Each staff member on a cottage team contributes to a child’s transformation. From the first hello to intense trauma therapy, each residential employee provides safety and teaches a youth about their true worth. Here’s what our young boys cottage therapist, Danielle Anderson, had to say about the importance of treatment specialists in supporting a youth’s healing process.
How do treatment specialists support a child’s trauma therapy?
Cottage therapists generally work with youth individually, while treatment specialists provide care individually and in groups. This perspective allows treatment specialists to provide updates on a child’s progress, struggles, interactions and behaviors. Therapists respond to these important case notes in therapy sessions.
Our kids benefit from individualized interventions. Interventions are a way to address a child’s specific need and help them thrive. Often therapists and treatment specialists work together to create interventions that are then implemented by treatment specialists.
What are the best characteristics of a staff member caring for a child that’s been traumatized?
Staff who are calm, consistent, structured and thoughtful bring a lot of support to youth from hard places. The best treatment specialists choose not to make a big deal out of little things like a swear word or forgotten socks. Our kids benefit from staff who respond with compassion. Modeling consistent kindness teaches residents to respond in the same way.
How do treatment specialists use TBRI with kids on a typical day?
CCHO residential staff are trained with a trauma approach called Trust-Based Relational Intervention, or TBRI for short. The goal is to establish safety and connection with our kids so they feel safe and know our heart when correction is necessary. Treatment specialists use TBRI daily when interacting with kids.
Connection is 100% vital with trauma work. Connection may look like proximity. A staff member sits next to a kiddo when they are having a hard time so the child knows they aren’t alone. Connection might also occur through nonverbal cues, such as eye contact or a shared nod, to help a child know they are seen and valued. Treatment specialists often connect one on one with new residents upon arrival.
How are treatment specialists creating safety?
Treatment specialists help our residents be safe and feel safe. This starts with constant supervision. As you might have guessed, staff supervision annoys some of our youth at first, but then they also find comfort in it. It becomes their normal. Treatment specialists also create safety through consistency. Our kids learn what to expect during the daily routine. They even know what to expect when it comes to consequences. Our staff create safety in small ways throughout the day. It might feel insignificant at the time, but it’s so important to kids who have experienced trauma.
What do you appreciate about the treatment specialists in your cottage?
The treatment specialists in the young boys cottage give the best of who they are. We have extraverts who offer nurture and structure. We have introverts who connect with compassion. They help us stay on schedule and they are invested in relationships. The treatment specialists are all collaborative and conscientious. Best of all, they are all in for the kids. If they think it will help a child heal and grow, they will try it.
Who would you recommend the TS position to?
The treatment specialist position is a great role for anyone who wants to make a difference. If you want to help kids, this is one of the most rewarding jobs. You can see the change in kids lives happen right in front of you. You see them begin to look healthier and happier. You see more smiles. You see kids and teens look more comfortable with themselves. You’ll receive updates from their family integration therapist on how they’re doing after they leave CCHO.