Therapy Modalities

Attachment, Regulation, and Competency (ARC)

What is ARC therapy?

ARC was co-developed by Kristine M. Kinniburgh, LICSW, and Margaret E. Blaustein, Ph.D. as a flexible, component-based framework for treating trauma responses in children, adolescents, and their caregiving systems. 

ARC is an evidence-based therapy with growing bodies of research demonstrating its effectiveness as a trauma treatment modality. ARC is built upon foundational pieces – normative childhood development, traumatic stress, attachment, and risk and resilience. 

ARC then identifies important developmental skills and capacities across these areas that can often get interrupted and arrested when trauma occurs and commensurately designs interventions across the key spheres of attachment, regulation, and competency – interventions which, when used psychotherapeutically, lead to increased resilience outcomes and an empowered, future-oriented treatment.

So how does ARC therapy work?

Importantly, the principles and interventions of ARC therapy can be applied to adults who experienced complex trauma as much as children and adolescents. 

Additionally, ARC therapy isn’t just focused on reducing the hard; it’s also focused on increasing the good. 

Commensurately, when a therapist incorporates ARC principles into treatment whether for an adult or an adolescent, there will be interventions and exercises designed not only around meaning making, sense-making and integration of the lived through traumas, but also focus on cultivating developmental skills and competencies – such as being able to make safe, good choices, seek out and keep healthy relationships, finding activities and pursuits that bring a sense of meaning and mastery – all of which can help support an individual’s treatment plan.

Why is ARC therapy effective at treating trauma?

As mentioned above, ARC therapy operates from a developmental lens – meaning it takes into account the developmental milestones that might be missed or thwarted when trauma occurs, and consciously designs interventions centered around helping individuals meet and achieve those milestones – critical work in trauma therapy treatment.

ARC therapy, in phased and titrated ways, will help an individual address the trauma they lived through and help them grieve and mourn the experience – another critical component in trauma treatment work.

Finally, ARC therapy, by placing an emphasis on increasing the good (versus just reducing the bad) helps support the integration and meaning-making of trauma treatment – helping individuals have good, connected, fulfilled lives despite their adverse experiences.

FAQ’s about ARC:

If I’m an adult and I experienced childhood trauma, could ARC help me even though I’m not a kid or teenager anymore?

Absolutely! And here’s why: the genesis of the framework may have originated to serve the treatment of children and adolescents, but the principles and clinical issue areas underlying the framework extend beyond young people to adults who also experienced trauma. We all have needs for attachment, regulation, and competency at any age and if our own developmental skills and capacities were stunted by the trauma we lived through, ARC-inspired interventions can be incredibly helpful to us as adults as we move through trauma treatment.

Will this kind of therapy help me and also help me learn how to help my children?

Absolutely! The more you do your own personal work to expand your own emotional regulation capacities and increase your skills for resilience and life fulfillment, the more your children benefit. Moreover, you can take the interventions and skills you learn in your own therapy to support them in their development.

How long will it take to treat my issues with ARC?

It’s not possible to guesstimate how long clinical treatment will take without insight into your case. That’s why it’s best to schedule a complimentary 20-minute consult call with our clinical intake coordinator to get matched to a great fitting therapist who can offer more insight into your question about the treatment timeline after they get to know you, your case, and your goals better.

What if I’m Not Ready?

If you don’t feel quite ready to book a complimentary consult call yet, that’s completely fine.

We don’t want you to feel pressured and we know that the choice to seek out therapy can feel difficult.

Part of you wants to do it, and another part of you is, perhaps, scared to begin because of the feelings you might have to finally feel.

Or a part of you questions whether or not you can even be helped at all.

Whatever the reason, no matter how ready or not ready you feel to begin therapy, we want you to have the information you need to make an informed choice.

So, to that end, please explore the additional information below to learn more about us and how we can help you.

We’ll be here whenever you’re ready to reach out for support.

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