Real Life Heroes® (RLH) provides practitioners with easy-to-use tools including a life storybook, manual, multi-sensory creative arts activities, and psycho education resources to engage children and caregivers in evidence-supported trauma treatment.  RLH helps practitioners reframe referrals based on pathologies and blame into a shared ‘journey,’ a ‘pathway’ to healing and recovery focused on restoring (or building) emotionally supportive and enduring relationships and promoting development of affect regulation skills for children and caregivers.  Creative arts, movement activities, and shared life story work provide a means for children and caregivers to develop the safety, attunement and trust needed for re-integration of traumatic memories. 

What Makes RLH Different?

Real Life Heroes® focuses on the developmental needs of children ages 6-12 and has been successful with adolescents with Complex PTSD who have delays in their social, emotional or cognitive development, intellectual deficits or disabilities.  RLH is a relationship-focused treatment that counters the effects of interpersonal traumas and works to increase children’s attachments with caregivers and pride in their abilities, family and cultural heritage as an ‘antidote to shame’ (Herman, 2011).  

The RLH Treatment Model includes a workbook and session rituals which provide an easy-to-learn and transferable structure that allows children and caregivers to continue trauma treatment if they move between programs or practitioners and includes primary roles for residential counselors, parents, resource parents, mentors, and other caring adults.  

The RLH Toolkit integrates core components of treatment for Complex PTSD (Relationships, Emotional Self and Co-regulation, Action Cycles, and Life Story Integration) from referral and assessment through service planning, treatment sessions, treatment reviews, three-month outcome evaluations, and discharge with fidelity tools to support supervisors and ensure implementation of ‘best practice’ trauma treatment. 

 RLH provides ‘ready-to-go’ tools for hard-pressed practitioners including step-by-step guides for developing self and co-regulation with slow breathing, yoga, movement, ‘improv’, and storytelling activities that promote child-caregiver attunement and trust. 

The model guides flexible adaptation of tools to engage a wide range of families and adjust for changes in a child and caregiver’s stability to maintain safety and progress in treatment.  

RLH can often be used with children who have not been willing to participate in, or have been excluded from, trauma-focused treatments including children with suspected traumas that have not been acknowledged or validated, children who have had frequent hospitalizations, and children whose caregivers have not been able or willing to work in trauma-focused treatment.

Why Use Real Life Heroes?

  • Research-tested for efficacy with children and families in child welfare, behavioral health and school-based programs
  • Integrated framework and easy-to-use fidelity tools keep treatment focused on National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) recommended ‘best practice’ core components of treatment for Complex Trauma, trauma-informed child welfare services and effective treatment of traumatic stress
  • Easily adaptable to match the needs and strengths of diverse children, families, and programs
  • Enables new practitioners to readily implement trauma and attachment-centered treatment and offers advanced skill-building and tools for experienced staff 
  • ‘Ready to go’ toolkit promotes expedited training and implementation by practitioners with little time for workshops or session preparation
  • Leads to high rates of implementation after initial training
  • Empowers caregivers and creates opportunities for caregivers to resolve their own traumatic stress 
  • Can be used to supplement other trauma treatments to engage and sustain engagement of hard-to-reach children and families.
  • IT'S FUN!

How can Real Life Heroes® Help Child Welfare and Behavioral Health Programs?

RLH treatment has been successfully implemented for 18 years in a wide range of child and family services, behavioral health and school-based treatment programs and can be used to jumpstart development and implementation of trauma-informed and resiliency-focused services for children and families with Complex Trauma.  RLH training and consultation programs have successfully engaged and trained practitioners and programs with limited time for training.  Follow up surveys have found high rates of practitioner use and sustainability after training.  RLH is also easily adapted for diverse families and can be used in home-based, clinic-based, residential, foster care and adoption programs.  RLH was developed and tested with children who did not meet the criteria for many treatment models or were not improving with other trauma-informed interventions which focused primarily on the child’s development of self-regulation skills and desensitization of traumatic memories.  RLH can be used with children who have not yet disclosed primary traumatic experiences or where suspected traumas have not been acknowledged or validated, and with children living in placement programs (or at high risk of placement) who lack safe, non-offending caregivers who are able and willing to participate in trauma-focused therapy. 

