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How Does Trauma Affect the Brain?

How Does Trauma Affect the Brain? 

Most human service providers understand that traumatic stress has a lasting impact on functioning and health. Have you wondered about the brain science behind these changes? Do you know how traumatic stress affects emotions, behaviors, and memory? How does experiencing trauma influence brain development in children and adolescents? In this instructor-led online course, we will explain the neurobiology of trauma and discuss how this understanding can change the way we work with individuals, teams, and organizations.

Meet the Instructors


Dr. Rachel Latta has worked with low-income and homeless men and women facing trauma, poverty, and mental illness since 1999, with a specific focus on intimate partner violence (IPV). Her knowledge base is grounded in the lived experiences of women, men, and their families, and has guided her practice-based research, policy development, outreach and program development, clinical care, and training. Rachel has served as a local and national trainer on IPV for the Veterans Health Administration, providing in-person and web-based trainings for staff and medical and mental health providers. As an adjunct faculty, she has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on gender, race, and counseling skills. Rachel has worked in and directed grassroots organizations and hospital-based and community mental health and substance abuse clinics. She has developed prevention programs and a recovery-oriented, person-centered, trauma-informed treatment, and directed an outpatient clinic for veterans and their families dealing with IPV. Rachel received her B.F.A. in writing, literature, and publishing from Emerson College, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Boston College. She is a licensed psychologist in the state of Massachusetts. She had a previous career as an editor and still wields a red pen.


Kristie ThomasKristie A. Thomas is an Assistant Professor at Simmons School of Social Work. Dr. Thomas received her M.S.W and Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice. She has extensive practice, teaching, and research experience in the fields of intimate partner violence, homelessness, and service delivery for marginalized populations. Additional areas of expertise include community organizing and development, program evaluation, and community-university partnerships. Dr. Thomas also teaches a course at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Prior to joining Simmons faculty, Dr. Thomas worked as the assistant director of the Ortner Center on Family Violence at the University of Pennsylvania and a research consultant for the National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women.