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.

Attachment Regulation Competency
  • Caregiver Affect Management
  • Attunement
  • Consistent Response
  • Identification
  • Modulation
  • Expression
  • Executive Functions
  • Self Development

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.

Click here for form.

**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?

For a detailed interview about ARC framework, click here.

To listen to a radio interview about Learning To Be A Safe Harbor For Kids, click here.

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:


NEW ARTICLE: Suffolk University and the Trauma Center at JRI Receive $3 Million National Child Traumatic Stress Network Grant


NEW ARTICLE: Dr. Spinazzola and JRI Residential Programs Featured in New England Psychology


NEW ARTICLE: JRI Opens New Therapeutic Group Home for Young Children Effected by Trauma


Downloadable e-course: Healing Trauma Through Yoga


NOW ENROLLING: Internal Family Systems Physiology Study


NEW BOOK: The Emotion Regulation Skills System for Cognitively Challenged Clients


Online Registration for the Distance Certificate Program NOW OPEN




Books by Trauma Center Faculty and Colleagues available on