What do Children, Parents, and Supervisors Say About Real Life Heroes?

“I have so many more people in my life that can help me now.  I am not alone anymore.”   - 12-year old boy in foster family care

“Heroes has inspired me to be something I did not think I could be 10 months ago.  I thought I was going to give up, fall into a hole, have kids (young) and be like my mother.  . . .  I am my own hero  . . . And now I will be someone and I hope to inspire others!"  -15-year old girl in a home-based prevention of placement program who was helped to return to family living after living with a family friend and placement in two group care programs.

"I really like the centering activities . . .  I have used them in my own recovery, and I have noticed a big difference they have made in my son's anger.“ --Parent at  a child and family guidance clinic

"I gave her (the foster care clinician) a hard time about doing it  (Real Life Heroes) in the beginning, but once I did it, I really liked it!"  -Birth parent in  a foster family cCare program.

“This has been the most successful implementation of any treatment model we’ve offered.”  -Director of Training and Quality Improvement for a state-wide child welfare and behavioral health care agency


“It’s not one more thing.  It’s the thing.”  -Home-based intensive case management  program director

Research Support

Real Life Heroes® is listed in the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the SAMHSA National Center for Trauma-Informed Care "Models for Developing Trauma-Informed Behavioral Health Systems and Trauma-Specific Services," and as one of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s (NCTSN) Empirically Supported Treatments and Promising Practices. RLH is also listed as ‘High’ in Child Welfare System Relevance by the California Evidence-based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare. The 2007 RLH Practitioner’s Manual was rated as addressing 8 of 9 core domains identified as essential Intervention Objectives and Practice Elements developed by the NCTSN Core Curriculum on Childhood Trauma Task Force (Strand, Hansen, & Layne, 2012). The only domain missing, Therapist Self-Care, has been included in RLH training programs since 2007. The RLH model has been successfully pilot tested in home-based and placement child welfare services, and behavioral health care (Kagan,Douglas, Hornik, & Kratz, 2008) and utilized in a wide range of child and family service agencies in the U.S. and Canada.  The HEROES Project, a SAMHSA-funded community practice site of the NCTSN, evaluated use of Real Life Heroes in seven child and family service programs and found significant reductions in traumatic stress and behavioral problems on standardized measures.  This study involved training all staff, rather then just selected practitioners, and did not exclude children with aggressive or self-abusive behaviors, children who lacked validation for traumas or children who lacked caregivers who were able and willing to participate in treatment. Children receiving RLH in this study did not have placements or psychiatric hospitalizations (Kagan, Henry, Richardson, Trinkle & Lafrenier, 2014).

Engages Hard-to-Reach Children and Caregivers

Builds Safety & Stability Needed for Trauma Reintegration

Research-Tested in Child Welfare, School-based and Behavioral Health Care Programs

Works Well with Other Evidence-Supported Treatment Programs for Traumatic Stress & Complex Trauma

Practitioner-Developed, Supervisor-Endorsed

Easily Adapted for Diverse Families and Programs Including Youths with Intellectual Deficits


Note from the Model Developer, Richard Kagan, Ph.D.

In my work as a clinical psychologist, children have shared with me traumatic experiences that ripped their families apart and shattered their sense of trust and belonging. These same children have also shared with me a yearning to be loved and the courage to change. I have been inspired by how children recovered from losses of the family members they loved, emotional, physical and sexual abuse, family violence, neglect, and abandonments. I have also seen how many children remained mired in the nightmares of their lives and appeared to relive their greatest fears day after day. Many of these children appeared cut off from emotionally supportive relationships with caring adults and appeared to repeat the abuse and violence they had experienced in their own behaviors. Dangerous behaviors led to referrals to child welfare services, juvenile justice programs or mental health treatment centers. 

