Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures


Using the Core Curriculum Ella Case Study to Build Assessment, Case Conceptualization, and Intervention Planning Skills

Event Title

2nd Annual Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Conference

Event Location

Salisbury University, Salisbury, Maryland, USA

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Presentation Date



The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)’s Core Curriculum on Childhood Trauma uses a variety of approaches—including detained case studies, problem-based learning, and instructional tools—to build critical reasoning and decision-making skills. This break-out session—co-led by clinical psychologists Drs. Christopher Layne and Polly Gipson—will use the Core Curriculum Ella Case Study to help learners practice information-gathering, case conceptualization, and intervention planning skills. Important points to be covered include the importance of a developmental-ecological approach, considering multiple hypotheses or explanations for problems, and the importance of the caregiver-child relationship in facilitating adjustment. Attention will also be given to the special challenges of working with traumatically bereaved children who are distressed both by the death and loss, and by the circumstances under which it occurred.


  • Describe the four steps that make up the basic four-step problem-based learning cycle.
  • Define what diagnostic overshadowing is, and how risk for diagnostic overshadowing can rise when a child’s developmental/trauma history is unknown.
  • Discuss the importance of the caregiver-child relationship, and why guidance and support of caregivers is crucially important to the well-being of traumatized and bereaved youth.