Attachment, Regulation and Competency (ARC)
What is ARC?
ARC is a framework for intervention with youth and families who have experienced multiple and/or prolonged traumatic stress. ARC identifies three core domains that are frequently impacted among traumatized youth, and which are relevant to future resiliency. Designed to be applied flexibly across child- and family-serving systems, ARC provides a theoretical framework, core principles of intervention, and a guiding structure for providers. ARC is designed for youth from early childhood to adolescence and their caregivers or caregiving systems. ARC is currently in use in more than 300 agencies and/or child-serving systems in the U.S. and abroad, and has been adapted to the range of agencies which provide services to this population.
What does ARC target?
The ARC framework is built around the following core targets of intervention. These targets are addressed in client – and system-specific ways, with an overarching goal of supporting the child, family, and system’s ability to engage thoughtfully in the present moment (Trauma Experience Integration). Across targets, Routines and rituals and Psychoeducation are integrated as cross-cutting elements of intervention.
A growing research base suggests that ARC leads to reduction in child posttraumatic stress symptoms and general mental health symptoms, as well as increased adaptive and social skills. Caregivers report reduced distress and view their children’s behaviors as less dysfunctional. Systems-level outcomes include reduced use of restraints in programs, and improved permanency rates in foster care. For further information, please review our posted articles, below.
Is ARC only for clinicians?
One primary goal in developing the ARC framework was to identify key principles that translate across service system settings. For instance, when applying the attachment principles within outpatient therapy, a clinician may be working with a biological, foster, or adoptive caregiver. In a school setting, we might emphasize development of staff supports (caregiver affect management) and training in trauma (attunement) for teaching and administrative staff, and in a residential program examine behavioral response strategies (Consistent Response) and systematic approaches to regulation for youth (Modulation). Although application will vary across settings, the core principles remain the same. ARC principles have successfully been applied in a range of settings, including outpatient clinics, residential treatment centers, schools, shelters, day programs, youth drop-in centers, domestic violence programs, foster care, and juvenile justice programs, among others.
For more information on implementing ARC in your agency, please click here. We tailor our implementation plan to the needs of each system, taking into account size, population, type of service, degree of past training, and numerous other factors, and can work with you to develop a plan that meets your needs. Our typical implementation process includes needs assessment / strategic planning, the foundational two-day ARC training, and a period of ongoing consultation. A number of advanced training options are possible.
The foundational two-day ARC training is also offered as a standalone workshop several times a year in the metro-Boston area; please check our training page for details.
If you are interested in obtaining onsite training/consultation for your agency or system, or in booking a Trauma Center at JRI faculty member for training at a conference, and would like to speak further with a training division administrator, please complete this form. We will follow up with you to respond to specific questions or to schedule a time to speak.
**Have you been trained in ARC? If so, please consider completing our post-training survey.
Clinical Services at TC-JRI
Recognized by the NCTSN as a promising practice, ARC is a comprehensive framework for intervention with youth exposed to complex trauma. All TC-JRI child – and family-serving clinicians have been trained in the ARC framework and integrate ARC principles into their practice. Intervention is tailored to each client's needs and may include individual therapy for children, education for caregivers, and parent-child sessions.
For clinical services using ARC framework, please contact our clinical intake line (617-232-0687), and indicate your interest in working with a clinician who is trained in ARC.
How can I learn more about ARC?
To purchase the text “Treating Traumatic Stress in Children and Families” (Blaustein, M. & Kinniburgh, K., 2010), please click here. This text is the primary manual for the ARC framework.
If you wish to read more about ARC, please refer to the following publications:
- Blaustein, M. & Kinniburgh, K. (2015). When age doesn't match stage: Challenges and considerations in services for transition-age youth with histories of developmental trauma. Focal Point: Youth, Young Adults, & Mental Health. Trauma-Informed Care, 29, 17-20.
- Bartlett, J. D., Barto, D., Griffin, J. L., Fraser, J. G., Hodgdon, H., & Bodian, R. (2015). Trauma-Informed Care in the Massachusetts Child Trauma Project. Child Maltreatment, 20, 1-12.
- Hodgdon, H. B., Blaustein, M., Kinniburgh, K., Peterson, M. L., & Spinazzola, J. (2015). Application of the ARC model with adopted children: Supporting resiliency and family well being.
Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma. 1-11.
- Holmes, C., Levy, M., Smith, A., Pinne, S., & Neese, P. (2015). A model for creating a supportive trauma-informed culture for children in preschool settings. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24 (6), 1650-1659.
- Bornstein, D. (2014, March 19). Teaching children to calm themselves. The New York Times. Retrieved from opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com.
- Ford, J. D., & Blaustein, M. E. (2013). Systemic self-regulation: A framework for trauma-informed services in residential juvenile justice programs. Journal of Family Violence, 28 (7), 665-677.
- Hodgdon, H., Kinniburgh, K., Gabowitz, D., Blaustein M., & Spinazzola, J. (2013). Development and implementation of trauma-informed programming in youth residential treatment centers using the ARC framework. Journal of Family Violence, 28 (7), 679-692.
- Arvidson, J., Kinniburgh, K., Howard, K., Spinazzola, J., Strothers, H., Evans, M., Andres, B., Cohen, C. & Blaustein, M. (2011). Treatment of complex trauma in young children: Developmental and cultural consideration in application of the ARC intervention model. Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma, 4, 34-51.
- Stephens, J. E. (2012, April 23). Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA, tries new approach to school discipline - suspensions drop 85%. Aces Too High, Retrieved from acestoohigh.com.
- Blaustein, M., & Kinniburgh, K. (2007). Intervening beyond the child: The intertwining nature of attachment and trauma. British Psychological Society, Briefing Paper 26, 48-53.
- Kinniburgh, K., Blaustein, M., Spinazzola J. & van der Kolk, B. (2005). Attachment, Self-Regulation & Competency. Psychiatric Annals, 35 (5), 424-430.