At St. Ann’s Home, our approach to Integrated Trauma Care is based on a multi-modal treatment philosophy which arises from a developmental understanding of behavior. Our multi-disciplinary treatment team develops each individual child’s treatment plan through a thorough understanding of the child’s developmental history, environmental stressors, and family functioning, all of which impact the child’s attachment, cognitive and emotional development, intrapersonal, and interpersonal development. The child’s presenting behaviors are viewed as adaptive when understood within the historical context in which they arose.
Integrated Trauma Care is a process. The St. Ann’s Home treatment team works to build secure attachments with caretakers in order to foster the child’s ability to explore his/her automatic reactions, gain self-understanding, and build competency in interpersonal relationships. Within a strengths-based approach, the child and his/her caretakers learn and practice adaptive coping skills by way of cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and interpersonal therapy. Treatment modalities include individual, family, and group therapy. The goal of Integrated Trauma Care is for the child to leave behind the ways of coping that emanated from his/her developmental trauma and to gain competency, skills, and the self-confidence to function effectively in the world. The process strives towards integrating the child’s personal history of developmental trauma into the child’s identity, so that it is acknowledged and understood as part of the self, but it does not dominate or prohibit the child from resuming his/her development as a competent individual.
Trauma assessments are arranged as needed with clients in order to identify, to the extent possible, the type of trauma, when it occurred and by whom, and the potential triggers to re-evoking the trauma of which staff must be aware.
- Children who have experienced trauma often present with serious behavioral issues;
- Helping the child gain back a level and sense of control is critical;
- Careful assessment and screening begins the therapeutic process;
- A strengths-based approach accompanies Integrated Trauma Care;
- While some approaches work for many children, effective Integrated Trauma Care requires individualized planning approaches as well;
- Staff at all levels are key in Integrated Trauma Care;
- Staff must identify practices and approaches that may re-traumatize the child and take care to avoid using them, and also avoid other interventions which might appear to be controlling or intimidating;
- Similarly, punishment is not included in the Integrated Trauma Care philosophy.