My job as a psychologist was to engage these children and their families and to find a way to understand what had happened and what could be done to help them. Rather than viewing these children as helpless victims or frightening aggressors, I learned to listen and watch for clues to what made these children smile and what led to dangerous behaviors. From these children, their parents, caregivers, and my colleagues, I learned lessons about what could be done to transform their lives. I also learned how their stories of trauma and recovery could inspire all of us. 

Each child and family I have worked with has taught me a lesson about how ordinary people can rise up to surmount tragedies. Working with children and families who have experienced traumas has broadened my understanding of the impact of traumatic stress and what is possible for everyone. Very often, the worst traumas involved the breakdown of a child’s trust in parents, guardians, and other adults to keep themselves and their families safe. Many children appeared cut off from emotionally supportive relationships with caring adults and appeared to repeat the abuse and violence they had experienced in their own behaviors. Parents, grandparents, teachers, counselors and other concerned adults often felt threatened by children’s behavioral reactions after multiple traumas. Parents and other caregivers often felt disempowered and unable to re-connect with troubled children. At the same time, troubled children often felt increasingly alone and desperate with little hope.

I developed the Real Life Heroes treatment model to share tools that I have found helpful in engaging hard-to-reach families and to promote healing in children and families with toxic stress and Complex Trauma. New editions of the Real Life Heroes Toolkit, Real Life Heroes Life Storybook and Wounded Angels build on what I have learned from children, families, and colleagues, and my previously published professional and trade books: Families in Perpetual Crisiswith Shirley Schlosberg (Norton, 1989), Turmoil to Turning Points; Building Hope for Children in Crisis Placements (Norton, 1996), Wounded Angels; Lessons from Children in Crisis( Child & Family Press, 2003); Rebuilding Attachments with Traumatized Children (Routledge, 2004); Healing from Losses, Violence, Abuse, and Neglect (Routledge,2004), the Real Life Heroes Life Storybook 1st and 2nd editions (Routledge, 2004, 2007), and the Real Life Heroes Practitioner’s Manual (Routledge, 2004) I have also published 34 articles, chapters, and papers on practice and research issues in trauma therapy, child welfare, foster care, adoption, training implementation, program evaluation, and quality improvement in family service and behavioral health treatment programs. 

My publications and training programs have been enriched by my experience in non-profit child and family services as the director of professional development, QI, research, and psychological services at Parsons Child and Family Center and principal investigator for two SAMHSA-funded National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) grants. In the NCTSN, I have been an active member of the NCTSN Steering Committee, the NCTSN Affiliate Advisory Board, and the Complex Trauma and Child Welfare Committees. I founded and co-chaired the NCTSN Resource Parent Committee and co-led development of the NCTSN curriculum,Caring for Children Who Have Experienced Traumatic Stress which has been used in child welfare programs across the U.S. and in other countries. Before moving to Columbia, South Carolina, I served as Director of Research and Consultation for the Sidney Albert Training and Research Institute at Parsons Child and Family Center in Albany, New York, a NCTSN community services site since 2002.


I am currently writing as well as providing consultation and training on traumatic stress and complex trauma treatment. My training programs, presentations, articles, and books highlight practical and innovative approaches that therapists, caregivers, programs, and clinics can utilize to help children and families strengthen resilience and reduce traumatic stress.

Real Life Heroes® Training Programs

Real Life Heroes Training and Consultation Programs have been developed and tested for effective dissemination and implementation in behavioral health, educational and child and family service agencies with limited time and funding for training programs. Training programs utilize a program-centered ‘All-practitioner’ model of training which is adapted for each sponsoring organization. Training programs build on organizational strengths, previous trauma treatment training, staff expertise and are designed to meet organizational goals.  Use of the Real Life Heroes Toolkit and Life Storybook enables practitioners to learn and implement materials quickly and ensures implementation of NCTSN recommended components of evidence-supported treatment for Complex PTSD.  Fidelity is promoted with tools provided in the RLH Toollkit and supported through consultation with supervisors and directors and development of program-centered procedures and policies and a trauma-informed learning community.  All of the RLH materials are integrated with a common focus on core components matched to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s 'best practice' guidelines for treatment of Complex PTSD and providing trauma-informed child welfare and behavioral health services for children and families. 

