Julian Ford, Ph.D is a board-certified clinical psychologist and Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and School of Law. He is also the Principal Investigator and Director of two Treatment and Services Adaptation Centers in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network: The Center for Trauma Recovery and Juvenile Justice and The Center for the Treatment of Developmental Trauma Disorders. Ford has published numerous articles and book chapters on his work regarding stress disorders and “understanding some of the more complex stress disorders.” Ford’s interest in helping people prompted his passion for psychology, and after 20 years in the field he transitioned to more research-oriented positions. As a practicing psychologist who worked extensively with military veterans, Dr. Ford dedicated his career to gaining a better understanding of trauma response and PTSD.
Ford is the Principal Investigator for the national Developmental Trauma Disorder Field trial research study, developing and conducting randomized trials with the Trauma Affect Regulation: Guide for Education and Therapy (TARGET) model for individuals with developmental trauma histories. He explains that this intervention “shows people how our brain adapts to handle post traumatic stressors.” It can also illuminate ways in which patients could recover from such traumas.
Ford has also been one of the voices at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the stressful conditions under which many frontline workers are operating. Together with colleagues, he created a “healthcare supplement” that provides advice detailing what friends and family of frontline workers can do to help alleviate stress and provide a safe space for those under the most duress. Ford explains that “regardless of the outcome many healthcare practitioners are not able to get to know many of their patients because of the many precautions being taken and this loss of personal connection greatly impacts the psyche of frontline workers.” Dr. Ford has also been part of the team that created the Epidemic Pandemic Impact Inventory, a measure of the widespread impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Involvement with CSCH
Ford’s recent research has focused on the psyche of children and adolescents and how they deal with trauma. Ford believes that this work aligns with the mission of the CSCH as he focuses on a “very specific area of child development—child trauma.” Learning more about children’s responses to trauma can guide educators and legislators in making more effective educational, healthcare and therapeutic services available. He has worked with a team of international researchers to develop a new diagnosis in the area of stress and trauma that accounts for some of the difficulties that pediatricians and children experience when facing profound trauma. He aims to show practitioners ways to deal with “the subtler responses to trauma, focusing on the idiosyncrasies that can occur.” Ford is currently working on a project with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Learning Center in which they provide practitioners with webinars and tools that aid in their work. Through this program, professionals can find helpful resources in which specialists in the field present their suggestions and findings that could prove useful for certain cases.
Dr. Ford has worked out nearly every day for the last 50 years, mainly running and swimming. Ford uses exercise as a time of meditation. He also recommends David Silva’s Gabriel Allon book series.