Trauma Informed Treatment Model
Downing Clark Hope Center (DCHC) provides comprehensive recovery treatment for young girls age 6-17 who are victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) as well as other forms of sexual abuse. Downing Clark’s treatment staff believes that all of us exist as Body, Mind, Heart and Spirit. Master’s level therapist are very experienced in the treatment of comorbid drug and alcohol abuse and compulsive disorders and other disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder, to name but a few. The specific approach for trauma treatment is determined on an individual basis to meet the youth’s need. Upon admission the treatment staff meets with the youth and her guardian (if available) and develops the youth’s Individual Service Plan (ISP) that addresses the “WHOLE girl”, Body, Mind, Heart and Spirit. A feature on each girl’s ISP is the development of a safety plan. Girls are taught to find safety zones for themselves (i.e. within a local convenience store or a fire station) that they can use to flee their trafficker/pimp or simply avoid an old acquaintance. These safety plans are put in place to address both the possibility of running and to navigate day-to-day life after discharge.
At Downing Clark HOPE Center & Academy we provide trauma treatment within a conventional format of single-gender groups as well as individual therapy sessions and family therapy sessions. Each girl is assigned a primary therapist and is provided with (2) hours of intensive individual therapy sessions per week. We believe that individual therapy has an essential role in the healing process. Additionally, each girl attends a minimum of (2) group therapy sessions per week. The group topics may include: Trauma Resolution Core Group; Chemical and Substance Abuse ; Sexual Dependency; Anger Management; Co-Dependency; Life Skills; Grief and Loss; Art Therapy; Spirituality Group; 12 Step Group; Depression Group; Domestic Violence; Teen Pregnancy; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; and Community Group. Every treatment modality used at DCHCA will incorporate the goals of building self- worth, self-respect, and self-efficacy. All treatment is delivered within the context of understanding the developmental hindrances of having been under the control of someone (her trafficker/pimp) for so long.
A board certified child and adolescent Psychiatrist conducts a psychiatric evaluation soon after admission. This consultation includes a thorough review of any current medications and an initial plan for any needed adjustments. The psychiatrist and nursing staff provide the latest in medication management. The most current treatment techniques availed to our youth include: EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing); Equine Therapy; Adventure Therapy (activity and recreation); Sexual Recovery; DBT (Dialectic Behavior Therapy); and Body Image/Self Esteem group therapy.
Our program stresses the mind-body-spirit connection and is geared toward a full expression of feelings and messages received during traumatic experiences within a safe
“Containing” trauma informed environment. Youth at DCHC shall have the opportunity to experience empowerment through a full expression of feelings and to change negative beliefs about her self, others and a higher power.
A certified nutritionist performs, upon admission a comprehensive nutritional analysis and plans menus for each girl according to her individual dietary needs.
The overall treatment model at DCHC is Trauma Informed Treatment. Hence, individuals that have experienced trauma in their lives must be involved in the design, delivery, and evaluation of treatment services. At Downing Clark the treatment staff are culturally sensitive and incorporate evidenced based, best practice, trauma informed treatment models. The treatment staff understands the dynamics of trauma and violence. Every staff member is trained in new hire orientation the importance of providing an environment that is: physically and practically designed to avoid re-traumatization; safe and nurturing; empowering; and culturally competent.
MEDICAL SCREENING: Given the physical health needs of this population, DCHC nursing staff shall ensure that each girl is provided medical screening for STD’S, pregnancy, emergency care, if needed, and other health-related problems prior to admission. These services can be provided through local urgent care facilities and local teen clinics.
FAMILY PROGRAM: The Family Program is a hallmark of Downing Clark HOPE Center. Where there is a viable family, the family will be actively included with each girl’s treatment to enhance long-term treatment gains and healing to the family unit. When a viable family unit is not available, then DCHC staff will work aggressively to identify potential foster families and/or mentors for these girls. It is critical that our girls have visiting resources, people who “show up” for them to let them know that they are not forgotten. Ideally, these visitors will be family members. Family therapy sessions shall be scheduled by the attending therapist.