Training Programs on Treatment of Complex Trauma have successfully engaged and trained practitioners and programs with limited time for training and a wide range of skills and previous training.  Follow- up surveys have found high rates of practitioner use and sustainability after training in child welfare and behavioral health programs serving high risk youths who have experienced multiple types of traumas. 

Training programs are typically provided on site and can be adjusted for a wide range of programs and numbers of staff.  Training programs are also available through video-streaming platforms to reduce costs for travel.  

2018-19 Training Programs


Feb 13-15: Resiliency-focused Treatment of Traumatic Stress in Children and Families,Children's Home Society of Florida, Pensacola, Florida

March 20-21: Engaging Caregivers and Life Story Integration,, Bethany Christian Services, Grand Rapids, Michigan

March 30: Treatment of Complex Trauma, Palmetto Health Counseling Services, Columbia, South Carolina

May 8:  Children's Justice Conference, Washington State Department of Social Services, Spokane, Washington 

July 30-31:  Promoting Safety and Stabilization after Trauma, Midlands Sexual Trauma Services, Columbia, South Carolina

August 27-29: Resiliency-focused Treatment of Traumatic Stress in Children and Families, Videoconference for Parkside Psychological Associates, Meadsville, Pennsylvania

October 4: Featured Speaker Address and Break-out Workshop, Family-Centered Treatment Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina

October 30-31: Resiliency-focused Treatment of Traumatic Stress in Children and Families, New York City Childrens Center, New York State Office of Mental Health, Queens, New York

November 5-7: Resiliency-focused Treatment of Traumatic Stress in Children and Families, Children's Home Society of Florida, Orlando, Florida

TBD:  Engaging Caregivers and Life Story Integration, Children's Home Society of Florida, Pensacola, Florida


January 16-18:  Real Life Heroes; Evidence-supported and Resiliency-focused Treatment of Children and Families with Complex Trauma, MindNurture, Hong Kong, China

RLH Peer-reviewed Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Published articles and book chapters include: 

Kagan, R., Henry, J., Richardson, M., Trinkle, J., & LaFrenier, A.  (2014). Evaluation of Real Life Heroes Treatment for Children with Complex PTSD.  Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 6 (5), 588-596.

Kagan, R. & Spinazzola, J. (2013).  Real Life Heroes in Residential Treatment; Implementation of Trauma and Attachment-Focused Treatment for Children and Adolescents with Complex PTSD.  Journal of Family Violence.Volume 28 (7), 705-715.

Ford, J., Blaustein, M., Habib, M., & Kagan, R. (2013). Developmental Trauma Therapy Models. In J. D. Ford & C. A. Courtois (Ed.) Treating complex traumatic stress disorders in children and adolescents; Scientific foundations and therapeutic models.  New York: Guilford Press.

Kagan, R.  (2009). Transforming Troubled Children into Tomorrow’s Heroes.  Chapter in Brom, D., Pat-Horenczyk, R. & Ford , J. (Eds.) Treating traumatized children: Risk, resilience and recovery.  New York:  Routledge.

Kagan, R., Douglas, A., Hornik, J., & Kratz, S.  (2008).  Real Life HeroesPilot Study: Evaluation of a Treatment Model for Children with Traumatic Stress. Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma,1:1, 5-22.

RLH Published Books

Kagan, R. (2003). Wounded Angels; Lessons from Children in Crisis. Washington D.C.: Child and Family Press. 

Kagan, R. (2004). Real Life Heroes; A Life Storybook for Children. Binghamton, NY: Routledge Press.

