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The Child and Family Trauma Institute

All treatment is directly overseen and supervised by
Dr. Robert Motta, director of the Child and Family Trauma Institute.
He has decades of experience in treating and researching traumatic reactions of children and families.

The Child and Family Trauma Institute is located at Hofstra University’s Joan and Arnold Saltzman Community Services Center. The institute offers services to children and their families suffering from traumatic experiences and post-traumatic stress disorder.

What is post-traumatic stress disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an intense anxiety reaction that can occur following highly stressful and frightening events. A traumatic experience is extremely unsettling and may have long-lasting effects. Traumatic reactions often result when one feels that their life or the lives of others are in danger. One may feel intense fear and a lack of control over what is happening. Anyone who has gone through a life-threatening event can develop PTSD.

Such events include:

  • Combat or military exposure.
  • Child sexual, physical or emotional abuse.
  • Sexual or physical assault.
  • Serious automobile or other accidents.
  • Natural disasters.
  • Terrorist attacks.

After such events, one may feel scared, confused, and/or angry. If these feelings do not diminish, PTSD may be present. These symptoms may disrupt one’s life and make it hard to continue with daily activities. When this happens, treatment is highly recommended.

What type of treatment is available for PTSD?

Cognitive-behavior therapy and exposure therapy are the preferred modes of treatment for PTSD.

What is cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) and how can it help?

After a traumatic experience many people are fearful, unhappy and distrustful about their world and the people around them. Guilt, self-doubt and negativism are also common outcomes.

In CBT your therapist helps you understand and change the way you think, feel and behave in response to your traumatic experience. You will learn how to identify problematic thoughts about yourself and the world that are making you fearful and have resulted in you withdrawing from previously enjoyable activities. With the help of your therapist, you will learn how to replace these thoughts with less distressing ones and behave in effective and self-fulfilling ways.

What is exposure therapy?

Exposure therapy is an important part of CBT. In exposure therapy the goal is to confront your fears. Your therapist will help you to stop avoiding those thoughts, feelings and situations that have caused you so much distress.

Exposure therapy may involve simply discussing your concerns in detail. By talking about your trauma in-depth and frequently with a therapist, you will learn how to control these unwanted thoughts and feelings. You learn to stop fearing your past. This may be hard at first; it might be difficult to intentionally confront and deal with painful thoughts and feelings. Your therapist will guide you through this process.

The outcome of both exposure therapy and CBT is to liberate you from the fears and worries that have resulted from your traumatic experience. After successful treatment, you will see an improvement in your relationships, career, school, and many other significant areas of your life.


Confidentiality: All services are provided in a professional and ethical manner and conform to the ethical standards of the American Psychological Association. Any materials related to the assessment or treatment will not be released without the written consent of the client, except where mandated by the law.

Family on the Beach

Listen to an interview from WRHU


For more information about the Child and Family Trauma Institute, please contact:
Robert W. Motta, Ph.D., ABPP
Board Certified Psychologist
Director, Child and Family Trauma Institute
Professor of Psychology
Program Director, Psy.D. in School-Community Psychology
205 Hauser Hall
135 Hofstra University
Hempstead, New York 11549-1350
Email: Robert.W.Motta[at]hofstra.edu
Phone: 516-463-5029