Trauma Systems Therapy Training Institute

Developed by Drs. Saxe, Ellis and Kaplow (Saxe, Ellis, & Kaplow, 2006; Ellis et al., 2011), Trauma Sytems Therapy (TST) is a comprehensive method for assessing and treating children with traumatic stress. TST adds to individually based approaches by specifically addressing social and environmental factors that are believed to be driving a child’s emotional and behavioral problems. It has been used with children as young as three.

TST addresses the clinical and practical needs of children and families by targeting not just an individual child, but a “trauma system,” which is defined as a traumatized youth who is unable to regulate his emotions and behavior, and the people around the child who are unable to protect that child and/or to help him to manage this dysregulation. TST also addresses the organizational needs of agencies that serve traumatized youth and families by addressing barriers that have repeatedly interfered with the dissemination of trauma-focused, evidence-based practice in front line service settings. TST’s development has included the principle of “disseminate-ability,” or the ability of an intervention to be adaptable to different service sites. TST is both a clinical model and an organizational framework. Its development began in the late 1990s, and its manual was published in 2006 and revised in 2016. It has been disseminated since 2002.

The Trauma Systems Therapy Training Institute engages with organizations around the United States and the world to implement TST programs in their region. We are currently working with agencies in 14 states and two nations to implement and evaluate TST. Our model has been adapted for children with traumatic stress in outpatient psychiatric settings, residential programs, refugee programs, pediatrics units, schools, foster care, substance abuse, and child welfare prevention programs. The TST Training Institute provides the following services:

  • Basic trainings on the principles of TST
  • Organizational consultation on trauma-informed care within an agency or region, in order to adapt TST to meet an organization’s needs
  • Full implementation and scale up of TST programs
  • Evaluation of TST programs

The agencies listed below implement TST under the guidance of the TST Training Institute.

  • Children’s Institute, Inc.; Los Angeles, CA
  • Urban Youth Trauma Center, University of Illinois; Chicago, IL
  • KVC Behavioral Healthcare; KS, KY, NE, WV
  • University of Louisville; Louisville, KY
  • Project SHIFA; Lewiston/Auburn, ME & Boston, MA
  • Kennedy Krieger Institute; Baltimore, MD
  • Connecting with Care; Boston, MA
  • Latino Health Institute; Brockton/Boston, MA
  • NEXIS Program; Kingston, NY
  • Hillside Family of Agencies; Rochester, NY
  • Children’s Village; Dobbs Ferry/Manhattan/Bronx/Queens, NY
  • Cayuga Centers; multiple counties, NY
  • Forestdale, Inc.; Queens, NY
  • Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services; Bronx/Staten Island, NY
  • Mental Health Association of Westchester; Westchester County, NY
  • Family Service of Westchester; Westchester County, NY
  • Children’s Crisis Treatment Center; Philadelphia, PA
  • Family Service of Rhode Island; Providence, RI
  • Lutheran Social Services of the South; Canyon Lake/Katy, TX
  • Serving Children in Need; Laredo, TX
  • District of Columbia Child and Family Services Agency; 9 counties, Washington, DC