Trauma Systems Therapy Training Center
The Trauma Systems Therapy Training Center at NYU Langone’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry offers training, consultation, and technical assistance in trauma-informed care for providers and agencies across the child services system. We offer several programs for improving the lives of traumatized children and their families, anchored by the unique guiding principles Trauma Systems Therapy, or TST.
Our approach is based on the fundamental understanding that effective treatment for a traumatized child begins by learning about how that child responds to their world and to the people within it. Good treatment starts with knowledge about the child’s perspective and requires careful attention to understand that perspective, not only from the child’s words but also from what the child may be communicating through behavior.
The Trauma Systems Therapy Approach
Traumatized children, or more often an adult in their life, seek help for emotions or behaviors that are considered to be problematic (such as flashbacks, rage, dissociation, aggression, self-destruction, and substance abuse). However, to help a traumatized child with these emotions or behaviors, one must first recognize that these emotions or behaviors are expressed in contexts in which, for a wide variety of reasons, the child experiences their world as threatening. The emotions or behaviors that are seen as problematic are often the expressions of a child trying to survive in a world that to them has become unsafe.
The child’s pattern of responding to the world with emotions or behaviors that appear extreme is missed because the environment seems (to everyone but the child) to be perfectly safe and secure.
Of course, sometimes these survival-laden reactions occur when the child’s safety is truly at risk. We can never miss these situations, so we assess them with great care. In cases where a child’s safety is determined to be at risk, intervention is directed at protecting the child. Period.
Effective care for traumatized children and their families always involves the following:
- helping the child to better manage their emotions and behaviors in contexts that, though they may seem threatening, pose no risk for physical harm
- helping the child’s caregivers make changes, so the child will perceive their environment as safer and more supportive
- making decisions to protect the child if their safety is determined to be at true risk
NYU Langone’s Trauma Systems Therapy Training Center has a number of programs and tools to improve the care of traumatized children and their families that are designed to facilitate the following:
- assessment of the child and the family to better understand the child’s expression of problematic emotional and behavioral states
- an approach to treatment that is based on child and family assessments
- engagement of children and families in treatment
- advocacy to make sure children and families receive the care and protection they need
- evaluation to improve the delivery of interventions and services
- options that can be supported, sustained, and scaled within the agencies that implement them
Tools and Training Opportunities
The Trauma Systems Training Center offers the following tools and training opportunities:
- Trauma Systems Therapy training: a clinical model that specifies how to help a child and family as well as an organizational model that helps agencies organize, integrate, and manage their services to support the TST clinical model
- Never Look Away Trauma Training Program for Professionals: a nine-module animated video series and an accompanying curriculum based on concepts and tools from Trauma Systems Therapy that covers essential aspects of trauma-informed care (such as assessment, case formulation, treatment planning, treatment engagement, advocacy, and focused intervention)
- Never Look Away Trauma Training Program for Foster Parents: a 4-module animated series designed to help foster parents effectively work with children who have experienced traumatic events. The series engages participants to consider how to help children feel safe and secure in their worlds. This series covers essential aspects of trauma-informed care specific to foster parents (such as survival and the impact of trauma, values and partnering, and bearing and caring).
- Trauma-informed care trainings: a variety of different trainings or presentations that span from one-hour to full-day trainings on the following topics:
- risk factors for traumatic stress in children
- assessing traumatized children
- treating traumatized children and families in contexts of high risk
- engaging with hard-to-engage children and families in traumatic stress care
- building emotional regulation in traumatized children
- creating trauma-informed organizational policies and practices
To receive more information on any of the above programs and tools, please email Katherine.Barral@NYULangone.org, program coordinator.
The critical work being done by the Trauma Systems Therapy Training Center is made possible by the dedicated professionals who have expertise in medicine, psychology doctorates, social work doctorates, master’s degrees, and more.
Our team regularly publishes articles, studies, and academic literature related to TST. View a list of recent publications.
To work with the Trauma Systems Therapy Training Center or for general questions, please contact Katherine Barral, program coordinator, at Katherine.Barral@NYULangone.org.