Types of Therapy
Depending upon the client, his/her age and developmental level, as well as the specific issues to be addressed in therapy, MVTS staff, depending upon their expertise, may use one or a combination of the following therapeutic approaches:
Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competence (ARC) model
ARC is a treatment approach designed to support children and families who have experienced multiple life stressors and adversity. Treatment involves the child/adolescent and the caregiver(s), and there is an emphasis on collaboration with the other providers within the family’s life. Caregivers are viewed as an integral member of the treatment team, so it is very important that adults are involved in their child’s treatment. The goal of treatment is to support both youth and their adult caregivers in developing factors associated with healthy outcomes. ARC seeks to support healthy relationships between children/adolescents and their caregiving systems to build healthy resources and safety within the family and the child’s environment. Other goals are to build all family members’ ability to manage strong feelings, become more aware of body sensations, and how they impact behaviors, improve problem-solving skills, support healthy development of identity, and support the child and family in processing and integrating stressful life experiences.
Child Parent Psychotherapy is an evidenced-based treatment model used to help young children, ages birth-6 years, and their primary caregiver overcome the effects of past difficult events. This therapy helps caregivers learn to recognize traumatic reactions and help their child feel calm and safe. The caregiver, therapist, and child meet together and use play therapy to address thoughts, feelings, and emotional connections in the family. Special consideration is given to caregiver’s own trauma history, as well as the ethnic culture of the family. The goals of Child Parent Psychotherapy are to restore levels of functioning in development and daily activities, and improve the child’s coping skills; to develop a new understanding of the traumatic experience; and to restore a sense of predictability and trust within the caregiver-child relationship.
Dance and Movement Therapies
According to the American Dance Therapy Association, dance/movement therapy is the psychotherapeutic use of movement to further the emotional, cognitive, physical, and social integration of the individual. Visit ADTA for more information.
Directive Play Therapy
All children play naturally. But when play is assisted and directed by a trained and experienced professional, it is referred to as Play Therapy. Play therapy is currently the most widely used child-specific therapeutic intervention, practiced by psychotherapists, psychiatrists, school counselors, family counselors, and clinical social workers. Play is the child’s natural means of expression. Through the use of puppets, paints, games, drama, sand tray pictures, and story-telling, children and adolescents, of all ages, are provided with the opportunity to “play out” negative feelings (e.g., tension, frustration, anger, sadness, fear, and confusion) in order to process through or abandon that which is causing them distress and pain. Play therapy is used to treat a variety of childhood disorders and symptoms, including trauma-reactive behaviors (the way a child behaves as a result of experiencing or witnessing trauma), Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, different types of anxiety, depression, fears, adjustment problems, school refusal, eating and elimination problems, communication problems, and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is used in family therapy, parent-child interaction therapy, and even in adult counseling. The type of play therapy we utilize is problem-oriented (the caregiver and child present the problem), present-oriented, increasingly directive (depending on the relationship between the child and his/her therapist), and structured. Parents play a key role in our work with their children. Whether through witnessing the play, participating in the play, reflecting on the content and feelings of the play, or privately reviewing the play with the therapist, we help parents understand the process and specific goals of play therapy.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
Approximately 5,000 years ago, the Chinese discovered a complex system of energy circuits that run throughout the body. These circuits (or “Meridians”) are the centerpiece of Eastern health practices and form the basis for modern-day acupuncture, acupressure, and a wide variety of other healing techniques. Emotional Freedhom Technique (EFT) is an emotional version of acupuncture, except there are no needles used. Instead, our therapists use a 2-step process wherein we help the client mentally tune into a specific issues/memories and then, following a series of visualizations, we teach them to stimulate certain Meridian points on the body by tapping them with their fingertips. Properly done, EFT appears to balance disturbances in the Meridian system and brings emotional relief to clients.
Expressive Art Therapy
Expressive art therapy uses various types of arts, including movement, drawing, painting, music, writing, sound, and improvisation, in a supportive setting to facilitate growth and healing by using the emotional, intuitive aspects of ourselves. This form of therapy can be offered both in individual therapy and in group settings.
Eye Movement and Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
When incoming sensory information is emotionally-charged (e.g., traumatic), it gets stuck in the Central Nervous System within the right hemisphere of the brain. It does not get processed in time and space, so when reminders occur, the stuck memory is triggered and feels (emotionally and physically) that it is happening in the present. This accounts for flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, and nightmares that our clients often experience. EMDR therapists help their client reprocess these traumatic memories by using left-right (bilateral) stimulation of the brain, while noticing different aspects of the traumatic memory. The bilateral stimulation is achieved through either rapid eye movement across the field of vision, auditory tones or clicks, or tactile stimulation of alternate sides of the body. It is believed that the bilateral stimulation of EMDR creates biochemical changes in the brain that aid processing of information. If a client is deemed appropriate for this type of therapy, they first learn ways to contain themselves and feel safe when triggered by the traumatic memory. Through a trusting relationship with their therapist, the client is then able to use these internal resources as anchors when the trauma reprocessing begins, during the later stage of treatment.
Tapas Accupressure Technique (TAT)
TAT is related to EFT, but involves a combination of the client placing their attention on a set of statements and then touching a few specific acupuncture points on their face and at the back of their head. Both TAT and EFT are often combined with other modes of therapy, most often Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, as well as body-centered trauma processing strategies.
Therapeutic yoga blends gentle yoga poses, breath work, and guided meditation techniques, tailored to a client’s specific needs and abilities. It is used both in individual and group therapy settings to help clients get in touch with their bodies in safe, positive, ways. During the sessions, clients learn breathing techniques, develop balance and flexibility, and begin to “quiet the brain.” Research has shown yoga brings about measurable changes in the body’s Sympathetic Nervous System, the system that propels us into action during the Fight/Flight/Freeze response to stress, the same parts of the brain where traumatic memory is held. Yoga boosts levels of feel-good brain chemicals (e.g., GABA, serotonin, and dopamine), which are responsible for feelings of relaxation and contentment. Yoga also stimulates the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which calms us down and restores balance after a major stressor has ended, helps to eliminate toxins from the body, and boosts the body’s immune system.
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
TF-CBT is a treatment intervention to help children, youth, and their parents/caregivers overcome difficult life events. The goals are to help improve levels of functioning in the child’s development and daily activities and improve coping skills. TF-CBT includes psychoeducation, parent skills training, relaxation and affect modulation training, cognitive coping and processing skills building, creating the trauma narrative, conjoint child-parent sessions, and ways to enhance future safety and development.