselling. Previous research has found that many school counsellors and teachers report feeling inadequately prepared to support traumatized children. Additionally, many teachers and school counsellors report never receiving training in trauma-informed practices. There is a current lack of empirical Canadian research on the use of trauma-informed practices by school counsellors, particularly with young children. The present study investigated the stories of school counsellors and teachers using trauma-informed practices when supporting young children (ages five to eight) through narrative inquiry. Narrative interviews were conducted with two school counsellors and two teachers. Narrative thematic analysis was employed to construct themes and the verification process included member checking procedures. Four themes emerged from the analysis of participants’ narratives: Being Introduced to Trauma-Informed Practices, Trauma-Informed Practices as a Whole School Approach, Barriers to Trauma-Informed Approaches, and Strengths and Success of Implementing Trauma-Informed Approaches. The constructed themes are presented and the implications of the findings, and recommendations for future educational policy, practice, and research are discussed.

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