We use a developmentally sensitive, biologically respectful approach to coordinated health and mental health care for child trauma victims and their non-offending family members. Intensive, coordinated care management draws in all people involved in the child’s life – family members, foster parents, social services caseworker, child care providers, prosecutors, victim advocates, doctors, teachers, and school personnel. Children often struggle to process their trauma through talk therapy alone. DCAC offers a variety of evidence-based, non-verbal modalities to meet the specific needs of each child.
Assessment and Mental Health Treatment
As a result of severe stress and/or traumatic experiences, your child may develop some of the following symptoms:
- Avoidant, anxious, clingy behaviors
- General fearfulness/new fears
- Helplessness, passive, low frustration
- Restless, impulsive, hyperactive activity
- Physical symptoms (headache, etc.)
- Difficulty identifying what is bothering them
- Inattention, difficulty problem solving
- Daydreaming or dissociation
- Aggressive behavior
- Sexualized behavior
- Loss of recent developmental achievements
- Repetitive/post-traumatic play
- Talking about the traumatic event and reacting to reminders/trauma triggers
- Poor peer relationships and social problems (controlling/over permissive)
DCAC’s Clinical Process:
Phone Intake: Family calls DCAC and completes a phone intake with the Bilingual Intake Coordinator.
Orientation: Once the case is accepted, the family will schedule and attend an orientation with the Bilingual Intake Coordinator.
Assigned to Therapist: Once the orientation is complete, the Director of Assessment and Treatment assigns the case to one of our Child & Family Therapists.
Parental Assessment: The therapist set up a one-on-one appointment with the parent or caregiver.
Individual Therapy with Client: The therapist, with the caregivers, determines when to begin treatment with the child.
To receive more information about DCAC’s treatment program, please contact Raquel Hernandez, DCAC’s Bilingual Intake Coordinator, at 303-996-8594.
What are Evidence-based and Research-based Treatments?
Evidence-based practices not only integrate the best available scientific information, but also allow the therapist to individualize the interventions with a sensitivity to the personality and cultural characteristics of the child and his or her family. All staff in DCAC’s Child and Adolescent Assessment and Treatment Program are master’s level prepared therapists, either with licensure or supervised by licensed clinical supervisors.
All DCAC therapists participate in ongoing training for the effective delivery of evidence-based treatments including:
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapeutic technique, using bilateral stimulation that allows individuals who have been exposed to disturbing, and possibly traumatizing events to activate the nervous system’s natural mechanisms for processing the memories. The individual does not forget the experience, but is able to integrate it so it can be recalled instead of being re-experienced.
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a components-based approach to working with children and adolescents that integrates trauma-sensitive interventions, cognitive behavioral principles of gradual exposure, integrating attachment, development and family based models in order to address symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety associated with exposure to overwhelming life events.
Alternatives for Families-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (AF-CBT) is an intervention for families who struggle to manage anger, conflict and aggression. The interventions increase use of positive coping, self-control, effective disciplinary strategies and constructive family problem solving and communication.
Child–Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) is a relationship-based treatment for parents and young children, which aims to help restore normal developmental functioning in the wake of domestic violence and trauma. CPP concentrates on restoring the attachment relationships that are negatively affected by violence, establishing a sense of safety and trust within the parent–child relationship.
The Problematic Sexual Behaviors-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (PSB-CBT) family treatment model addresses problematic sexual behavior in school-aged children (ages 7-12). This outpatient family treatment program is recognized and supported by research as being highly effective in reducing or eliminating problematic sexual behavior in youth. The programs work with caregivers and the youth to increase safety and communication as well as promote healthy, positive choices in youth with PSB.
Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) is a type of treatment designed to improve the relationship between a caregiver and his/her child. PCIT is also one of the most effective treatments known for children with behavior problems between the ages of 2 and 6 years. This 16-20 session treatment will teach you the skills that professionals (such as psychologists, special education teachers, and family therapists) use to improve child behavior.
Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) is recognized as an evidence-based adjunctive treatment for complex, developmental trauma or chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the United States. TCTSY was developed at the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts and has foundations in both Trauma Theory and Hatha Yoga practice with an emphasis on body-based yoga forms and breathing exercises. Complex or Developmental Trauma in particular, have such a deep impact on the entire organism that there is a growing understanding among professionals in the field that treatment approaches need to reach beyond psychodynamic psychotherapy.
DCAC's trauma-sensitive yoga program is made possible by funding through the Get Grounded Foundation.
DCAC also employs new and promising approaches where research indicates the intervention has a positive impact, but there is not yet a conclusive body of evidence.
Effective research-based treatments at DCAC include:
Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) is a developmentally sensitive, neuro-biologically informed approach to organizing clinical information and structuring interventions. Using detailed social developmental histories along with assessment of current functioning, the clinical staff create individualized developmentally targeted treatment plans that integrate the use of sensory, relational and cognitive interventions
Play Therapy is a therapeutic approach for young children in which the therapist uses toys, art supplies, sand trays, games and physical activities to communicate with the child in their language, which is play. Because younger children and many older traumatized youth have limited capacity to effectively communicate in words, the play allows the client to symbolically communicate internal experiences and to master anxiety producing memories.