Childhood trauma is the focus of Monique's research

Tue 16 Apr 2024 15:25

"I think we have focused a little too much on our thoughts and forgotten that we have a body," says Monique Pfaltz, professor of psychology at Mid Sweden University. In addition to her research, she leads a large international network of researchers from all over the world.

Porträtt av leende kvinna.

Monique Pfaltz came to Mid Sweden University in 2021 from the University of Zurich, Switzerland. She is a professor of psychology and the focus of her research is the consequences of childhood abuse, i.e. abuse and neglect, and the treatment of this.

"Trauma-related problems are special. They affect the whole worldview and how you relate to other people. They are therefore difficult to change and correct on your own," says Monique.

Monique has worked with traumatized people for a long time. Both refugees with traumatic experiences and other people with childhood trauma.

"Working with those affected, the great suffering, but also the resources that even severely traumatized people bring with them, can be very touching and rewarding."

Monique explores the effects of new treatments

Monique is currently involved in two research projects where she explores the Somatic Experimenting method. It is a method that has been used by therapists for over 40 years, but where the research community has only recently begun to evaluate how effective the method is compared to other treatments.

"The method was originally created by Peter Levine, he observed how animals handled threatening situations and how they behaved after experiencing strong stress. He then developed methods for people to overcome trauma," she says.

about Somatic Experiencing

The method is used by many professions such as: psychologists, nurses, psychiatrists, physiotherapists, teachers and others.

"When we research stress and trauma, we have focused on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). I think we've focused a little too much on our thoughts and forgotten that we have a body," says Monique.

"Research has shown that treatment with CBT is effective, but some patients do not respond well to this type of treatment. Especially those who have severe long-term trauma may need other methods," she says.

Monique Pfaltz and Jörgen Lehmivaara discuss the current research projects. Photo: Pelle Fredriksson

One of the research projects that Monique is currently leading is to investigate whether only one treatment with body-oriented intervention (Somatic Experiencing) can increase social well-being.

"The first results look very positive," says Jörgen Lehmivaara, a doctoral student in psychology who is working on Monique's project.

"In the follow-up research study, the long-term effects of a total of 15 body-oriented sessions will be analyzed," says Jörgen.

International Network on Child Trauma

Monique Pfaltz also leads an international network of more than fifty researchers from all over the world. They use systematic reviews, meta-analyses, experimental methods, psychophysiological measurements and online surveys to summarize the current state of knowledge and investigate how child abuse affects people in a life perspective.

"Our vision is to become more clinically relevant to help people with childhood trauma," says Monique.

Right now, Monique and her colleagues in the network are preparing for the next big conference. It is the second conference in the series, it is called "2nd Global Collaboration on Traumatic Stress Conference" and will be held at Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi, India on February 13-14, 2025.

Monique's current projects:

Effects of a Single Session of a Body-Oriented Treatment on Adults With Varying Degrees of Child Abuse |

Body-Targeted Psychological Treatment for Individuals with Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma-Related Symptoms |

Link to the conference in New Delhi:

2nd GCTS Conference | Global Collaboration (

Link to the International Network on Child Trauma:

Child trauma | Global Collaboration (



The page was updated 4/16/2024