Beyond PTSD: Helping and Healing Teens Exposed to Trauma


Friday, June 12, 2020 | 9:30a.m. - 12:30p.m.

The Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center
One Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016

NYSED Approved for 3 CE contact hours


Join us to gain strategies for understanding and working with adolescents who have experienced trauma, and who can often have complex symptomatology and behavioral profiles that are different from those typically seen in adults. This workshop will discuss how brain science informs our understanding of the symptoms of traumatized youth and how those symptoms intersect with development and evolve over time. You will also leave this workshop with strategies for connecting with traumatized adolescents and overcoming avoidance, a common trauma symptom that makes youth reluctant to engage in therapy. Evidence-based treatment strategies for working with traumatized youth and steps for implementing these strategies when working with youth in child welfare will be offered.

Learning Objectives


  • Gain an understanding of the neurobiological and developmental impact of trauma on the teenage brain. 
  • Identify strategies for assessment and evaluation of youth exposed to trauma.
  • Learn what evidence-based treatment modalities are utilized for traumatized adolescents and some common features of these treatments. 


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Ruth Gerson, MD

Ruth Gerson, MD is a child and adolescent psychiatrist at NYU and Bellevue Hospital, where she runs a specialized emergency room for children with mental health crises. This emergency room, called the Children's Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program or CCPEP, is one of only two programs like this in the country (the other one in LA opened six months ago and is based on our program). The CCPEP is the only place in the city where youth who are suicidal, cutting themselves, struggling with severe anxiety or rage outbursts or drugs and alcohol or not feeling safe at home, can get a comprehensive, specialized, holistic psychiatric assessment and treatment any time of day or night, regardless of insurance or ability to pay.
Dr. Gerson is the editor of two books; her first entitled Helping Kids in Crisis: Managing Psychiatric Emergencies in Children and Adolescents was recognized as the best book of the year in psychiatry by the British Medical Association, and her second entitled Beyond PTSD: Helping and Healing Teens Exposed to Trauma comes out in a few weeks. She attended Harvard for her undergraduate degree and Columbia for medical school, then Harvard and NYU for her psychiatry residency and fellowship. She has two kids, ages 3.5 and 16 months.

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Patrick Heppell, Psy.D

Dr. Heppell is a clinical assistant professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine. He currently serves as the Clinical Director for the Bellevue Hospital–ACS Mental Health Team (MHT) at the Administration for Children Services’ Children's Center. Dr. Heppell and MHT have also trained over 200 child welfare staff in understanding and working with traumatized youth, specifically through the Think Trauma model. Dr. Heppell has advanced level training in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) for child and adolescent maltreatment issues, grief and bereavement. He is also a co-editor of an American Psychiatric Association Publishing book: Beyond PTSD: Helping and Healing Teens Exposed to Trauma. Previously, he was a child psychologist at Bellevue Hospital’s Children’s Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program, and has also worked at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, in the University of Southern California Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, and in family therapy and day-treatment programs.