I’ve been kicking around an idea for developing a seminar on the topic of trauma for attorneys for years, sparked by a story I heard about a Cambodian family that was relocated to Chicago as political refugees. 

What happened was the children were showing up at school with bruises.  They explained in broken English that “father did it” and CPS was called.  The children were removed for child abuse, but then a larger story emerged.   

It turned out that a local area church was generously sponsoring as well as putting the family up in a house in the suburbs.  The house was equipped with an automatic sprinkler system.  The sprinklers would come on in the early morning.  The reciprocating arm of the sprinkler sounded to the father like men with machine guns coming over the hills.  He would then try to “save” his family by throwing them onto the floor and covering them with his body.  Far from abusing his children, this man was trying to protect them.

The CPS worker investigating this case likely was hindered both by the language barrier (even for a very skillful investigator, working through a translator is a bit like doing surgery with a scalpel held by chopsticks) as well as lack of knowledge about the Khmer Rouge.

This case brought home the importance of quality legal representation because it was the attorney and not the CPS worker who discovered the larger story, a story that pointed to post-traumatic-stress disorder as opposed to child abuse. 

On July 28th, I am offering a six credit training “What Every Attorney Needs to Know About Trauma”

approved by the Washington State Bar Association for MCLE (Mandatory Continuing Legal Education).

This program will present the latest neurological research about the cause, effects and effective treatment of post traumatic stress disorder as well as differentiation between stress and trauma.  New practitioners as well as experienced attorneys will benefit from the knowledge and information provided by the co-presenters, psychotherapists who specialize in the treatment of trauma.

Topics Include:

  • Understanding the experience and the effects of trauma
  • Behavioral indicators of underlying trauma
  • Demographics of trauma
  • Gender and Cultural influence
  • Effective treatment
  • Secondary trauma prevention: how attorneys working with traumatized populations can avoid “picking up” client trauma.


                Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti LICSW, MSW

                Jari Preston M. Ed., LMFT

Tuition: $200.00

                9:00am to 4:00pm


To register please call Tanya Ruckstuhl-Valenti at 206 375-7690 or email Tanya@therapistseattle.net


***Please forward this to anyone you know who might be interested in attending***


Thank you! 


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