Type of services:
Advocacy and safety planning combined with relational, parent child psychotherapy.
Healing Abuse Working for Change (HAWC) is a community-based domestic violence agency, working in collaboration with the Outpatient Mental Health departments at MassGeneral for Children at North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Massachusetts and Lynn Community Health Center in Lynn, Massachusetts
Type of provider:
Pediatric mental health clinicians with domestic violence advocates
Length of program/number of sessions:
12 – 16 weeks
Domestic Violence agency offices and shelter in combination with two outpatient mental health departments
Type(s) of trauma/concerns addressed:
Complex trauma due to childhood exposure to domestic violence, the impact of violence on the non-offending parent and the parent child attachment, and the reduction of risk of exposure to further harm.
An application of Child-Parent Psychotherapy is employed in combination with safety planning and advocacy services, based on an empowerment model. Clinicians who are specialists working with traumatized children and domestic violence advocates are trained in the Parent Child Trauma Recovery model.
Advocates and clinicians then partner with the protective parent to develop and implement a safety plan that considers each child’s physical and psychological safety needs. The therapist guides caregiver and child toward the psychological integration of the traumatic events for greater resiliency and adaptive functioning. The advocate provides access to rights, resources and safety planning to prevent future exposure to violence. The model was designed to increase safety while addressing trauma-related symptoms to protective caregivers and their children by providing services concurrently and across disciplines.
The therapeutic skills of the psychotherapist are combined with the safety planning practices of advocates to offer families what they may need in the aftermath of domestic violence including safety and access to meaningful resources and an opportunity to repair and strengthen the attachment between children and their protective caregivers. The parent, the psychotherapist and the advocate meet throughout the course of treatment to review and assess the safety plan. After the caregiver and service providers have assessed current safety concerns, the children are invited into the therapeutic room to participate so that their fears and their needs can be incorporated into the safety plan.
Twice monthly team meetings support fidelity to the model and facilitate communication between clinicians and advocates.
The Parent Child Trauma Recovery model was cited as a “best practice program” by the Massachusetts Governor’s Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, 2009