Conference Coverage

Ten-step trauma intervention offers help for foster families



“Trauma awareness is a large part of this intervention [in order to] help resource parents understand what’s happening,” Dr. Eslinger said. “There is trauma 101, orientation to what happens in the body when a child is exposed to a traumatic event, and this is followed by learning how to use the caregiver relationship.”

Dr. Jessica Eslinger

The intervention also teaches caregivers how to help children develop healthy coping methods for traumatic stress, and then create a psychologically safe space for the child.

The 10 sessions were structured carefully, starting by addressing end goals, moving to education on the effects of early childhood trauma, transitioning to relaxation and coping skills, followed by teaching how to deal with challenging behaviors, and finishing with a final session where participants have a chance to bring it all together.

Caregivers also are instructed on using the cognitive triangle to understand their children’s feelings and build the framework to develop healthy reactions to behavior caused by traumatic stress.

“We work to help parents learn how to instill safety messages that the child needs to hear, creating a sense of safety in the home, and operating in the relationship in such a way to create psychological safety for their child,” Dr. Sprang said. “For many of [the parents], they’ve never understood that their disappointment and their hopelessness were a danger to the child – that children pick up on this.”

Neither Dr. Eslinger nor Dr. Sprang reported financial disclosures.

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