Assessment-Based Treatment for Traumatized Children: A Trauma Assessment Pathway Model (TAP)
Alicia Gilbert, PhD
Robyn Igelman, PhD
Chadwick Center for Children and Families
Chadwick Center Programs
Forensic and Medical Services
Child & Adolescent Services Research Center
(funded by the NIMH)
Trauma Counseling Program
- Assessment-based individual, group and family therapy for children who have experienced
- Therapy and advocacy to domestic violence victims and their children at the Family Justice Center.
- School-based counseling services.
- Parent-child interaction therapy.
- Medication & psychological assessments.
- Crisis intervention, advocacy, information and referrals.
TAP Model Overview
- A treatment manual for traumatized children ages 2 to 18 years
- Incorporates assessment data, clinical interview, and observation to create a Unique Client Picture
- Includes specific components of trauma-specific treatment described by the Trauma Wheel
- Draft completed and undergoing revisions
What Is Assessment Based Treatment (ABT)?
Development of clinical assessment-based treatment refers to the “development of an integrated plan of prioritized interventions, that is based on the diagnosis and psychosocial assessment of the client, to address mental, emotional, behavioral, developmental and addictive disorders, impairments and disabilities, reactions to illnesses, injuries, and social problems.” (Social work, consolidated laws, effective Sept. 1, 2004)
- A sequence or path that clinicians follow in making assessment, triage, and clinical decisions.
- Found increasingly useful within the medical field.
- Evaluation of UCLA’s Asthma Pathway showed substantial cost effectiveness and adherence to medical standards (Chest, 1998)
- Rady Children’s Hospital developed over 40 pathways, starting with Asthma in 1994, domestic violence in 2001, and TAP in 2005.
- TAP includes a pathway that directs triage, assessment, referrals, and clinical interventions.
Chadwick’s Philosophy ofTrauma Treatment
- The therapeutic goal is to resolve the impact of a single or series of traumatic experiences to the child and their family.
- Therapeutic decisions emerge from clinical and standardized assessment.
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Is the client appropriate for your Center and for the TAP Model?
To get the full rich unique client picture, gather information via:
- Clinical Interviews
- Behavioral Observation
- Standardized Measures
Standardize your Assessment ChoicesWhat measures exist to help you know your client?
Reliability and Validity
Sensitivity to Change
Time to administer
Costs of using measures
Multiple vs. Single Informants
Real World Validity
Assessment Pathway Process
Core measures administered
Problem areas identified
Other measures are administered to probe more deeply
Guiding Therapists via Assessment
Pathways integrated into assessment measures
Therapists’ Use of Assessment Measures:
Guiding the assessment and providing feedback.
How to make sense ofassessment results:
- Know what each measure assesses and applicable populations
- Have a general understanding of each subscale
- Examine the validity scales (if any)
- Use assessment results as an adjunct to your clinical interview
- Clarify inconsistencies between assessment results and clinical impressions
How to make sense of assessment results (cont.):
- Involve the parents and children in your interpretive process
- Integrate results with clinical impressions & think about how the results can be used to plan treatment
- Don’t discount your clinical judgment!!
Problem Solving: What Happens When the Measures & Clinician Don’t Agree?
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How do you discuss feedback with your clients?
Parent and client feedback:Dos & Don’ts
- Allow one therapy session to discuss results and give feedback
- Elicit client feedback and impressions regarding assessment results
- Discuss results with parent and child to confirm clinical impressions
- Address areas of concern not initially revealed through clinical interview
- Most important: Engage them in the process!
Parent and client feedback:Dos & Don’ts (cont.)
- Avoid discussing results with your clients
- Act like the assessments are a waste of time (because your clients will too!)
- Be afraid to share written feedback and printouts with parents and children
- Underestimate the ability of your clients to understand and appreciate your feedback
How to form your clinical hypothesis
- Consider all assessment feedback
- Which family members need to be included in treatment? What are the dynamics in the family?
- Family and client buy in
- Consider the cause of distress
Heuristics of Using theClinical Pathway
- One skill builds upon another.
- All spokes of the Trauma Wheel will be addressed at some point during treatment.
- The length of time and intervention type depend upon the unique client picture.
- The wheel is fluid – you move back and forth between spokes of the wheel.
The Trauma Wheel
Addressing Maladaptive Cognitions
Interview with Child & Family
Standardized Assessment Results
Consider family buy-in & needs before making treatment decisions
- Weekly interviews/updated goals
- Progress notes
- Follow-up standardized measures
- Must use the same measures for each time period (to measure change over time)
- Can add measures over time (once added must continue to administer added measure to assess change over time).
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Trauma Assessment Pathway Model (TAP): At a Glance
Initial Screening Process
Clinical Interview and Standardized Measures
Integrate Assessment Information
Form Unique Client Picture
Narrow the Clinical Focus Select Symptom Domains Hypotheses/Prioritize
Refer to a specialized program if needed
Establish Treatment Goals
Guides treatment decisions and the use of the Trauma Wheel
Weekly interviews, update goals
Follow-up standardized measures
Following the Treatment Pathway
You’re the Experts
- What are some basic assumptions you may have about traumatized clients?
- How have you validated those assumptions?
- What is your experience with using assessment measures?
- www.ChadwickCenter.org (Chadwick)
- www.nctsn.net (National Child Traumatic Stress Network)
- www.musc.edu/cvc/ (TF-CBT on-line and OVC guidelines)
Alicia Gilbert, PhD
Robyn Igelman, PhD
858-576-1700, ext. 3211