Matthew L. Vasquez, PhD, LMSW


Associate Professor & MSW Coordinator

Matthew L. Vasquez

Sabin 249

(319) 273-5892

Matthew L. Vasquez, PhD, LMSW


Associate Professor & MSW Coordinator


Dr. Vasquez's current area of research focuses on the effects of body-based interventions (e.g., Tai Chi, Trauma-Sensitive Yoga) on trauma and mental health, along with the evaluation of affiliative, body-based interventions in school settings (e.g., Rainbowdance and Kinnect). His other research interests include the examining the benefits of infusing trauma-informed care practices in residential treatment facilities, in-patient mental health units, and school-based curriculums, along with how to effectively educate social workers on the salient brain-based neurological aspects of trauma and trauma-informed care. His previous research includes the effects of long-term neglect on infant and child mental health, attachment disorders, and reactive attachment disorder (RAD) and disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED). 

As a clinician, Dr. Vasquez uses an integrated approach to the treatment of trauma that utilizes approaches from body-centered and sensorimotor psychotherapy, yoga, somatic experiencing, EMDR, along with gestalt and psychoanalytic perspectives. Dr. Vasquez has worked as a trauma consultant for Pathways Behavioral Services of Waterloo, Iowa, the Washington School District of Iowa, the Child Welfare Training Academy of Iowa, Midwest Trauma Services Network of Hubbard Nebraska, and International Trauma Center of Boston, Massachusetts.  


PhD - University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
MSW - University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
AB - Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine

Research Interests: 

Recent Research Projects:

1)  The effects of trauma-sensitive yoga (TSY) and tai chi on PTSD and other co-morbid symptoms: A pilot RCT. Principle Investigators: Dr. Matthew Vasquez (Social Work) and Dr. Ashleigh Kysar-Moon (Sociology). Other contributors include Traci Ludwig, LISW, RYT 200 (MercyOne & UNI) and John Upshaw, LISW, RPT-S (MercyOne). 

This study aims to examine the effects of trauma-sensitive yoga (TSY) and a therapeutically modified style of Chen Style Tai Chi (TC) on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other co-morbid symptoms (i.e., anxiety, depression, and stress). The study is currently underway at MercyOne Cedar Falls Medical Center and is evaluating a program that uses both TSY and TC as adjunctive treatments to traditional mental health counseling. 

Check out the NPR segment regarding our study here.

Professional Accomplishments: 

(Most recent, includes under review and published)

Kysar-Moon, A., & Vasquez, M.L., Luppen, T. (In press) The Effects of yoga on PTSD and depression in Women: A meta-analysis. International Journal of Yoga Therapy.

Boel-Studt, S., Vasquez, M.L., & Randolph, K. (in press). A survey of trauma-specific offerings within accredited social work programs in the United States and Canada. Journal on Social Work Education.

Grijalva, F., & Vasquez, M.L. (2019). Preliminary findings of KINNECT: A psychosocial intervention for youth in residential treatment. Residential Treatment for Children & Youth, 1-20.

Vasquez, M.L., & Miller, N. (2018). Aggression in children with reactive attachment disorder: A sign of deficits in emotional regulatory processes? Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 27(4), 347-366.

Vasquez, M.L., & Boel-Studt, S. (2017). Integrating a trauma-informed care perspective in baccalaureate social work education: Guiding principles. Advances in Social Work, 18(1), 1-24.

Vasquez, M.L., Saunders, E., Haskins, M., & Murty, S. (2017). Outcome findings of an undergraduate certificate program in cultural competency. Journal of Ethnic & Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 28(3), 297-316.

Vasquez, M.L., & Stensland, M. (2016). Adopted children with reactive attachment disorder: A qualitative study on family processes. Clinical Social Work Journal, 44(3), 319-332.

Renner, L. M., Whitney, S. D., & Vasquez, M.L. (2015). Individual and interpersonal risk factors for physical intimate partner violence perpetration by biological sex and ethnicity. Violence and Victims, 30(1), 97-119.

Saunders, J. A., Haskins, M., & Vasquez, M.L. (2015). Cultural competence: A journey to an elusive goal. Journal of Social Work Education, 51(1), 19-34.

Peckover, C. A., Vasquez, M.L., Van Housen, S. L., Saunders, J. A., & Allen, L. (2013). Preparing school social work for the future: An update of school social workers' tasks in Iowa. Children & Schools, 35(1), 9-17.