Kagan, R. (2004). Rebuilding  Attachments with Traumatized Children; Healing from Losses, Violence, Abuse and Neglect. New York, NY: Routledge Press.

Kagan, R. (2007). Real Life Heroes; A Life Storybook for Children. 2nd Edition. New York, NY: Routledge Press.

Recent Publications

Kagan, R. (2017). Real Life Heroes Life Storybook, 3rd Edition. New York, NY: Routledge.  

Kagan, R. (2017). Real Life Heroes Toolkit for Treating Traumatic Stress in Children and Families, 2nd Edition. New York, NY: Routledge.

Kagan, R. (2017). Wounded Angels; Inspiration from Children in Crisis, 2nd Edition. New York, NY: Routledge

Real Life Heroes LIfe Storybook, 3rd Edition (2017)

TheReal Life Heroes Life Storybook, 3rd Edition, engages children with traumatic stress in evidence-supported trauma treatment including children with Complex Trauma, hard-to-reach youths with severe behavior problems, and adolescents who are delayed in their social, emotional, and cognitive development.  The resiliency-centered format of the Life Storybook is coupled with Real Life Heroes treatment outlined in the Real Life Heroes Toolkit for Treating Traumatic Stress in Children and Families. Together, the Life Storybook and Toolkit provide therapists and treatment programs with easy-to-use strategies and activities to broaden each child and caregivers’ "therapeutic window" for skill development and trauma memory integration.  

The Real Life Heroes Life Storybook promotes development of safety and trust to counter traumatic stress reactions stemming from abuse, neglect, losses, domestic violence, and other interpersonal traumas.   Chapters of the Life Storybook address recommended core components of evidence-supported treatment for children with Complex Trauma and treatment of children in child welfare programs.   Real Life Heroes can also be used with children and families who have not been engaged in trauma-focused treatment.  

This thoroughly updated edition uses a creative arts approach that encourages children to work with caring adults to develop autobiographies through a wide range of activities, including drawings, music, movies, and narrative.  Use of the Life Storybook fosters positive values and a sense of pride in children as they form a stronger bond with caring and committed adults and protection from adversity and stressors.  The Life Storybook strengthens children’s sense of identity connected to emotionally supportive caregivers and can be used to reduce traumatic stress reactions and behavioral problems, transforming troubled children into tomorrow's heroes.

Book Reviews

“Real Life Heroes is a resiliency masterpiece. Built on the historical hero archetype, Dr. Kagan invites traumatized children and caregivers to acknowledge their courage, express their sorrow, and embrace the hero’s path to healing. Real Life Heroes provides creative resiliency based interventions that guide traumatized children and families through their pain into recovery by discovering and utilizing their internal strengths and significant personal relationships to overcome adversity and become the real heroes of their own lives.”-Jim Henry Ph.D., Professor, School of Social Work and Director, Children’s Trauma Assessment Center, Western Michigan University

“The third edition of the Real Life Heroes Life Storybook is an impressive continuation of Dr. Kagan’s already long list of contributions to supporting stronger, healthier, and more resourced outcomes of young people who have experienced traumatic stress. Through the use of ritual, psycho-education, expressive strategies, skill-building, narrative, and relational engagement, the workbook provides a powerful tool to promote healing in trauma-impacted youth. The language in the workbook is child, caregiver, and provider-friendly, and the facilitated process of self-examination is empowering rather than pathologizing. Dr. Kagan truly believes that every child and every caregiver has the potential to be a hero—and that ‘heroism’ is often found in every day actions—and this vision shines through in his work.” -Margaret Blaustein, Ph.D., Director of Training and Education, The Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute and Co-author, Treating traumatic stress in Children and Adolescents.

