The ARC Framework is for treating complex childhood trauma and fostering resilience within the child and their caregiver.
ARC’s foundation is built upon four key areas of study: normative childhood development, traumatic stress, attachment and risk/resilience. ARC identifies important childhood skills and competencies which are shown to be negatively affected by traumatic stress and attachment disruptions.
ARC is organized around three primary interventions:
- The framework focuses on strengthening the caregiving system by enhancing supports, skills, and relational resources for children and their adult caregivers. The effect of a child’s trauma is likely to impact ongoing attachment relationships. Caregiver and child relationship are addressed through three primary targets:
- Supporting caregivers in recognizing, understanding, accepting, and managing their own emotional and physiological responses as it impacts parenting or child-care.
- Enhancing trust within the caregiver-child relationship, and helping caregivers deepen their understanding of child behavior
- Building effective, trauma-informed responses to child and adolescent behavior.
- Regulation. Many young people who experience trauma, struggle in settings across their environments as a result of difficult behaviors, out of control emotions, and impulsive or disorganized bodies. Underlying these challenges is often difficult with regulating feelings, thoughts, and physical experience. Regulation treatment identifies, understands, and manages internal experience through:
- Supporting youth in developing an awareness and understanding of feelings, body states, and associated thoughts and behaviors
- Helping youth develop increased capacity to tolerate and manage physiological and emotional experience
- Enhancing tolerance and skill in building relational connection.
- The framework addresses key factors associated with resilience in childhood trauma. A goal of intervention is to increase positive and resilient outcomes among youth. Competency goals include:
- Learning to have and express choice and empowerment for effective decision-making.
- Identification and exploration of self and identity, and building coherence through life experiences, including traumatic exposures and triggers.
Woven throughout the ARC approach is an emphasis on engagement (why does this goal matter?), psychoeducation (why are we doing this?), and routine (what can I expect?).
ARC’s ultimate goal is to support children, adolescents, and caregivers in effective engagement in the world, in a manner that is empowered and future-oriented.