Kristen Zaleski

Clinical Associate Professor
Contact Information
Orange County
Department of Study 
Adults and Healthy Aging
Research Interest 
Mental Health
Military Social Work
PhD, The Sanville Institute for Clinical Social Work, 2013
MSW, University of Southern California, 2004
BA, University of California, Los Angeles, 2001
AA, Santa Barbara City College, 1999

KRISTEN ZALESKI is a sexual assault victim advocate, researcher, professor and psychotherapist in Southern California. Her decade-long work with sexual assault survivors spans inpatient and outpatient settings, and she has a dual specialty in civilian and military sexual trauma.

Zaleski has published research on treatment for sexual assault-related post-traumatic stress disorder and focused her dissertation research on the trauma of becoming pregnant from a rape during military service. Her book, Understanding and Treating Military Sexual Trauma, was released in April 2015, and it was showcased at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books that same year. Her current research has centered on the incidence of rape culture in social media as well as the issue of empathy in social work education.

Zaleski continues to explore clinical phenomena in the areas of health social work, LGBTQI experiences, empathy, mothering, vicarious trauma and attachment-related trauma through a neurobiological lens. She also maintains a private practice in Los Angeles.

Awards and Distinction
Hutto Patterson Foundation Award for Distinguished Faculty, USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work (2016)
Featured Author, Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (2015)
Bonnie Bearson Scholarship Fund, Sanville Institute (2010)
Graduation Speaker, University of Southern California (2004)
More awards
Selected Publications

Zaleski, K. (2015). Crisis Intervention With Adolescent Victims of Sexual Assault. In Schott, E.M.P. & Weiss, E.L. (Eds.) Transformative Social Work Practice, 315-326. Los Angeles: Sage.

Zaleski, K. (2015). Understanding and Treating Military Sexual Trauma. Springer Publishers. 

Zaleski, K. & Katz, L. (2014). Alice in Wonderland: Exploring the Experiences of Female Service Members With a Pregnancy Resulting From Rape. Journal of Social Work and Mental Health, Veterans Mental Health Special Edition 12, 391-410.

Katz, L., Douglas, S., Zaleski, K. & Williams, J. (2013). Randomized clinical trial comparing holographic reprocessing and prolonged exposure treatments to present-centered control group to treat women veterans with sexual trauma. Contemporary Psychology.