Overcoming Childhood Trauma

Compass Community Schools deliver the New Ways therapeutic assessment and intervention programmes designed specifically for young people with complex backgrounds and concerning presentations. New Ways Safeguarding, is a psychology service which specialises in working with young people who have experienced early-life trauma and the impacts this can have. Childhood trauma constitutes experiences which can overwhelm a young person’s self-regulation, threaten their wellbeing and indicate that the world is unpredictable, dangerous and uncontrollable.

The Overcoming Childhood Trauma (OCT) programme is a dedicated therapeutic intervention that can be delivered to children and young people attending Compass Community Schools as part of a triangulated approach alongside residential care, or while in a foster placement or in their own homes.

The Approach

The New Ways OCT programme is guided by empirical evidence, recommendations from academic literature and clinical practice. It adopts a multi modal approach, however it places emphasis on a Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT), and an attachment informed framework. TF-CBT is an adapted form of cognitive behavioural therapy which addresses trauma-related emotional and behavioural difficulties which may emerge as a consequence of exposure to adversity. TF-CBT is proposed as the optimal intervention method for experience of complex trauma in youth, including experience of abuse and maltreatment (NICE, 2017, Gillies et al., 2016).

What is known from research and work with young people who have experienced trauma is that they have often survived chaotic environments and been exposed to unhelpful beliefs and attitudes. Accordingly, the programme focuses on skills development, altering maladaptive beliefs and behaviours as well as fostering resilience and the growth of self-awareness and empathy. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to dealing with childhood trauma, and every instance in which a young person has experienced adversity has unique circumstances. Although the OCT programme has been designed for particular presenting issues, the child-centred focus allows for tailoring the programme to the young person’s individual needs. The programme is supported by a multi-systemic approach which emphasises involvement of significant people in the young person’s world to ensure continuity, collaboration and collective support.