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Treating Chronically Traumatised Children with the Sleeping Dogs Method: Don't Let Sleeping Dogs Lie!

  • Arianne Struik (a1)


Many traumatised children in Australia do not receive the type of trauma-focused treatment endorsed by international guidelines and, as such, they suffer from the consequences of intergenerational trauma. Even when trauma-focused treatment is available, there is a group of children who are difficult to engage in treatment and do not want to talk about their traumatic memories. Clinicians are often reluctant to address the trauma, for fear of ‘waking up sleeping dogs’. All children deserve a chance to heal from trauma and I believe we, as a society, have a responsibility to provide children with appropriate services and treatment methods to help them achieve this. This article describes the Sleeping Dogs method, a three-phased trauma-focused treatment method, based on a collaborative use of interventions by therapists, child-protection workers, residential staff, school and the child's network. A Six Test Form is used to analyse the possible reasons why the child is unable to talk about his or her traumatic memories, for which interventions are planned. Case examples with children who can be difficult to engage in trauma-focused treatment are used to illustrate interventions. Clinical experiences show the Sleeping Dogs method has been successfully used internationally, as well as remote communities in Australia.


Corresponding author

address for correspondence: Arianne Struik, Director Institute for Chronically Traumatized Children, Perth, Australia, PO box 394, Scarborough, 6019, WA, Australia. E-mail:


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Treating Chronically Traumatised Children with the Sleeping Dogs Method: Don't Let Sleeping Dogs Lie!

  • Arianne Struik (a1)


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