Real Life Heroes Life Storybook and Toolkit provides an effective step by step process for clinicians and caregivers to guide children and family members in making sense of the pain in their lives that is due to past trauma. The process provided in RLH is comprehensive in its treatment components. However what strikes me most is how it very tenderly and carefully enables the survivor to recognize that their memories and the subsequent resulting emotions move/fluctuate and will need some anchoring based in the reality of their innocence. In addition, RLH enables practice for survivors in how to effectively handle the sensory-based triggers that will assault them in the future. As the lead developer of the Family Centered Treatment® model of home base treatment that has provided treatment for over 30k families, most of whom came with trauma histories, I can unequivocally recommend both the RLH Life Storybook and Toolkit for practitioners.”-William E Painter Jr., M.S., Senior Director of Clinical Practice, Child and Family Center of Excellence, Institute for Family Centered Services / The Mentor Network

To Order Books

The Real Life Heroes Life Storybook, 3rdEdition, can be purchased from Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Real-Life-Heroes-Storybook/dp/0415518040/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534103550&sr=8-1&keywords=Real+Life+Heroes+Life+Storybook  other book sellers or directly from Routledge Press https://www.routledge.com/Real-Life-Heroes-Life-Storybook/Kagan/p/book/9780415518048

Routledge provides a 40% discount for organizational purchases. Discounts may be obtained by contacting John Defalco, Routledge Account Manager, at:  john.defalco@taylorandfrancis.com or call:  917-351-7128.

Real Life Heroes Toolkit, 2nd Edition (2017)

The Real Life Heroes Toolkit for Treating Traumatic Stress in Children and Families, 2nd Edition, provides an easy-to-use resource for therapists, counselors and programs serving children and families with toxic stress and Complex Trauma. This step-by-step guide is matched to the Real Life Heroes Life Storybook, 3rd Edition, and provides practitioners with practical tools for helping children and families to reintegrate painful memories and to foster healing from traumatic experiences and disrupted attachments.  Resources include tools for trauma and resiliency-centered assessments, service planning, fidelity and supervision as well as detailed guides to implementing creative arts, mindfulness, 'improv,' and movement in sessions that can be provided in home-based, clinic, school, or residential programs.  This book is a go-to resource for practitioners in child and family service agencies and treatment centers to implement trauma-informed, resiliency-centered and evidence-supported services for children and caregivers with traumatic stress.  The RLH Toolkit also provides a rich resource to supplement use of other evidence-supported treatment models to engage, and sustain engagement, of hard-to-reach children and caregivers.

Book Reviews

“This amazing compendium of a complex trauma treatment guide, its adaptations for special trauma populations, tools, and handouts, facilitates RLH as both a stand-alone treatment and as a supplement for other EBTs, with any of Kagan’s toolkit components able to be used to assist in meeting the trauma-specific needs of youth. With an empiricism and solid conventional frameworks used in the NCTSN for meeting the needs of childhood trauma, this second edition is a wonderful resource for clinicians at all levels of experience.”-Lisa Amaya-Jackson, M.D., MPH, Professor and Associate director, UCLA-Duke National Center for Child Traumatic Stress, Duke University School of Medicine

“This revised edition of Dr. Kagan’s highly acclaimed book provides an exciting expansion of his innovative approach, Real Life Heroes. A comprehensive and practical guide, it offers an important toolkit for clinicians working with traumatized children and their caregivers. It provides invaluable material from the resiliency-focused assessment to practical guidelines and structured session activities that make it a unique addition to the field of complex trauma interventions with children. I strongly recommend this book.”-Cheryl Lanktree, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor and Project Director, University of Southern California Adolescent Trauma Training Center.

“Richard Kagan knows how to have a relationship that supports trauma recovery. With the Real Life Heroes Toolkit, he gives therapists, not just an intervention model, but the scaffolding to build therapeutic relationships with the children they treat and those who love them. Grounded in the science and art of psychotherapy, the RLH Toolkit helps therapists and clients navigate through tough times, find their strength, and create the future.”-Brad Stolbach, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Chicago and Clinical Director, Healing Hurt People, Chicago

"A UNIQUE AND HIGHLY CREATIVE APPROACH to helping children and parents recover from trauma; it is inspiring for therapists as well as for the children and families they are helping.  The book and program offer a wonderful set of paths with which people of all ages can rediscover the hero in themselves and each other."  -Julian D. Ford, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.

