Headshot of Erik Klejs Laursen

Erik Klejs Laursen

Adjunct Associate Professor, Education

Member, AFAC

  • Profile

    Erik K. Laursen, PhD, is an internationally recognized developer of innovative programs for high risk and traumatized children and their families. He has created and administered therapeutic treatment programs in residential, psychiatric, crisis stabilization, educational, and foster care organizations, therapeutic services in public schools, and services for children with neurological differences. Laursen has authored more than two dozen publications and was a member of the editorial board of the journals Reclaiming Children and Youth and Families in Society. He previously served as a board officer of the Virginia Association of Specialized Education Facilities and as president of Strengths Based Services International.

    Laursen earned a MEd in special education and a PhD in urban services from Virginia Commonwealth University where he taught organizational behavior and culture, qualitative research, and ethics for 10 years. Currently, he is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Richmond and trains youth professionals worldwide.

    Laursen served UMFS in Richmond, Virginia, for 30 years, last as the executive director of Charterhouse School and vice president of Research and Development. Among the highlights of his early career are a 65,000-mile motorcycle journey across the United States with twelve high risk youth, a wagon train across Denmark, and a two-masted sailboat journey on the European rivers and the Black Sea. In recent years, his passion for young people led to advocacy for older youth in foster care and supporting the transition of young people with neurological differences from high school to college.

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    • Professional Experience

      Vice President (2007-Present)

      Learning and Program Development, UMFS and Charterhouse School, Richmond, Va.

    • Certifications

      Postsecondary Professional License, Commonwealth of Virginia


      Master Trainer: LSCI, RAP & TIFC


      Senior Trainer: PersonBrain Model, Healing Racism, and Developmental Audit


      Qualified Myers-Briggs Type Practitioner


      Trainer: Resilience in Practice

  • Selected Publications
    Books

    Laursen, E. K. (2010). Focusing energy in schools and youth organizations: Attending to universal developmental needs. Sandy, UT: Aardvard Global Publishing.

    Journal Articles

    Laursen, E. K. (2015). The power of grit, perseverance, and tenacity. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 23(4), 19-24.

    Laursen, E. K. (2014). Respectful youth cultures. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 22(4), 48-52.

    Laursen, E. K., Moore, L., Yazdgerdi, S. & Milberger, K. (2013). Building empathy and social mastery in students with autism. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 22(3), 19-22.

    Laursen, E. K. & Yazdgerdi, S. (2012). Chaotic thinking, challenging behavior: A Reality Rub. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 21(2), 44-47.

    Laursen, E. K. & Whindleton, K. (2012). “My mom and her boyfriend fuss:” A five-minute RAP. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 21(1), 37-38.

    Laursen, E. K. & Tate, T. F. (2012). Democratic group work. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 20(4), 46-51.

    Laursen, E. K. (2009). Positive youth cultures and the developing brain. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 18(2), 8-11.

    Laursen, E. K. (2008). Respectful alliances. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 17(1), 4-9.

    Laursen, E.K. & Birmingham, S. M. (2003). Caring relationships as a protective factor for at risk youth: An ethnographic study. Families in Society, 84(2), 240-246.

    Laursen, E. K. (2003). Principle-entered discipline.  Reclaiming Children and Youth, 12(2), 78-82.

    Laursen, E. K. (2002). Seven habits of reclaiming relationship. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 11(1), 95-99.

    Laursen, E. K. (2000). Strength-based practice with children in trouble. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 9(2), 70-76.

    Laursen, E. K. (1997). Voices of adolescents in residential care. Caring, 13, 13-16.

    Book Chapters

    Laursen, E. K. (2008). Bullying and violence in schools and communities. In R. Lambie. Family systems within educational & community contexts. (pp. 269-294). Denver, CO: Love Publishing.