“We are developing innovative strategies to impact more hard-to-reach regions of the brain.” - Dr. Dawn O'Malley
Charlotte, NC (PRWEB) July 09, 2013
As Alexander Youth Network celebrates its special 125th Anniversary year, it also concludes its first full year as an NMT Flagship Organization of The ChildTrauma Academy (CTA), a Houston-based non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of high-risk children through direct service, research and education. The defining characteristics of Flagships include having completed the full Site Certification process in the use of the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics™ (NMT), a developmentally-informed, biologically-respectful approach to working with at-risk children, continued use and demonstrated high Fidelity to the model, a willingness to share their knowledge of NMT core concepts, and a willingness to participate in ongoing NMT research and development activities.
In the upcoming year, Alexander will continue integrating the NMT across its spectrum of services through training and raising awareness of the need for mental trauma-informed care. More information on the NMT can be found at http://www.alexanderyouthnetwork.org/nmt or http://www.childtrauma.org.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mental trauma is the mind’s response to serious emotional injury often caused by maltreatment, neglect or abuse. Mental trauma can produce strong feelings and extreme behavior; such as intense fear or helplessness, withdrawal or detachment, lack of concentration, irritability, sleep disturbance, aggression, hyper vigilance (intensely watching for more distressing events), or flashbacks (sense that event is reoccurring). Alexander Youth Network uses the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics™ to identify and treat mental injury in children.
In preparation to become an NMT Flagship Organization, Alexander Youth Network dedicated thousands of personnel hours to master the core concepts of the NMT and implement the model in its clinical setting. As a Flagship Site, Alexander has committed to integrating the principles of NMT across all service lines by training as many staff as possible. Alexander participates in research studies and development activities, and has served as a Site Mentor to other sites undergoing NMT certification.
Developed by Dr. Bruce Perry of The ChildTrauma Academy, the NMT is not a specific therapeutic technique or intervention; it is a way to organize the child’s history and current functioning to optimally inform the therapeutic process. Through a process of structured data collection, trained professionals at Alexander Youth Network can develop a functional brain map of a child’s current brain functioning. A functional brain map assists clinicians in matching the type and timing of specific therapeutic interventions to the neurodevelopmental needs of the child.
“We know more than ever about the human brain and the ways that mental trauma impact development during childhood when is growing most rapidly,” explained Dr. Dawn O’Malley, Clinical Director of Alexander Youth Network. “Traditional treatment methods impact one region of the brain. We are developing innovative strategies to impact more hard-to-reach regions of the brain.”
Alexander Youth Network’s treatment model adheres to “The 5 R’s.” Therapy works best when it is respectful (consistent with the child’s developmental age), rewarding, relational (takes place within the context of a relationship), repetitive and rhythmic. In addition to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and traditional techniques, Alexander’s therapeutic staff employs drumming, swimming, practicing yoga and molding clay in art therapy to help children heal. Alexander also offers pet therapy to help children build relationships and develop empathy for others. For more information on therapeutic programs, best practices and Alexander’s Service Array: http://www.alexanderyouthnetwork.org/servicearray.
The ChildTrauma Academy draws on a long tradition of academic excellence in research, education, and service, recognizing the crucial importance of childhood experience in shaping the health of the individual, and ultimately, society. By creating biologically-informed child and family respectful practice, programs, and policy, CTA seeks to help maltreated and traumatized children. Their mission is to help improve the lives of these children by improving the systems that educate, nurture, protect, and enrich them. CTA focuses their efforts on education, service delivery, program consultation, research, and innovations in clinical assessment/treatment. CTA’s relationship with AYN, through the NMT Training Certification Program for Organizations, is just one example of the way in which they seek to collaborate with a wide array of partners – drawn from all sectors of society including academia, the corporate world, private organizations and public sector systems. While each partnership has a distinct focus-- identifying best practices in child protection, evaluating the latest research in child development, defining optimal ways to provide resources to parents or creating a novel therapeutic approach with traumatized children-- all are engaged in the continuous process of testing, refining and distributing innovations that can improve the lives of children.
From eleven regional service locations, Alexander Youth Network serves children and their families from across the state with a complete continuum of quality services including: a Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility, Day Treatment, Therapeutic Foster Care, Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care, Multi-Systemic Therapy, Intensive In-Home, Outpatient Services, and Medication Management. The Relatives is an affiliate organization that helps at-risk, homeless, and aging-out youth. Alexander Youth Network is a flagship program of the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics™ for addressing the clinical approach to trauma-focused therapies, and it has brought nine best-practice and evidence-based therapies to surrounding communities. For more information about Alexander Youth Network, visit http://www.alexanderyouthnetwork.org.