Professor of Psychiatry and Law

Graduate School and Public Health Faculty

Director, Center for Trauma Recovery and Juvenile Justice

Chair, UConn Health CICATS and Panel 3 IRB

Associate Editor, Journal of Trauma and Dissociation

Associate Editor, European Journal of Psychotraumatology 

To Order Books

The Real Life Heroes Toolkit for Treating Traumatic Stress in Children and Families, 2nd Edition, can be purchased from Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Real-Life-Heroes-Treating-Traumatic/dp/0415518075/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534103655&sr=1-1&keywords=Real+Life+Heroes+Toolkit+for+Treating  other book sellers or directly from Routledge Press https://www.routledge.com/product/isbn/9780415518079?source=igodigital


Routledge provides a 40% discount for organizational purchases. Discounts may be obtained by contacting John Defalco, Routledge Account Manager, at:  john.defalco@taylorandfrancis.com or call:  917-351-712.

Wounded Angels; Inspiration from Children in Crisis (2017)

Wounded Angels; Inspiration from Children in Crisis, 2nd Edition, uses vignettes of children in crisis situations to portray how troubling behaviors can be used as clues for ways children can grow stronger after traumatic stress. This text shows how children's behaviors can be used to guide caregivers and practitioners through hidden conflicts and, open up opportunities to develop emotionally supportive relationships and promote healing for children and families.  Practitioners and caregivers can use Wounded Angels to encourage a resiliency perspective for children by building on stories in the book that show how children find their own pathways toward healing. 

Book Reviews

“Wounded Angels embodies resiliency. The stories within are testimonies that despite adversity and trauma, children can heal and recover. A convincing hopefulness, despite the enormous pain that the stories reveal, emerges which inspires readers to believe that change, healing, and success are possible. This book is for children and adults who seek to be transported to a timeless dimension where human potential is realized through the heroic journeys of those who demonstrate that anything is possible when you believe in yourself and/or others believe in you.”--Jim Henry, PhD, Professor, School of Social Work and Director, Western Michigan University Children's Trauma Assessment Center

“Kagan, a sage collector and interpreter of life stories, leads us beneath traumatized children’s challenging behaviors to find within a unique wellspring for healing. Through attending to the unspoken and compelling metaphors of angels and heroes, he shows us how to listen to children with greater compassion and courage. This masterful book is both heartrending and uplifting, offering valuable resources and insights—not the least of which is a sense of restored optimism for its readers.”--Martha B. Straus, PhD, Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology, Antioch University New England, and author, Treating Trauma in Adolescents: Development, Attachment, and the Therapeutic Relationship

“Richard Kagan shares a masterful testament to the depth of his understanding of traumatized children and the messages they have for those who can help them heal. These stories guide therapists and parents alike to take a step back to look for strengths and vulnerabilities in children and ourselves - attributes that together become vehicles for change. Wounded Angelsreminds us, as well, that reciprocal learning is so very much a part of the helping process.”--Sarah B. Greenblatt, MSEd, MS, ACSW, Manager/Founder

S.B. Greenblatt Consulting, LLC; formerly Director, the Casey Center for Effective Child Welfare Practice

“Wounded Angels serves as a call to action to any adult who interacts with children impacted by trauma. Through a series of insightful and inspiring case vignettes, Dr. Kagan illustrates that by slowing down, listening, and asking the right questions, caring adults can understand the messages children convey through angry, disruptive, and fearful behaviors. Wounded Angels provides practical resources to aid therapists and caregivers in joining with children on the path to healing.”--Mindy Kronenberg, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and Affiliate Member, National Child Traumatic stress Network

To Order Books

Wounded Angels; Inspiration from Children in Crisis,2nd Edition, can be purchased from Amazon.com  https://www.amazon.com/Wounded-Angels-Inspiration-Children-Crisis/dp/0415518059/ref=mt_paperback?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=1534103738  other book sellers or directly from Routledge Press  https://www.routledge.com/Wounded-Angels-Inspiration-from-Children-in-Crisis-Second-Edition/Kagan/p/book/9780415518055 

