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Online Course

Certificate Course: ARC Trauma Treatment for Children and Adolescents

When kids are faced with overwhelming stress and childhood adversity day after day, they adapt to their environment. Their behavior and attention problems may prompt their arrival in treatment, but when you start to dig deeper into their lives, you find these kids are simply stuck in survival mode — the hallmark of complex developmental trauma.

Where do you go from here?

Co-developed by Dr. Margaret Blaustein, ARC (Attachment, Regulation, and Competency) is a framework that is clinically proven to enhance trauma treatment with children and adolescents, and has been hailed as "a landmark for understanding and treating traumatized children" by world renowned trauma expert Dr. Bessel van der Kolk.

Now, Dr. Blaustein developed this online certificate course, where you can get comprehensive training on ARC to revolutionize your trauma treatment approach.

Enroll today and learn how to apply ARC's sequential, developmentally appropriate framework to address trauma with both the child and caregiver system, to create a supportive environment for healthy development and healing of complex trauma.

You'll gain customizable tools and strategies that build self-regulation and resilience, strengthen child and caregiver relationships, fill developmental gaps and restore their capacity for curiosity, engagement and authentic response in the moment.


Product Details
Trauma - Children and young people
11 Hours 58 Minutes
Media Type:
Online Course



This online program is worth 12.5 hours CPD.


Session 1: Introduction To ARC — A Comprehensive Approach to Trauma Treatment For Kids and Caregivers

The ultimate goal of ARC is healing complex trauma in a way that helps kids engage authentically in their lives in the present moment. It begins with the open-ended question—What about this child’s behavior makes sense? From that point forward, the ARC framework supports the goal of Trauma Experience Integration (TEI)—the progressive development of a child’s capacity to tolerate moments of distress, make meaning about those experiences and integrate them in a way that positively informs present experience. This session introduces you to the building blocks of the ARC framework and their purpose in the context of treating children with a history of complex trauma. You’ll explore:

  • The multi-layered nature of complex trauma in children and adolescents — an ongoing combination of abuse, neglect, loss, betrayal, and interference with normal developmental tasks
  • The many presentations of complex trauma in children, how to recognize them and the best ways to begin treatment
  • Attachment, regulation and competency—the core domains for ARC’s progressive approach to healing trauma and why they matter
  • How to strengthen the child’s environment and engage caregivers in support of healing and healthy child development
  • The healing power of acknowledging a child’s survival strategies as “strengths” and re-focusing them on meaningful goal-oriented activities in the present

Session 2: Engagement, Education, Rhythm and Routine — ARC’s Unifying Strategies, How to Use Them and When

All healing progress requires engagement—that’s a core principle of ARC’s approach. And successful engagement requires awareness, pacing and attunement to the client’s state. This session will enhance your understanding of how to intervene effectively when the client is triggered or in survival mode, recognize and tap into curiosity and reflection to make the most of readiness for present action. You’ll learn:

  • Four key factors that ensure successful engagement
  • Proven engagement strategies for youth and their caregivers
  • Practices for fine-tuning therapist attunement
  • How being curious about why in addition to what validates a child’s experience and emotion, de-stigmatizes behavior, and enhances engagement in the healing process
  • How to empower through education and information—a playbook for children and their caregivers
  • How to use routines and rhythms to support modulation and mastery—in therapy and at home

Session 3: Healing Wounds of Attachment — Key Strategies for Successfully Engaging Caregivers

Attachment is the first pillar in the ARC attachment, regulation, competency framework. No one is better placed to strengthen attachment bonds than a primary caregiver. That’s why engaging a child’s caregiving system—parents and professionals—is a primary focus of ARC’s trauma treatment framework. Once engaged, caregivers can be supported in understanding a child’s triggers and reactions, managing their own emotional responses and practicing self-care. You’ll learn how to:

  • Recognize and address common barriers to engagement for caregivers
  • Normalize caregiver responses and de-stigmatize youth behaviors
  • Increase caregiver’s understanding of the neurobiology of reactivity and the danger response in traumatized youth
  • Help caregivers use a crisis as an opportunity for learning and growth
  • Encourage the use of effective coping strategies and support systems for caregiver self-care
  • Model and reinforce three key caregiver language skills— reflection, validation and normalization

