Agency, School & Community Based Posttraumatic Stress Management©
The Post Traumatic Stress Management Services (PTSM) development team, founded in 1995 and managed by The International Trauma Center, works closely with state Departments of Education, Mental Health, Youth and Family Services, and Federal agencies including DOE, SAMHSA, FEMA, DHS and the Red Cross to incorporate evidence-based and emerging practice models for psychological first aid and recovery phase protocols.
(See Robert D. Macy, et. al., Community-Based, Acute Posttraumatic Stress Management: A Description and Evaluation of a Psychosocial-Intervention Continuum; Harvard Review of Psychiatry, Issue # 12.4, Taylor & Francis, September 2004)
- PTSM is a cognitive based (verbal) group intervention model for youth and adults 9 years old and older that has been developed through extensive field practice and research over the last 14 years in the US and abroad post trauma and violence exposure in schools and local communities; the PTSM design and development service continuum includes gender specific, developmentally specific, culturally and linguistically specific post-disaster psychological intervention, stabilization and resiliency augmentation protocols.
- PTSM is a phase oriented (0 Hour to 3 weeks) series of highly structured, school, agency and community-based group interventions supporting the natural tendency of school and/or community peers to group together seeking safety and solace following traumatic incidents.
- PTSM targets immediate reduction of traumatic stress sequelae with the concomitant augmentation of coping and resiliency and the identification of survivors who require higher levels of behavioral health or medical care.
- PTSM focuses across the life span as well as specifically on impacted children, youth and their families and on the staff of schools and social service agencies supporting school trauma responses or exposed to ongoing traumatic events.
PTSM provides six basic interventions conducted by credentialed interventionists:
- Post-trauma impact and needs assessments assisted by PTSM coordinators and implemented by community leaders.
- Psychological first aid for one-to-one stabilization and immediate needs inventories.
- Orientation sessionsthat provide ongoing accurate information about the event, the decedents, psychoeducation about survivor physical and emotional reactions following a trauma, resource installation and resiliency building. (Orientations are normally not more than 1 hour and are perfect for the school general assembly-if required and can accommodate any number of participants. Post 9/11 we did orientations for as many as 850 people at one time).
- Stabilization groups that accommodate 6-15 participants, normally with homogeneous exposure, A PTSM stabilization group has five phases (or core actions if using PFA terminology) lasting approximately 45 minutes, usually conducted on scene (0Hour/hot zone) or within the first 24 hours of the exposure, normally off scene. Stabilization groups focus on (a) psychological safety building, (b) grounding and mindfulness techniques and (c) self care and substance abuse information all aimed at the reduction of neurophysiological arousal secondary to the traumatic stress exposure and the development of a “safety plan” for now through the funeral services. Stabilization groups for school youth and their care giving adults have been customized for suicide, homicide, school shootings, and sudden death due to medical anomalies, ongoing violence exposures (violent gang activity), terrorism and natural disasters.
- Coping groups can accommodate 6-10 participants, normally with homogenous exposure, may last 90 to 120 minutes, and are provided usually after the funeral and up to 3-4 weeks after the event. A PTSM coping group has nine phases (or core actions if using PFA terminology) and focus on multiple cognitive and neurophysiological strategies for adapting to traumatic stress and normal bereavement without dwelling on (trauma processing) the incident narrative or sensory threat details. Coping groups for school youth and their care giving adults have been customized for suicide, homicide, school shootings, sudden death due to medical anomalies, ongoing violence exposures (violent gang activity), terrorism and natural disasters.
- Ongoing PTSM consultancy, technical support and assistance for the school or community leaders most impacted by the event to assist them with intermediate and long-term stabilization, recovery, and anniversary challenges. This phase may last from 3 weeks out through the first year anniversary.
Goal: The goal of the PTSM basic course is to credential acute trauma responders to be competent in the design, development and application of evidence-based and emerging practice models for psychological first aid and psychological trauma recovery protocols that are specific to school and community environments with a strength based, developmentally focused approach to all hazards mitigation emergency management.