Free PDF for New Trauma Healers


Gil Reyes, PhD is a clinical psychologist in Santa Barbara, California. At The National Child Traumatic Stress Network he is involved with the Terrorism and Disaster Center at the University of Missouri and the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress at UCLA, and is a longstanding member of the task force on the Core Curriculum in Childhood Trauma.

He was the lead editor of the four-volume Handbook of International Disaster Psychology (2006) and The Encyclopedia of Psychological Trauma (2008), and his areas of expertise include psychological trauma, and the psychosocial effects of disasters, terrorism, torture, and mass violence. Gil has provided psychosocial disaster support in several national and local disasters throughout the past decade, including the September 2001 response to the destruction of the World Trade Center, and has worked in a consulting capacity with the World Health Organization and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

He serves as the Disaster Relief Committee Chair for the American Psychological Association’s Division of Trauma Psychology, is the 2012 President of the American Psychological Association’s Division of Peace Psychology, and is the 2014 President-Elect of the Santa Barbara County Psychological Association. In all areas of life, Dr. Reyes emphasizes social support and attachments as the essential tools for resilient coping in the face of adversity.

The Quote

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Little Gidding, T.S. Elliot

What Led to the Specialization of Trauma?

I wanted to make the biggest difference I could make. Gil talks about early on in his career wondering where he could make the biggest difference and realized that it was in the developmental stages of individual’s lives.

A Crucial Early Mistake

Trying to have it all too much figured out. Gil shares how early on in his career he tried too much to impart his expertise on his clients by taking too much of an interest in where they were going to go, rather than helping them find their way out of the trap of trauma and in the process allowing them to own their solution.

Gil’s Why

Gil gives two responses to this one: First, I never tire of this work! and second, I really enjoy the exploration and being on this team!

Gil’s advice

  • Be extremely skeptical.
  • Question everything (eg the psychological theories you might cling to).
  • Keep trying to do better all the time. And never rest on your laurels.

Gil’s go-to books

Interview Links

Diya Kallivayalil, PhD
Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Ph.D., IBCLC, FAPA

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