Session 4: A Step-by-Step Guide to Enhancing Attunement

It’s an ARC foundational principle that effective caregiver attunement is the key to youth self-regulation. But understanding a child’s difficult behaviors is seldom a straightforward proposition. Actions can mask unmet needs or unregulated affect and they can trigger an emotional response in others that further obscures what’s going on. This session zeroes in on everything you need to support primary caregivers and professionals in the effective practice of attunement to accurately and empathically understand and respond to a child’s actions, communications, needs, and feelings. It covers helping caregivers:

  • Approach youth behavior with self-awareness and curiosity
  • Identify and respond to the underlying function of a specific youth behavior
  • Combine accurate perception with effective affect management and behavioral response
  • Recognize and create opportunities to build pleasure in engagement
  • Attune with the whole self — matching the child’s energy, affect, tone and pace
  • Co-modulate by cuing, supporting, and reinforcing self-regulation strategies

Session 5: Mastering Effective Response — the Key to Creating a Sense of Safety for Traumatized Children

Safety is a baseline requirement for making progress with children and adolescents who have a history of complex trauma. And that sense of safety needs to extend beyond therapy to the home and the classroom. The goal on all fronts is responding to a child’s behavior in a way that is regulated, predictable and sensitive to the influence past experiences have on a child’s current behaviors. In this session, you’ll learn:

  • A teachable four-step planning process that helps ensure the likelihood of an effective caregiver response—even in challenging situations
  • How to overcome the most common caregiver barriers to responding effectively
  • Common youth reactions that can undermine an effective response and strategies for neutralizing them proactively
  • How to coach caregivers through attunement gaps, affect management blind spots and other common barriers to effective response
  • Proactive strategies for avoiding power struggles between child and caregiver
  • Proven techniques for meeting a child’s underlying needs while still addressing negative behaviors

Session 6: Regulation — the Ultimate Goal and an Ongoing Process for Traumatized Children

Regulation — the second pillar in the ARC attachment, regulation, competency framework is, by its very nature, complicated. It requires the capacity to identify and access feelings, the resources to manage the experience on many levels — emotional, physiological, cognitive, and behavioral — and the language to talk about what’s unfolding. When there’s a history of complex trauma, a child’s journey to self-regulation is one of many small steps. The first include awareness, naming and understanding the context of inner experiences. In this session, you’ll discover:

  • How to assess a child’s tolerance for different states of arousal and identify current strategies for managing what they experience
  • A step-by-step process for helping children become aware of their own internal experiences—emotions, energy or arousal—and using language to name what they feel
  • Tools and approaches to help children make connections between their emotions and other aspects of their experience including thoughts, body sensations and behaviors
  • Strategies that support children in exploring “what causes” feelings, identifying triggers and understanding their body’s alarm system

Session 7: Modulation — the Second Milestone on the Road to Self-Regulation

Once a child has achieved basic awareness of internal states, ARC shifts focus to strengthening the ability to discern changes in feeling and make qualitative assessments of internal states such as comfortable, dangerous and tolerable. As therapist and child experiment with different activities and track effects, the child experiences a sense of agency and control. In this resource-rich session, you’ll discover:

  • A wide range of modulating strategies to explore with children including sensory experiences, gross motor activities and dedicated spaces for quiet, comfort and safety
  • How to build a concrete “feelings toolbox” of strategies that cue a child to use specific coping skills in order to shift emotional states
  • A step-by-step process for engaging caregivers as active participants in support of a child’s increasing mastery of modulation strategies
  • The most effective way to repair, reconnect and reengage with a child after a meltdown or moment of crisis

Session 8: Bringing the Process Home — Supporting Competency, Connection and the Ability to Act in the Present Moment

How do you help children with a history of complex trauma build the skills and tolerance for sharing their internal experiences? How do you support their ability to connect effectively, to set goals, make active choices and develop a resilient sense of self? All of these are possible as part of developing competency—the third pillar in the ARC attachment, regulation, competency framework. In this final session, you’ll learn:

  • A step-by-step approach to building the foundation for healthy relationships—exploring the goals of connection, integrating connection with routine communications and check-ins, identifying resources and facilitating the engagement of others
  • Four key activities that help strengthen a children’s reliance on their executive functions
  • How and when to use structures that support active decision-making and to engage evaluation of choices through play
  • How to launch a comprehensive exploration of multiple “facets of identity” as part of building a child’s sense of unique self and personal identity

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