Think Trauma

About This Program

Target Population: Those working with juvenile justice system-involved youth which can include juvenile correctional or probation officers, youth care workers, teachers, social workers, judges, attorneys, guardian ad litems (GALs), or court-appointment special advocates (CASAs)

Program Overview

Think Trauma: A Training for Staff in Juvenile Justice Residential Settings is a skills-based, interactive trauma-focused training curriculum for frontline staff, educators, administrators, and others who work with adolescents in juvenile justice residential settings. The curriculum is developed in four modules and designed to be used in any program serving adolescents with trauma experiences that need all staff to have a common understanding of trauma and its impact. It can be used prior to implementing more trauma-specific services or beginning the journey of becoming a more trauma-responsive program. The manual contains specific and detailed information regarding with whom to implement, how to prepare for training, and provides prework which must be considered to prepare the organization. The curriculum itself is designed to be delivered either in full-day or modular form.

Program Goals

The goals of Think Trauma: A Training for Staff in Juvenile Justice Residential Settings are:

  • Provide basic education about trauma to those working with youth
  • Assist staff to develop empathy and understanding for youth who have experienced trauma
  • Learn what strategies may be effective in working with youth with trauma
  • Assist staff to understand the impact that this work can have upon them
  • Provide staff and organizations strategies to deal with the array of stressors that come with working in these systems and with traumatized youth and families

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Think Trauma.

Essential Components

The essential components of Think Trauma: A Training for Staff in Juvenile Justice Residential Settings include:

  • Four modules:
    • Module One: "Trauma and Delinquency"
      • Defines trauma and traumatic stress in justice-involved youth
      • Increases awareness of the prevalence of trauma in justice-involved youth
      • Increases understanding of common behaviors exhibited in justice-involved youth who have experienced trauma
    • Module Two: "Trauma's Impact on Development"
      • Explains the impact of trauma on multiple developmental domains
      • Speaks to how traumas have the potential to disrupt the development of both affective and behavioral regulation skills as well as attachment to others
    • Module Three: "Coping Strategies"
      • Reframes problematic behavior typically exhibited in justice-involved youth as survival coping skills/strategies
    • Module Four: "Vicarious Trauma, Organizational Stress, and Self-Care"
      • Provides staff an overview of these concepts and how to manage them

Program Delivery

Recommended Intensity:

This program is not a client-specific intervention, but a whole system approach that targets the entire organization.

Recommended Duration:

This program is meant to be implemented at an organization and kept as a framework that helps the staff understand trauma better.

Delivery Settings

This program is typically conducted in a(n):

  • Community-based Agency / Organization / Provider
  • Justice Setting (Juvenile Detention, Jail, Prison, Courtroom, etc.)
  • School Setting (Including: Day Care, Day Treatment Programs, etc.)


This program does not include a homework component.


Think Trauma has materials available in a language other than English:


For information on which materials are available in this language, please check on the program's website or contact the program representative (contact information is listed at the bottom of this page).

Resources Needed to Run Program

The typical resources for implementing the program are:

There are no additional resources needed to add this program to an organization aside from the program materials.

Manuals and Training

Prerequisite/Minimum Provider Qualifications

Implementing Think Trauma should be led by a mental health professional or someone with a mental health background and a frontline worker. In most instances, training provided by an experienced trainer is needed to train trainers prior to implementation.

Manual Information

There is a manual that describes how to deliver this program.

Training Information

There is training available for this program.

Training Contact:
Training Type/Location:

The Think Trauma curriculum may be downloaded from the website and taught to organization staff without any additional training from the curriculum developer. There are additional resources available online as well including videos and significant content to assist the trainer in the manual. With assistance from the curriculum developer, staff training is also available via a train-the-trainer model which enables multiple staff members to train future staff member on Think Trauma.

Number of days/hours:

Training of the Think Trauma curriculum itself requires approximately two days to be delivered. A train-the-trainer session takes approximately 2 days and is followed by opportunities for consultation.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

The following studies were not included in rating Think Trauma on the Scientific Rating Scale...

Marr, M., Surko, M., Storfer-Isser, A., Havens, J. F., Richardson, L., & Horwitz, S. M. (2015). Think Trauma Evaluation Questionnaire: Factor structure and feasibility of large scale administration. Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, 8(4), 229-235. doi:10.1007/s40653-015-0064-x

Note: This article is not used for rating because it does not evaluate the whole Think Trauma program. A 45-item Think Trauma Evaluation Questionnaire (TTEQ) was developed to assess participants' changes in knowledge and attitudes. This article examines the factor structure and internal consistency of this questionnaire. Two-hundred and ninety-six employees at two secure juvenile detention centers completed the TTEQ. The results suggest that the questionnaire is feasible to administer to a large group and has a factor structure corresponding to areas covered in the curriculum.

Additional References

Marrow, M., Benamati, J., Decker, K., Griffin, D., & Lott, D. A. (2012). Think Trauma: A training for staff in juvenile justice residential settings. Los Angeles: National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.

Marrow, M., Knudsen, K., Olafson, E., & Bucher, S. (2012). The value of implementing TARGET within a trauma-informed juvenile justice setting. Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma, 5, 257-270.

Olafson, E., Boat, B. W., Putnam, K. T., Thieken, L., Marrow, M. T., & Putnam, F. W. (2016). Implementing Trauma and Grief Component Therapy for Adolescents and Think Trauma for traumatized youth in secure juvenile justice settings. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0886260516628287

Contact Information

Monique Marrow, PhD
Agency/Affiliation: UCONN-HC Center on Trauma Recovery and Juvenile Justice and University of Kentucky Center on Trauma and Children
Phone: (567) 868-9606

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: April 2016

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: June 2016

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2016