March 29, 2020
Published on Wednesday 4 September, 2019
Marina Stephens, Lifestyle Solutions’ Practice Specialist - Child and Family, introduces ARC and explains how it works supporting children and young people living in Out Of Home Care.
Lifestyle Solutions’ work supporting children and young people to move beyond trauma towards positive futures has been enhanced with the introduction of the Attachment Regulation and Competency (ARC) framework into our caregiver practices and services.
“ARC, as a therapeutic framework, is like a road map. It’s flexible enough to accompany other models of practice, such as Circle of Courage, however, it doesn’t replace therapeutic techniques such as Daniel Hughes’ PACE model, cultural approaches or Mindfulness. Rather, it organises these approaches into a therapeutic and attachment informed practice,” said Marina.
“A respectful cultural overlay is being developed to inform the rollout of ARC in Practice so we can work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, children and young people, and other culturally and linguistically diverse groups in a culturally sensitive way.”
Laura Luchi, from Anima Consulting, has been engaged by Lifestyle Solutions to provide foundational training in the ARC framework in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and New South Wales.
Laura says the goal of ARC is trauma experience integration.
“This means being able to do life like others do their lives and no longer be a slave to flashbacks, triggers, dysregulation and memories. It’s about being able to have those memories as part of who you are but not the sub-total of who you are, being able to reflect on those things and incorporate the trauma into your life,” explained Laura.
Marina said ARC is a ‘relational healing’ approach designed to build committed, attached and caring relationships.
“In the past, children and young people would be referred to counselling services to learn regulation. Now, the emphasis is on firstly educating and upskilling our caregivers on self regulation, attunement and effective responses to children and young people.”
“When the caregiver system is secure, safe, predictable and connected, children and young people will be in a position to then learn how to regulate their emotions and trauma responses — that is, Fight, Flight, Freeze,” said Marina.
Lisa Isa’ako, Head of Lifestyle Solutions’ National After Hours Support Service, and a key contributor to the ARC implementation, said ARC is a new approach for service delivery in Out Of Home Care.
“We’re very excited to be implementing this framework. It meets our need for a trauma informed therapeutic framework to guide the way we work with children and adolescents with developmental trauma backgrounds,” said Lisa.
The ARC framework has been developed to work with young people who have experienced child abuse, typically from their primary caregiver. However, it can be adapted for use with children, and in all of Lifestyle Solutions’ services, due to it valuing the role of the caregiver system.
Laura and Marina have facilitated training sessions and workshops in Perth, Darwin and Newcastle. Training will be conducted in Tennant Creek during September.
“The Perth session was really well received, and it was great to see everyone so enthusiastic and committed to this significant practice change,” said Lisa.
“ARC will be delivered directly by our Support Workers, Foster Carers and Kin Carers. They will be supported through the new Reflection and Support and Decision-Making model to embed ARC learnings into practice.”
Marina is enthusiastic about how this new approach to therapeutic intervention will support resilience and help people think positively about engaging in therapeutic practice.
“I’m very excited about the implementation of the ARC framework. It’s another important step towards Lifestyle Solutions being recognised as a Child Safe Organisation,” said Marina.
Attendees at ARC training in Perth are looking forward to this new way of working.
Front row (L-R): Kate Caiacob, Behaviour Support Consultant (WA); Alexandra Crozier, Support Worker; Laura Luchi, Psychologist and Trainer, Anima Consulting; Melissa Moxham, Behaviour Support Consultant (WA) and Luna Katwal, Team Leader (NT).
Back row (L-R): Hamayoun Rahimi, Support Manager WA; Nicole Smith, Coordinator (WA); George Cherian, Senior Manager Disability (Metro) (WA); Leah Scholes, Support Manager (WA); Ashlee Pitcher, Business Growth and Program Specialist (WA); Hazel Folland, Senior Manager Child and Family (WA); Mick Fallon, Territory Leader (NT); Marcia Friend, Senior Manager (NT); Susanne Gray, Coordinator/Assessor (WA); Lisa Isa’ako, Head of Operational Support Services and After Hours Support and Marina Stephens, Practice Specialist – Child and Family.