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A Go-To Guide for Caregivers of Traumatized Children, Families, and Communities

Trauma creates substantial pain and suffering and can inevitably create cycles of dysfunction that may span generations. We can and should break these cycles and build bridges of trust and empowerment that renew hope and help families heal, not just for this generation but for the sake of all those to follow.

The good news is that children are resilient and have innate abilities to recover from their painful past, heal the invisible wounds of trauma, and rebuild their lives. But this will not occur without the perseverance and hard work of good people who care deeply about children.

If you are a parent or caregiver whose children have been traumatized by events like war, forced displacement, disaster, abuse, neglect, or violence, this book is for you. This book will increase your understanding about your empowering role, what your children need, how they develop, how trauma interrupts their development, how to show your children healing love and attention, and how to use community resources to achieve that. It will also suggest ways to take care of yourself in the process.

If you are a mental health professional, a teacher, an advocate, or community leader, this book is also for you.


Dr. Omar Reda knows first-hand the impact of war and dislocation on families and children. But Untangled is not about extreme situations. It is about the lessons learned from survivors on how to cope with everyday life. It is impressive, not only in its scientific content, but also in its presentation. It is a poetical essay that highlights the importance of love and hope in our lives and in the care of children. These ideas are expressed in the metaphor of Untangled and in its mantra for families to recite, “This is us, together.” Dr. Reda brings to us beautiful ideas and images that can help us protect and heal our children, our families, and our communities affected by trauma. Thank you, Dr. Reda, for this excellent contribution.

—Dr. Richard F. Mollica, MD, MAR, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

In this book, Dr. Omar Reda offers a deeply compassionate exploration of trauma-informed parenting. His heartfelt dedication to improving the lives of children and families stands out on every page. Dr. Reda understands the needs of both parents and children, and he shares openly from his own parenting experience. The drawings from children are a beautiful touch. This book can have a powerful impact to improve the lives of people who have suffered and who can heal.

—Lisa Najavits, PhD, Director of Treatment Innovations and adjunct professor at University of Massachusetts Medical School

Dr. Omar Reda’s work is deeply compassionate, intelligent, and thoughtful. Untangled is a needed book that has the capacity to change the world one life at a time. By drawing on research and his extensive experience, both personal and professional, Dr. Reda has found the words that give voice to traumatized children and their families. Untangled is respectful, practical, and most importantly, hopeful. In his own words, because they are so powerful, “Trauma loses its power to ruin us when love and hope step in.” Untangled is this step in.

—Karen Young, author, speaker, and psychotherapist, specializing in childhood and adolescent anxiety

Trauma is one of the most impactful, isolating, and developmentally disrupting experiences humans face. It tears down, it injures, and its effects spread like a cancer when left unexplored. In his groundbreaking book, Untangled, Dr. Omar Reda gives parents and families the information and tools they need to address and work through individual and cultural trauma while, at the same time, offering a strong example of how to do so with his authoritative, yet deeply loving, voice. This is far more than a workbook. It is a guidebook, offering descriptions of what trauma is and how it impacts families and children in a language that is accessible to all. Guided explorative questions and surveys peppered throughout the book offer opportunities for reflection and application as well as planning and goal setting.

For parents facing the daunting task of helping their children navigate traumatic experiences well, this is an indescribable gift. I am a psychologist and yet, when my own family suffered a traumatic loss, I felt adrift and untethered, uncertain of how to help my children live through indescribable grief while I, myself, was also suffering. I wish a book like Untangled would have been available to me at that time. This book is part comfort, part authoritative guide, and wholly grounding.

If someone you love has experienced trauma, please read this book, take notes, use the worksheets, then go and put all you’ve learned into practice. In this way we could heal the world.

—Doreen Dodgen-Magee, Psy.D., Cinical Psychologist and author of Deviced! Balancing Life and Technology in a Digital World


Available from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-Go-Caregivers-Traumatized-Communities/dp/1594980594