Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency: A Comprehensive Framework with Complexly Traumatized Youth (ARC)
Type of Approach:
Provider Education Level:
Type of services:
ARC is a flexible framework for working with children and families who have experienced multiple and/or prolonged traumatic stress. ARC identifies three core domains (building secure attachments, enhancing self-regulatory capacities, and increasing competencies across multiply domains) that are frequently impacted by trauma among youth. ARC provides a theoretical framework, core principles of interventions, and a guiding structure for working with children. Recognizing that a one-size model does not fit all, ARC uses a menu-based approach so that interventions can be selected to meet a child’s needs and strengths. Interventions include psychoeducation, relationship strengthening, social skill development, parent education training, and psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, relaxation, art/expressive and movement techniques.
Clinics, schools, and community settings such as transitional housing for homeless clients who have experienced domestic violence
Length of program/number of sessions:
Depends on client’s needs
Type(s) of trauma/concerns addressed:
Physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, exposure to domestic violence, and community violence.
Type of service provider:
The goal of creating the ARC framework was to identify key principles that translate across service settings. ARC principles have been applied in a range of settings including residential treatment settings, schools, and day programs.
ARC is a strengths-based model that emphasizes the importance of building or rebuilding safe relational systems and promoting resiliency.
Ethnic Racial Group:
Age range of children serve:
5 to 17 years old
Are parent/adult caregiver(s) included in intervention?
Ethnic/racial and other groups served:
According to the NCTSN review, participants represent all categories of race and ethnicity including American Indian and Alaska Natives.
Languages that service/resource is available:
The ARC model is grounded in attachment and traumatic stress theories that focus on addressing the three core domains and ten key building blocks as shown below:
-Caregiver affect management
-Routines and rituals
Preliminary data from a pilot trial of a 16-week adaptation of the ARC treatment framework with children, ages 6 to 12 years old, and primarily adoptive or pre-adoptive caregivers.
Key evaluation results:
All children received individual care and children and parents participated in separate 6-week treatment groups. At six-month follow-up, there were significant reductions in children’s levels of anxiety, depression, dissociation, PTSD symptoms, and anger compared to baseline levels prior to the intervention. There were also significant reductions in children’s externalizing and internalizing behaviors and significant improvements in their adaptive skills. Caregivers reported reduced distress and viewing their children’s behaviors as less dysfunctional.
Kinniburgh K, Blaustein ME. The Trauma Center at JRI. Evaluation of the Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC) Model-Preliminary Data. PowerPoint presentation.
Publications about the program:
Treating Traumatic Stress in Children and Adolescents: How to foster Resiliency through attachment, Self-regulation and Compentecy. Book by, Margaret E. Blaustein and Kristine M. Kinniburgh
Kinniburgh K, Blaustein M, Spinazzola J, Van Der Kolk B. Attachment, self-regulation and competency. Psychiatric Annals. 2005;35(5):424-430.
Blaustein M, Kinniburgh K. Intervention Beyond the Child: The intertwining nature of attachment and trauma. British Psychological Society, Briefing Paper 26. 2007;48-53.
Rated/Reviewed by Evidence Based Registries:
Margaret Blaustein at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617 232-1303, ext. 214
ARC provides a guidebook that offers a menu of possible strategies to address the three key domains. Since ARC is a theoretical framework versus a manualized protocol, the ARC guidebook does not provide session-by-session sequencing of interventions.