Routledge provides a 40% discount for organizational purchases. Discounts may be obtained by contacting John Defalco, Routledge Account Manager, at:  john.defalco@taylorandfrancis.com or call:  917-351-7128

Rebuilding Attachments with Traumatized Children (2004)

Rebuilding Attachments with Traumatized Children; Healing from Losses, Violence, Abuse and Neglect (Routledge, 2004)  provides the foundation for the Real Life Heroes treatment model.  This is a practical guide for helping troubled children move beyond the traumatic experiences that haunt them. Rebuilding Attachments With Traumatized Children presents critical information on how to understand-and surmount-the impact of loss, neglect, separation, and violence on children's development, how to discover and foster strengths in children and their families, and how to rebuild enduring emotionally supportive relationships and hope for children who are at risk of harm to themselves and others.  

Book Reviews

“Dr. Richard Kagan, a recognized expert in working with traumatized children, has written a truly impressive book. Not only does it contain a wealth of information for understanding the complex issues often faced by these youngsters , but it also offers specific interventions that can be used to help them and their caregivers become more hopeful and resilient. Dr. Kagan’s compassion and empathy are apparent throughout the book.”--Robert Brooks, Ph.D., Faculty, Harvard Medical School; Author of TheSelf-Esteem Teacher; co-author of Raising Resilient Children

“. . .provides hope where there is to often none—enlightening parents, social workers and therapists to increase the odds of favorable developmental outcomes for children through safe, planned, collaborative intervention. . . . A much-needed compilation of the most current theory and practice related to understanding and working with traumatized children and the families raising them”--Sarah B. Greenblatt,. MSEd, MS, ACSW, Director, the Casey Center for Effective Child Welfare Practice, Casey Family Services, New Haven, Connecticut

". . . this sensible and thoughtful book is a. welcome (and needed) addition. . . . He even details an exercise . . . in which colleagues can engage to help them understand better their own role in the impasse. and how to plan a way out. To my knowledge, there is no other text anywhere that takes this on, and it is an essential component of working with such emotionally challenged and challenging children. . . Kagan's careful and thorough book offers us a well-reasoned methodology for how we might proceed. Better yet, he provides a glimmer of hope for us, too, because he truly believes that we can make a substantive difference, even in the lives of the most intractable cases:. traumatized and attachment-disordered children. "--Martha Straus, Ph.D.,. Antioch University, Putney, Vermont (from Contemporary Psychology:. APA Review of Books). 

“Clear and compelling. . . . Perhaps no other author communicates better than Dr. Kagan the conviction that severely abused and neglected children can be helped to overcome the impact of earlier trauma. All who work with theses children should be grateful to Dr. Kagan for sharing his melding for relevant knowledge and creative technique.”--Kenneth W. Watson, MSW, Former Assistant Director, Chicago Child Care Society

To Order the Book

Rebuilding Attachments with Traumatized Children: Healing from Losses, Violence, Abuse, and Neglectcan be purchased from Amazon.com  https://www.amazon.com/Rebuilding-Attachments-Traumatized-Children-Violence/dp/0789015447/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534262931&sr=8-1&keywords=rebuilding+attachments+with+traumatized+children other book sellers or directly from Routledge Press https://www.routledge.com/Rebuilding-Attachments-with-Traumatized-Children-Healing-from-Losses/Kagan/p/book/9781138169661  

Routledge provides a 40% discount for organizational purchases. Discounts may be obtained by contacting John Defalco, Routledge Account Manager, at: john.defalco@taylorandfrancis.com or call:  917-351-7128


Thank you for visiting the RLH webiste.  For more information on Real Life Heroes® and other training programs on traumatic stress, please contact Richard Kagan Ph.D.  Training Programs on Traumatic Stress at richardkagan7@gmail.com